With traditional literature at the heart of my life, it gives me very great pleasure today to welcome Terry Ward to Linda’s Book Bag. Terry has an unusual book that I think will have enormous appeal for blog readers.
Staying in with Terry Ward
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Terry. Thanks so much for agreeing to stay in with me. Tell me, which of your books have you brought to tell us about this evening?
I have brought along Jack Dawkins, this evening, because he wants to set the record straight about what happened to him after he was obliged to take up lodgings in Newgate Prison. Thanks to the genius of Lionel Bart, we all have a lasting image of him skipping away into the sunset, arm in arm with Fagin. Well, the young jackanapes is here to tell you that the truth is very different.
I’m sure it is Terry! What can we expect from an evening in with Jack Dawkins?
You don’t have to know your history or your Dickens. Jack has very kindly provided a Glossary that you can refer to as he relates in his own inimitable fashion, his encounter with an unusually erudite Bow Street Runner, murderous villains, turnkeys, philanthropists, Owlers, passing strangers – and Miss Lysette Godden, the first human being he has ever loved. Strangely enough, Jack also reveals that, as he conducts what proves to be a highly dangerous search for his mother and father, he finds his true self.
(I think this sounds excellent. I’m delighted that I have a copy of Jack Dawkins on my TBR pile and I am very much looking forward to reading it.)
What else have you brought along and why?
(I’ve watched that You Tube video. He’s quite passionate about it all isn’t he?)
He didn’t stay long, last night. With a copy of Johnson’s Dictionary tucked under his arm, he simply wanted to know ‘how it was going.’ He made some very astute comments after I told him that it was early days, yet. He said, ‘The trouble is, there’s no fantasy in it; nor no vampires, and such. That’s the sort of thing that gets read these days; that, and the unmentionable stuff. How many shades of grey were there? Do you know something else, Mr Ward, sir? People don’t realise how much pleasure they are going to get from reading Jack Dawkins until they start doing it. At the end, they wonder how I managed to survive it all, but then, so did I at the time.’ ’
(I think Jack will be surprised by how many of us, me included, want to read his story Terry.)
After telling me that he had to go because there was a lot to do ‘up there’ before Christmas, Jack simply vanished. I have a feeling he’ll be back, though. He did leave some of his opinions to share on:
Judges: ‘They’ll send an out of work man to the gallows for pinching enough stuff to keep his wife and family alive, then go home to a mansion and a two hour dinner.’
War: ‘Kill one man and you’ll get hanged. Kill a hundred thousand and they’ll put up a statue with your name on it.’
Poverty: ‘I’ve spent most of my life trying to stay alive on the streets of London town, summer and winter. You ought to try it sometime. It’s an education.’
Kissing in general: ‘Isn’t it the finest thing?’
Kissing Lysette: ‘A stolen kiss isn’t worth much, but the real thing certainly is! I suppose everybody closes their eyes when they do it, don’t they?’
Napoleon: ‘He’s another one who got sent down in the end. They’ve stuck him on an island, somewhere; but I bet he’s still got more than sixpence in his pocket.’
I thought you might like to meet Jack Dawkins’ ghost-writer. You can see more of me on the You Tube video ‘the spirit of the Artful Dodger’.
In which Jack does the decent thing by returning from ‘Mutton Pie and Porter heaven’ to give me a helping hand.
(I think Jack Dawkins sounds quite a character Terry!)
I also brought a picture of myself as Jack Dawkins’s ghost writer.
(You look most distinguished!)
Thanks so much for staying in with me and telling me all about Jack Dawkins, Terry. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed finding out about the man and the book!
After Oliver Twist intervenes to save Jack Dawkins – the legendary Artful Dodger – from transportation to Botany Bay, Jack embarks on what proves to be a perilous quest to discover his roots. Before he can say ‘Fagin!’ he’s battling to survive a devastating flood and rescue beautiful black-haired, green-eyed Lysette Godden, the girl of his dreams, from the hands of murderous villains. Jack and Lysette, searching for Jack’s parents, head to France and have an adventure there which tests their mettle and mutual love to the utmost and changes their lives for ever.
Brilliantly and evocatively written, Jack Dawkins is a worthy sequel to Charles Dickens’s immortal masterpiece Oliver Twist.
Hampered by her tendency always to want what she hasn’t got and an apparent inability to let go of the past, will Lucy ever find her elusive happy-ever-after? This witty, amusing, highly entertaining and fast-paced novel is sure to make you feel Lucy’s dilemma, and warm your heart.
About Terry Ward
Born into dire, Dickensian poverty, I escaped from it by entering public libraries at a very young age; losing myself in the works of John Buchan, Robert Louis Stevenson-and Charles Dickens. Oh, boy, how sympatico I was with his heroes! I moved on to Conrad, Waugh, Wodehouse, Dostoevsky and so many others-but real-life prevailed.
Leaving home at the age of fifteen, I made my own way in the world; falling in love with desert landscapes while experiencing sharp action in the Aden Protectorate and serving with the elite Trucial Oman Scouts; a force that maintained law and order in the ‘Seven Sheikhdoms’, a primitive world that was to be swept away by the discovery of oil; lots and lots of lovely oil! And so, for a few years, I lived a boy’s own adventure. Some of it is recorded in my, rather unsatisfactory, autobiography, As Far as I can Remember and in Are You the Man? a unique collection of Trucial Oman Scouts veterans reminiscences and rare photographs; edited by myself. Married to a beautiful woman, and with two sons, I continued to write while working as the head of a university’s hospitality services.
Jack Dawkins was wrested from the heart of my epic novel, self-published but now withdrawn from circulation, The Artful Dodger and the Hero of the Forlorn Hope. This happened after I took early retirement in order to concentrate on becoming a published author. A rather pedantic literary agent agreed to add me to his list of authors if I could find it in myself to write a first-person novel about the Artful Dodger. I did so, because obtaining any form of agent is a miracle in itself. By the way; young Oliver Twist has everyone dabbing at their eyes with a hankie as they read Dickens eponymous novel, but I gave sympathetic thought to the Artful Dodger and the inner strength he must have had in order to survive. I simply had to give the lad a life.
A bibliophile all my life, I can distance myself from Jack Dawkins and firmly state that it would make a great TV drama, even in cartoon form, while the book it was torn from would make a magnificent movie.
I have just finished re-structuring a novel that was inspired by poet, James Shirley’s’ premise that there is no armour against fate. Between Cancer and Capricorn is a post Second World War story, relating the struggles and experiences of two brothers after they are separated by a devastating family tragedy. In my mind, but not on paper, so to speak, are a children’s story Scare Crow and The Dirty Half-Hundred. I will have my Peninsular War epic!
For what it’s worth, my advice to good writers, struggling to get published, is, never forget that you are dealing with a profession that has rejected everything from Animal Farm to Zen and the Art of Motor-cycle Maintenance via Lord of the Flies and Harry Potter. Never stop knocking on the doors at the bottom of their ivory towers.