Book Link: mybook.to/stealthemorrow
Series Link: mybook.to/aclassicretold
- I had never read Oliver Twist until I decided to retell it for this project. I was quite familiar with the story, having watched various movie versions and directed the play at the school I taught at, but this was my first time reading the actual novel.
- My original goal when I sat down to write the story was mostly to save Nancy, as she is the only character in the book who comes close to being 3-dimensional, and she gets quite a raw deal from Dickens.
- My dad actually wrote the outline for this book. I knew that I wanted to redeem some of the villains from the original plot and give them better roles, but even after reading the whole book, I was feeling at a loss for ideas. I chatted with my dad on the phone about it one evening, and several hours later he sent me a fairly complete outline, which I followed pretty closely for the rough draft… several things changed in the edits, though.
- There are two Easter-egg characters mentioned in this book that readers of the Turrim Archive series will recognize.
- When Olifur shows Nneka some tricks for keeping animals away from her plants, that is completely wishful thinking. I would really love to know Olifur’s secrets, as the wildlife in my neighborhood make it impossible for me to have a successful garden.
- In the original rough draft, Fritjof dies rather than falling ill. This created a problem in the story, because Olifur absolutely refused to leave the forest and go to the city, where he needed to be for the second half of the book. My content editor recommended having Fritjof fall ill and need expensive medical care, and that solved the problem.
- While I did change many things, there are definitely some places I tried to weave in staying true to Dickens’ original story. Olifur getting framed for picking a pocket he didn’t pick is there, as well as him getting abducted by the thieves and them wanting to use him to help them in their heist.
- Another main goal I had in this story was to prevent Olifur himself from being a helpless little waif-child. I wanted him to represent a stronger, more self-sufficient sort of character.
- From the get-go, I knew I wanted to redeem Fagin and Dodger. This was mostly due to the fact that the version of this story I grew up with was the musical, Oliver! and I fell in love with both of those characters there. The book versions are far more despicable and you sort of feel that they deserve the endings they get… but for the sake of the musical versions, I wanted to change their arcs. Fagin’s arc became a complete mirror image, in which he actually saves orphan boys and teaches them truly useful skills, as well as how to live honorably. Dodger’s story became more one of redemption.
- Because Steal the Morrow is set in the city of Melar in the world of my Turrim Archive series, I had to give it a slightly Nordic flare. Observant readers will note the dirt (rather than cobblestone) roads, the wooden construction of the buildings and their tiled, rather than thatched roofs, and the various baked goods (pepperkakor, saffron buns, and apple tarts) scattered throughout the story.
- Since I had already done most of the world-building for the Turrim Archive, setting the story in the country of Malei meant that I just had to include the malkyns and grymstalkers (two breeds of giant cats that people can ride).
- I knew I had to get the, “Please, sir, can I have some more?” line into the book somehow (after all, what is Oliver Twist without it?) but I did not expect it to end up where it did.
- I dedicated this book to my sister, because she is the sweetest person I know.
- Fritjof’s malkyn is named Bet because there is a Bet in the original novel.
- My kids are all in archery, so when I was trying to think of things Fritjof could teach Olifur, the idea of him making his own bow jumped into my head. I knew a lot of the basics about shooting a bow and arrow, but actually learning how to make one required rather a lot of research!
- I named the nearby town Elbian because I love Stephen R. Lawhead’s “Song of Albion” series and this was my little way to nod to him.
- I often have little jokes with myself inside my books. The conversation Olifur and Aric have about what life would be like with the train roads being built on the ground is one such place.
- I really hope that my readers laugh when Dojhur tells Olifur that both his parents died before he was born.
- Writing Bale Sowke was extremely difficult for me. I have a much easier time writing villains who want to rule the world, or villains who are just insane, but writing someone who is just truly, truly unkind was very tough.
- My dad wrote the last line of this book. It is meant to be a kind of parallel to the end of the Creation account in Genesis, where God declares what He has made to be “good.”
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