Saturday, July 12, 2014

Jungle Red Writers Present: Author-Originated Fanfic; or, Wouldn't It Be Fun To...

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Yesterday, we had a lively discussion about fanfic courtesy of Paul Doiron and J.K. Rowling's new Harry Potter tidbit posted to Pottermore. If we think of fanfiction as a kind of style or genre, I think it's fair to say that Rowling wrote her own fanfic. She's not the first author to do so, either. At the end of Cryoburn, Lois McMaster Bujold expanded on the story with several drabbles, a type of short fiction of exactly one hundred words that originated in the fanfiction community. Diana Gabaldon spun off a secondary character from her Outlander books and made him the hero of his own series, a device frequently used by fanfiction authors.
Which made me think: Reds, if you could take your characters out and play with them like fanficcers do (Oh, the freedom of having no contracts and deadlines...) what would you write? Put your characters in the past (if contemporary) or the present (if historical?) Make them high schoolers or vampires/werewolves/witches? Give them marriages, children, and happy-ever-afters? PWP? (It stands for “Plot? What Plot?” because the stories are focused on, um, action of a certain kind. If you get my drift.) Focus a story on a secondary character? Crossover into another author's world?
I'm not treading into the murky undergrowth of slash fanfiction here, because I suspect none of us would write H/c (hurt/comfort), D/s (Dominant...well, you know), Alpha/Omega (don't ask) or mpreg (really, really don't ask.)

For me, I'd love to take my characters back in time to the French and Indian Wars, when New York state's Adirondack mountains were the western frontier and European empires battled each other on Lake George. I can just see Clare Fergusson as a plucky Scottish immigrant, and Russ Van Alstyne as the aristocratic Dutch patroon. Russ's deputy chief could become a Mohawk warrior. Young Officer Kevin Flynn would be a green-around-the-gills Redcoat.  Battles! Romance! Bagpipes!  It would be so much fun to write.

How about you, Reds? What would your fanfic be?

HALLIE EPHRON: I'd read that! Maybe I'd cast my old woman Mina Yetner in THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN as Mrs. Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. Boy would THAT change the story. And probably make the book a whole lot shorter, too.

Or move my pregnant Ivy Rose in Never Tell a Lie to the Dakota in NYC and write a sequel to Rosemary's Baby?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I've often thought of Jake and Jane as teenagers--what would they have been like, what did they do? And I may, actually, even write that, but don't tell.  Or an alternate world where Jane marries someone else. Also, actually, a possibility  Jane as a 9 year old. Also. Doing that.

What I  REALLY want to do is take all the JR characters and put them in the same book. Lady Georgie (somehow) comes to Boston.. She's a pal of Clare's, maybe. Something happens, maybe at a restaurant that Hayley is reviewing for her New England feature? And Jane is assigned to cover it, and find out whodunnit. Gemma (friend of Jake's ) shows up, and it turns out that Maggie Hope's granddaughter is actually the... well, I think it  could work.
DEBORAH CROMBIE:  Hank, I LOVE it!  You are brilliant.  Hmmm, how could we do this? There must be a way... Time travel forward for Rhys and Susan's characters? Or time travel backwards for everyone else's?

But while we're thinking about that, what I'd love to do is bring back characters from my earlier books to star in their own. Madeleine Wade, the massage therapist from Mourn Not Your Dead. Winnie and Jack Montfort from A Finer End, (what's going on in Glastonbury, I wonder?) Alun Ross, the slightly grumpy Scottish detective from Now May You Weep, whose wife ran off with a fertilizer salesman. And especially Ronnie Babcock, Duncan's old schoolmate in Cheshire, now a detective inspector.  

Melody and Doug could have their own books, too!  Oh, and I'd love to give Rosemary and Hugh Kincaid, Duncan's parents, their own mystery to solve. Now if I could just clone myself... And time travel...

RHYS BOWEN: Wouldn't a JR fanflc be fun!  And I was speaking at a library last night when one of the audience asked if I had considered spin-off books for minor characters that people love: Sid and Gus as detectives? Queenie on her own? (the mind boggles). 

My fans have also suggested that I write a story in which Georgie and Molly meet. That would be interesting and something I might actually do.  Or Molly's son is a detective in the 1930s and his case brings him to Georgie's London. I'd like Molly to prove to Sherlock Holmes that women make better detectives than men. I'd enjoy seeing Georgie get involved with Bertie Wooster.  Now all I need is a little time..... 

LUCY BURDETTE: I'm simply going to stand back and watch in awe as you women work! But I will say that I've brought Cassie Burdette into the forthcoming Key West mystery (DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS, coming in December.) It turns out that
her father is Hayley Snow's mother's cousin--who knew? (This was suggested by a friend from the golf mystery days.) It also turns out that two strong women sometimes butt heads:)--I can only imagine what would happen if all the Jungle Red characters got together. Who would be in charge???

JULIA: Okay, I think I've got it. Jane Ryland and Jake Brogan sneak away from Boston to a resort in Key West. Also at the vacation destination: Clare Fergusson, performing a wedding for a friend at St. Paul's, and her husband, Russ Van Alstyne. The British groom's best friend from university, Duncan Kincaid, is there, along with his wife, Gemma James. At the reception, catered by Hayley Snow, they stumble over a body - an historian killed while investigating a 70-year-old mystery originating at Naval Air Station Key West.

The story then switches to the early days of WWII, when USAF Cpt. Liam Sullivan, SOE agent Maggie Hope, Lady Georgiana Rannoch, Lord Darcy O'Mara and the young American WAC Mina Yetner must stop a Nazi plot to attack the vital south Florida shipping lanes with their deadly U-Boats. 

Will the collection of aristocrats and commoners be able to
work together? Who is the Nazi sympathizer at the Naval Air Station? Why is someone willing to murder to protect their secrets after seven decade? Do nonagenarians Mina Yetner and Maggie Hope hold the key to the mystery?

What do you think, dear readers? What fanfiction would you like to see us write? And what other mystery authors should delve into d-i-y fanfic?


  1. Oh, this is just too much fun . . . and what a terrific idea! I’m holding out for Julia’s story in which Jane and Jake sneak away from Boston to a resort in Key West where Clare is performing a wedding . . . .
    Oh, the possibilities!

  2. This is too fun! I say yes to all the JR characters in one book, but I have one suggestion. I think they should all end up on my Island of Whimsey.

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  4. Julia, honestly, that's a great idea. I am totally IN.
    Truly, let's do it.

    And those photos are completely wonderful.

  5. This so much fun!!!! We should do this. Would we all get to come to Key West for "research?"

    I'm in! (Duncan and Gemma are in, too!)

  6. Julia, your Key West story is absolutely brilliant! You arranged everyone in completely plausible positions, and it's a story I'd love to read. Maybe you could bring in the Truman Little White House, first used by Truman in the winter of 1946 and previously used as the naval station's command headquarters during the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II.

  7. SOLD! Kathy, will you be our consultant? See you all in Key West!

  8. Julia, the Key West story sounds wonderful! I also like the idea of Russ (or an ancestor) as a Dutch settler in New Amsterdam.

    Lucy, who is Cassie Burdette? And when I think of Key West, I think of Ernest Hemingway and the cats who lived nearby.

    Rhys, that idea about Molly's son meeting Lady Georgie sounds wonderful. The idea of Molly meeting Lady Georgie sounds wonderful. Regarding secondary characters, how about Georgie's grandfather, the policeman? And I had a funny thought. Wonder if Lady Georgie would meet JW's Maisie Dobbs?

    Debs, I wondered if Duncan or Gemma had a mother, aunt or grandmother who worked as a codebreaker during World War II and met Maggie Hope?

    Hank, I would love to know what they were like as teenagers.

    Susan, I could see Maggie Hope meeting Liam Sullivan, son of Molly Murphy Sullivan. And perhaps Maggie would meet some deaf people whp also worked as codebreakers during World War II?

    Hallie, wonder what Mina yetner was like as a young woman? Did she work for the French Resistance?

    All of your stories sound wonderful! How about each of you writing short stories and putting together an anthology? I would definitely read that! I also like the idea of Truman little White House.

    I was reminded of an article that Alexander McCall Smith wrote about Precious Ramstowe meeting Isabel Dahousie at a mutual friend's wedding. I enjoyed the story very much.


  9. I'm sorry, but fan fiction has to be written by a fan, not the actual writers. Therefore, I will reluctantly volunteer for the hard task of going to Key West to do research for that fun sounding story that brings all the characters together.

    Of course, you are willing to fund such a research trip, right? ;)

  10. This blog post shows how much fun you all have with Jungle Red. I love it!

    I've been watching episodes of Roswell, a little remembered TV show about teenage aliens from the early millennium. One episode has a retired army general telling about the crash of 47, and in the flashbacks, all of the roles are played by the actors who play the regular series characters. It was a really fun episode to watch. But I digress. Do your project!

  11. I'm waiting for the book, Julia, fanfic or not, so y'all better get writing!! Such a treat to see your creative minds at work!

  12. Hank, I would be the consultant in a heartbeat. And, I like Mark's idea of a Reds' funded research trip.

  13. I loved looking at these photos! As I read the blog I got very excited and realized how people can get into fan fiction—writing or reading. I often catch myself thinking about characters and wondering about what they might do if... and that isn't very far from the fantasy of writing it down. Fun blog!

  14. I would love to see Claire and Russ in Revolutionary War times. Perhaps they could run into Claire and Jamie. I think Roger Mac and Claire would have some great conversations ...