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What was the one thing that influenced you most in writing Choices Meant for Gods?The controversy goes on regarding Dickens World. The Star talks to Kevin Christie, managing director, who explains why Dickens World is any different than, say, Brontë World.
It's so difficult to narrow all my sources of inspiration down to the most influential one. There are elements of Chaucer (specifically the Troilus and Criseyde story), Bronte (particularly Jane Eyre), Old English, and Duran Duran in the fantasy novel. The one that probably had the biggest impact on me, without me realizing it until the novel was complete and in the publisher's hands, was Charlotte Bronte and her novel Jane Eyre. I choose that one because Amanda Chariss mimics the orphan Jane on a couple of levels, because Nigel mimics Edward Rochester on a couple of levels, because the Taiman estate mimics Thornfield Hall on some levels, because I feel the Yorkshire moors in the Freotho Mountains, because I feel Charlotte's heartbreak over her real-life professor in the character of Abigail Farrier. It's amazing to me that I didn't realize I was channeling these elements as I prepared an epic fantasy novel. Perhaps I missed it because there are so many other characters and so much more depth to the story than these few pieces I've just listed. Then I guess I'd have to say the Old English inspiration was the most influential, eh?
"Personally I wouldn't dream of trying a Charlotte Bronte World or a Victor Hugo World or a world built around anyone else for that matter," said Christie.That said, a Gaskell World would be possible for instance. Who depicted the changes of the Industrial Revolution better than her? Yet no one would dream of making a smoggy, unhealthy theme park on the outskirts of Manchester. Or would they?
"The reason the concept works with Dickens is that we're working not only with someone who is probably England's greatest storyteller but with a very compelling period in history.
"People say, `How do you make a visitor attraction out of squalor and poverty?' But this is Dickens World, not Dickens's books. What we've tried to do is build something that is really about Empire – Victorian England – which Dickens wrote about so evocatively.
"It really was the best and worst of times. It was the richest and most powerful nation on Earth and contained within it some of the most deprived people on Earth at the same time. That is the landscape we've tried to create." (Mitch Potter)
But I did get a chance to have a look at the Bronte Parsonage, where the Bronte Sisters Daughters wrote their novels while wutherin' on the heights... OK. :) If you're wondering what on EARTH that's about, go to this link and listen to episode 4. Very amusing, particularly if you've got a bit of knowledge about the Brontes and what they did and didn't write...It reminded us of the fabulous time we had listening to it. We are still laughing about 'my daughters the Brontë Sisters' and 'YEEEES!', among many other things.