A big welcome today to Christina E. Pilz, author of Fagin’s Boy.
How I Came To Write About Oliver Falling In Love With The Artful Dodger
When I was little, my father, who was in the Air Force, was stationed in Germany. We lived off base; I spoke German and went to a German kindergarten. The Germans thought I was adorable, but the food and the people had a hard edge to them. Which, seeing as how this was only 20 or so years after WWII, was understandable.
Then in the summer of 1969, we went to England for a two-week vacation. For me, coming from post-war Germany to England was like stepping into a fairy land. It felt like home because not only did everybody speak English, I did not see any scars from the war. Even better, English food tasted a whole lot nicer to my untutored palate, what with the sweet tea and softly scrambled eggs for breakfast along with a nice sausage and some toast.
Combine all of this with the rather transitive state of a six year old brain and a parent-less, unsupervised trip to the movie theater with your siblings where Oliver! is playing, and you have yourself a life-changing event. For Oliver was sweet with his blonde hair and blue eyes, and his whole life seemed to be made up of being pushed around in a world where nothing made much sense but which must be dealt with. Plus, for an added bonus, he had no parents. He was an orphan.
I could almost feel the wetwire in my brain becoming hardwired forever as I fell in love with the little boy on the screen. And I don’t mean a little in love, I mean passionately forever-in-love.
In Junior High, I read the book the movie was based on, such was my devotion to Oliver. Much to my shock, in the book Fagin dies in the end, and Oliver’s best friend Jack goes missing in the middle. He gets deported, you see, for fumbling the theft of a two-penny-half-penny snuffbox.
Did I know then that Jack was Oliver’s best friend? Of course I did! Because even at the tender age of six or ten or twelve I knew that Jack and Oliver cared very deeply for each other, that they were, actually, in love.
For it was Jack, you see, who first fed Oliver. Here’s how it happened: After starving for years at Mrs. Mann’s baby farm and after being starved and beaten at the workhouse for six to nine months, Oliver meets up with Jack in Barnet, a town north of London.
And what does Jack do? He greets Oliver with a gentle “Hello, my covey, what’s the row?” and then he feeds him a ham sandwich and a beer. I was obsessed with this scene, and the question as to why Jack was in Barnet in the first place, as Barnet was some distance away from Saffron Hill.
So I wrote about them and their budding romance, starting off with Fagin’s Boy: The Further Particulars of a Parish Boy’s Progress. That took me about six years to write, so hesitant was I, probably for fear of screwing up the image I’d held in my head since I was six. Then I wrote a whole series, the Oliver & Jack series, which has a romantic tone to it, and a dynamic relationship between the characters. A relationship, might I add, that seemed to need very little input from me as to which direction it should head. (It was one of those cases where the characters take over not just themselves but also the entire story and I was just there to take down dictation.)
I’m currently working on the last one: Oliver & Jack: In London Towne, and my readers will be glad to know that it ends Happily Ever After.
I get asked why I don’t write something more normal like a regular romance or maybe even a crime thriller. Sure, I could write something like that, but it’s not what gets my motor running. I prefer writing about the dingy back alleys of Victorian London, about orphans and pickpockets, cute orphans and pickpockets, need I add. I like writing about characters and situations that resonate with me, like how hungry you can get when there’s no one looking out for you, and how gratifying a ham sandwich and a pint of beer can be when given by someone who cares.
In 1846 London, respectable young men do not fall for street thieves.
Oliver Twist has one desire: to own a bookshop and live a simple, middle-class life as far as possible from his workhouse-shadowed past. One thing stands in his way: Jack Dawkins–The Artful Dodger–who’s just returned to London and is seeking Fagin’s old gang.
Jack’s visits cause Oliver nothing but trouble with his employer, but he finds himself drawn, time and again, to their shared past, Jack’s unguarded honesty, and those bright, green eyes.
Oliver craves respectability, and doesn’t think he will find it with a forbidden love. Can Jack convince Oliver that having one doesn’t mean losing the other?
Fagin’s Boy is the first book in Christina E. Pilz’s Oliver & Jack series, a gay historical romance. If you like Dickensian characters and beautiful, flowering romances in all the wrong places, then you’ll love Fagin’s Boy.
Would you like to get an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) for any of the books in my Oliver & Jack series, and write an honest review on Amazon during the re-release week (18th May) ?
My Oliver & Jack series is about how Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger fell in love.
Readers can get any or all of the books in the series, and It’d be great if you could leave the review on Amazon.
For more information on the schedule and to sign up, click the link below, or just send me a message.
I attended a variety of community colleges and state universities, and finally found my career in technical writing, which I have been doing for 20 years. During that time, my love for historical fiction and old-fashioned objects, ideas, and eras has never waned.
In addition to writing, my interests include road trips around the U.S. and frequent flights to England, where I eat fish and chips, drink hard cider, and listen to the voices in the pub around me. I also love coffee shops, mountain sunsets, prairie storms, and the smell of lavender. I am a staunch supporter of the Oxford comma.