Monday, October 19, 2009

Sean Kennedy on the Golden Era.

Sean writes gorgeous novels and is a bit of a clever pants. I really enjoy his books and was so pleased to see he and Catt Ford were putting out a book set in the 30's. He's written this very cool piece about the era which made me smile much. I think I had the same childhood, minus the yabbies. We called them crawlies! Enjoy!

Thanks to Sarah for allowing me to tag along on her getaway to the desert isles! Our setting is quite fortunate, seeing my latest book is set on the largest desert island of all – Tasmania.

Everybody loves an adventure. There is something about the thought of leaving the ordinary world behind and being thrown into some madcap fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants thriller where anything that can happen will. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.

My love of adventure probably can be blamed on Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series. I wanted to be able to jump on my bicycle and do tours on the hols, evading smuggler gypsies and exploring haunted train tunnels and local castles. Unfortunately, that
was a bit hard to do growing up in Western Australia where the biggest adventure you could have was sneaking through the hole in the fence at the local council dam and collect yabbies. And there were no farmers’ wives from whom we could buy fresh
eggs, ginger beer and tomatoes with twists of salt collected in wax paper.

But the best thing about adventures is the hero. And none comes bigger than Indiana Jones. Handsome, swarthy, witty, and unable to show fear in the face of danger, everybody either wants Dr Jones, or wants to be him. Possibly both if you’re an extreme narcissist. The Indiana Jones movies are hom
ages to the adventure serials pumped out by the major movie studios during the golden age of film. The precursor to soaps, stories such as Flash Gordon, The Perils of Pauline and Dick Tracy kept people returning to the cinema week after week just to see how their heroes got out of their latest impossible fix.

Of course, the era always adds to the story. There is a certain mystique to setting stories in the past, precisely because we romanticise the past. We always think of it as an easier or more innocent time. Plus, it was a time when there was still so much to be discovered. It was the cusp of a time where the world was still opening up to us, but with hindsight we realise that it was also the end of an era. World War II was just around the corner, and with it the world would change all over again.

When Catt Ford and I decided to pen an adventure series, we really wanted it to be an homage to those adventure stories we loved, but we also wanted it to have a bit of a post-modern bent, where mistakes humans made with their world would be realised or foreshadowed, whether it had to do with the treatment of our indigenous people or the way we destroyed land and animals in the name of colonisation. Plus, with hot, gay, lovable men. The result was Dash and Dingo: In Search of the Tasmanian Tiger. The thirties were the ideal time for the setting, and it happened to coincide with a story that I always wanted to tackle – that of the Australian Thylacine, an animal now thought to be extinct, with the last known tiger dying in an Australian zoo in 1936. What better basis for an adventure, in which two heroes battle the Australian ‘jungle’ in search of an elusive creature on the edge of extinction?

The pulp fiction genre is ripe for just cutting loose and having fun with its tropes. We could incorporate action scenes, battles with ‘monsters’, passion, thrills, sex and over-the-top villains. There could be a mixture of locations, our story starts in the repressed
halls of a gloomy British academic institution, and vacations in exotic Siam before coming to the ultimate destination of the far-flung ‘colony’ of Australia.

But the best thing about writing the first in this series of action adventure novels was that I could become that kid again, who adventured around the suburbs on his bicycle, making up impossible and far-fetched stories in my head. But now I can share them.

Dash and Dingo: In Search of the Tasmanian Tiger is now available from Dreamspinner Press.


Sarah said...

Every time I read this it makes me all nostalgic. The Famous Five were one of my favorites as a kid and it was even more exciting seeing them come to TV.

And Indiana. When mum and I went to see the Temple of Doom, she laughed so hard and loud (complete with snorting) at the bit where Willy asses off the end of the couch I thought she'd expire. He was so dashing and I loved his brown pants and traveling shirt. Magic stuff!

Sean Kennedy said...

Thanks, Sarah! And I'm only just realising my numerous spelling and grammatical errors. And to think that I've been marking kids on the same over the past two weeks - hypocrite much?

I am not ashamed to say I still reread my Famous Five and Secret Seven books over and over again. They let me regress to my childhood, which isn't such a bad place to escape to when you have to.

Kris said...

This made me smile like crazy. I had a similar childhood to Sean, although I grew up in a small country town in Queensland where we'd ride our bikes into the bush, construct elaborate cubby houses and pretend to be famous Australian explorers or bushrangers, or build huge jumps for our bikes and play BMX bandits. LOL.

Some of my early reads included Enid Blyton's The Faraway Tree, Trixie Beldon and Nancy Drew. When Indiana Jones came out my thirst for mystery and adventure was somewhat quenched by my desire to become an archaeologist. I was absolutely determined to the point that it influenced the field in which I now work.

I continue to live my Indiana fantasies vicariously through friends and colleagues who are archaeologists as well as my past travels in the Middle East. I remember walking through the cavern in Petra, Jordan and thinking to myself 'this is where Indy discovered the Grail!' *whispers* I was a very naive 21 year old at the time. :)

Terrific post, Sean, and, now that I'm feeling all sentimental, I believe I'll go flip through some photo albums.

Sarah said...

Eeep. I had not even noticed. Put it down to tired. I promise I was not watching telly and blogging. heh.

Kris, I think there is something quite unique about growing up down here and I know what you mean about smile! Kept think, I DID THAT!!! LOL

Sarah said...

Was supposed to write *kept thinking*

Honestly, between grammar and posting on other folks blogs this is a busy week. heh.

Jenre said...

Oh I loved the Famous Five books. I always wanted to go on holiday with my pals in a gypsy caravan or stay on a farm and discover hidden treasure or drink lashings of ginger beer and macaroons (actually when I was a kid I had no idea what a macaroon was). Good days. Of course the most adventurous I ever got was climbing trees! At least I had my books in which to get my adventuring thrills - and still do!

I love the Indiana Jones films and even read all the spin off books as a kid. My first film star crush was Harrison Ford.

Lea said...

Welcome to the island Sean and thank you for your wonderful post.

You are quite correct with respect to the hero being the best part of an adventure be it in a story or film. Indiana Jones certainly does epitomize that "hero" persona.

Good luck with your new collaboration your the story sounds excellent as well as unique.


Sean Kennedy said...

Kris, did you play Nicole's character when playing BMX Bandits? And I now want to see your photo albums.

Sarah, yes, those who grow up in the extreme bottom of the world tend to have a very similar outlook and childhood!

Jen, you live in the country of the Famous Five! You would have better access to those adventures than we would!

Lea, thanks! I'm enjoying the sound of the waves of the shore and drinking a daiquiri while here!

Tam said...

Oh yeah, I wanted to be Indy, but first, I wanted to be Nancy Drew. She was smart, had tons of freedom (her Dad never stopped her and she had her own car) and she solved crimes while wearing a skirt and smart shoes. Oh and best friends Bess and George and hot boyfriend Ned? What more could a girl want? Living vicariously through an action hero/ine is universal I think.

I grew up in the country and when I got older a friend and I would scoot around the countryside on my cousins' dirt bikes exploring abandoned houses and forest trails. A very different kind of freedom than my daughter has experienced in the suburbs of a big city. But she loved Nancy Drew too. Probably every little girl wants to be Nancy Drew and every boy one of the Hardy Boys.

Great post Sean and hope you enjoy your stay on the island. Apply sunscreen liberally. I've heard burned buns are no fun. :-D

Tracy said...

Great post Sean - thanks for visiting today.

I was a huge Nancy Drew fan and always wanted to find some new adventure. We moved a lot when I was a kid so there was always something new to explore (and to get into trouble with).

Ahhh Flash Gordon and the Perils of Pauline. Good stuff.

Indiana Jones - I wanted to marry him and have his babies. I was just sure I could strap those youngins on my back and take off with him on his adventures. So what if I was only 16! lol

jessewave said...

Flash Gordon, Indiana Jones, the Famous Five - all of these books together with Superman, Batman, Captain America et al were what my reading was comprised of until a few years ago. I still have many of my old comic books.

Great post Sean and welcome to the island. Did you bring some Tassie cheese with you?

William Dunigan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Josh Lanyon said...

Great blog. And may I just say I've been searching for that damn silhouette photo of Scott and Grant for ages -- where the heck did you find it?!

I can't wait to read this -- although realistically it will be December before I can permit that treat. I'm a great fan of the old pulps, and this sounds right up my alley.

Sarah said...

Hey Wave, I completely forgot Flash!!! I have it on DVD too. Much campy goodness!

Josh, I have several of the photos so will flick you an email. They're gorgeous are they not? :) Cannot remember where I found them. Got them last week when I was looking for images for the 3 days.

Eni said...

Talking about Enid Blyton's Famous Five, I am glad to inform you that I have just published a book on Enid Blyton titled, The Famous Five:A Personal Anecdotage (

Stephen Isabirye

Copyright © 2008-2011 Desert Island Keepers All Rights Reserved. Proudly powered by Blogger

  © Blogger template Starry by 2008 Modified by Lea

Back to TOP