Posts Tagged ‘History’

A portrait of King Arthur by Charles Ernest Butler. Probably not what he looked like at all.

So this is a bit outside my normal wheelhouse, but I decided to write a post about it because I’m all fired up about the subject (and really, isn’t that the reason we write anything anywhere?).

Recently, I’ve become very interested in King Arthur. Specifically, I wanted to know whether or not he was real, and how this whole story of him, Merlin, Lancelot and Guinevere, his sister/lover Morgan le Fay and his nephew/bastard son Mordred came to be. I mean, do we really believe a guy who didn’t know he was the bastard son of the previous king was taught by a magician, pulled a sword from a stone, had an idyllic kingdom stretching across Europe for a few years, only for it to be undone by his affair with his sister and his wife’s affair with one of his knights, to be gospel historical fact? I wanted to know the truth, and I wanted to know it as in-depth as possible.

This new obsession of mine started after one of the YouTube channels I follow, Overly Sarcastic Productions, produced a video about Arthur lore, and how that got built up over the past fifteen-hundred years (click here to watch the video, as well as here for their follow-up on some of Arthur’s lesser-known knights). These laid the groundwork for me to get interested in the subject, and to want to find out a bit more. From there, I downloaded a lecture  series from The Great Courses company (college level lecture series you can listen to while you work or drive. Definitely check them out, they’re very informative) on Arthur, narrated by Professor Dorsey Armstrong of Purdue University, and an expert on the subject of Arthuriana.

If you don’t have time to watch either video or to listen to Professor Armstrong’s lecture series (though you should at least spend a half hour on that first video), let me do my best to put it really simply: probably ninety-five percent of what you think you know about King Arthur is complete and utter fiction. There’s some evidence to suggest that during the late 5th and early 6th century, the invasion of the Saxons in England was stopped and in some places reversed, keeping the peace for a few generations, and that someone probably lead a war effort that caused that peace.

This figure was probably the basis of Arthur. The name Arthur, by the way, doesn’t appear until after this time period, but then becomes quite widespread among Bretons. This possibly means that the name “Arthur” wasn’t this figure’s real name, but maybe an acronym, abbreviation, or nickname based on a Celtic or Latin name. A number of figures listed in history annals from around or after that time have been pointed to as possibly the inspiration for Arthur, but documentation from that time is scarce, so no one really knows if any of these figures were Arthur or given that name as a title or nickname.

So, Arthur was possibly real. We’re not sure, because there’s only so much evidence. He could be as made up as Harry Potter, and was a folklore character adapted by the Bretons for their current predicament.

Pages from the Historia regum Britanniae, the first King Arthur bestseller ever written.

At the very least, the legend of Arthur cemented itself and grew over time. From a local warlord to king of all the Bretons, and then other elements started getting added on, such as Merlin, who was probably based on a mad bard who lived a couple of centuries after the Arthur figure. Eventually, a man by the name of Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote this huge book called Historia regum Brittaniae, a pseudo-history of Britain that dealt quite a bit with Arthur. It was spread across the European continent, where other writers from as far as Italy, Scandinavia, and Russia started adding their own spins on Arthur’s story and adding their own elements. These elements include Lancelot, who was the invention of a French writer, Excalibur and the Holy Grail, and Mordred being Arthur’s incestuous offspring. And as years passed, storytellers just kept adding elements and remixing the already-available tales until we have all the Arthur stories available today.

It’s like what might happen if, a thousand years from now, George Washington was known as Walsh; his historicity was debated; he was credited not only with defeating the British but conquering the entire continental United States; had Superman’s powers; and was taught by Mark Twain, who’s been combined with Nikola Tesla and has lightning powers.

Yeah, kind of crazy. Also a huge simplification, but it’s a blog post. What do you expect of me?

Like I said, anyone can add to the Arthur canon. Doesn’t mean it’ll be good.

Anyway, it’s just mind-blowing how great an influence one man who may or may not have existed and probably only ruled a small area of land if he did exist has had on Western society. Most likely, if you’ve lived anywhere English culture has reached, you’ve heard something about Arthur. You just probably never realized that there was so much debate around him or there’s no real canon about him, because so much about him is in flux from storyteller to storyteller.

It’s also very inspiring, in a way. You can write almost any sort of story about Arthur, and it can be considered part of the canon (whether or not it’s any good though, is left up to the storytellers and their audiences). The possibilities are kind of endless, as long as you keep an open mind. I’ve already had an idea for a short story involving the historical Arthur figure and the subsequent works written about him. I plan to write it at some point this year and then submit it to my publisher, Castrum Press, for one of their anthologies (they’re doing some anthologies, BTW. Check them out here if you’re interested. All are welcome to submit). Hopefully it gets accepted, and maybe some people will like it. We’ll see.

Whatever you know or believe about Arthur, it’s undeniable that he’s had an influence on the world. His legend is constantly growing, morphing, and mutating. And all from one man, a man we don’t even know if he was real or not. It’s definitely a mind-boggling, cool, and inspiring subject, and I’m so glad I decided to dive into it.

I hope, if anything, this post makes you curious enough to dive in too.

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It’s Friday again, so you know what that means. It’s #FirstLineFriday!

Now, if you don’t know what #FirstLineFriday is, let me explain it to you. On Fridays, you:

  1. Create a post on your blog entitled #FirstLineFriday, hashtag and all.
  2. Explain the rules like I’m doing now.
  3. Post the first one or two lines of a potential story, a story-in-progress, or a completed or published story.
  4. Ask your readers for feedback, and encourage them to try #FirstLineFriday on their own blogs (tagging is encouraged but not necessary).

For this week’s entry, I’m doing another novel I’ve had the idea for since…I can’t remember when. A long time. And this Monday I finished reading a book on living in Victorian England, which is when this novel would take place (I’ve got several ideas taking place around that era, it’s just such a fun, fertile era for stories), and I felt like posting potential lines from that book. Especially since I know a lot more about that era now (speaking of which, if you ever have the luck to get a time machine and head back to Victoria’s reign, STAY AWAY FROM DOCTORS AND PHARMACISTS! The stuff they give out is usually full of opiates or poison. You’re better off not taking anything, or just packing some OTCs from this age before you go). Anyway, enjoy:

When I found out I was the daughter of a noble family and was rescued from the West End, I almost expected something out of a popular novel, with a love triangle between me, a rough but kind old boyfriend, and a roguish but gentle young duke; a rival who would try to bring me down for being beautiful and somewhat naive about upper society; and all that other tosh that people love in their books.

If only that had happened, because what actually happened continues to haunt me even to this day.

Thoughts? Errors? Let me know in the comments below.

I won’t be tagging anyone this week (I feel like giving you all a reprieve from my torture), but I still encourage you to try #FirstLineFriday on your own blogs. It’s easy, a lot of fun, and for us writers, it’s great practice for writing openings. In fact, I think I’ll tag someone–oh wait, almost went back on my word there. Sorry folks.

That’s all for now. I’l probably have another post out later today or tomorrow, so keep an eye out. In the meantime, have a great weekend, my Followers of Fear. I plan to, though I don’t have any plans at the moment.

Today is my last day in Germany. It’s hard to believe that I’ve only been here for four months; it feels more like I’ve been here for ages. The day I arrived, all the way back in July, feels like it happened years and years ago. Heading home to Columbus feels almost a little weird. Almost like I’m heading to a place that only exists in my memories. I know that sounds weird, but after being away from home for longer than I’ve ever been before (the record before this was five weeks in Israel back in high school), that’s what it feels like.

I am looking forward to coming home to Columbus.* It’s where my family is, and where I’ve spent a majority of my life. It’s familiar, it’s got a lot of people I know. And our football team is undefeated this season, which is always something to be proud of. Go Buckeyes!

Still, I will miss being here in Germany. I’ve become so used to this nation, it’s become something like a really nice foster home for me. Every day there was something new to learn or see, and I got to go to all these wonderful places while I was here. Germany is filled with such history, and I was lucky to be able to explore that history in so many ways, from traveling to the many WWII-related sites in Munich to a Roman wall in Wiesbaden and everything in-between. I even got to see a castle, something no trip Europe is complete without. No matter what the cost, it was worth going out to see all these things.

The Roman Wall. I'm going to miss seeing stuff like this.

The Roman Wall. I’m going to miss seeing stuff like this.

And the people here are very awesome as well: more than once when I got turned around trying to get somewhere, I was able to find someone who was able to point me in the right direction. Even at the grocery store, people were more courteous than I could imagine: yesterday a woman at the grocery store saw I had just the one item (a bottle of wine for my dad and his wife), and she let me go right in front of her. I usually don’t get that even in the States, so I was very grateful for her kindness. When I heard reports about how Germany was the only European country willingly accepting refugees while other countries closed their borders, I wasn’t at all surprised, because that’s just the sort of country Germany is, a kind and accepting place where you can feel as welcome as you might in your own home.

Plus I got to watch Doctor Who several hours before my Whovian comrades in the Western Hemisphere, seeing as the show airs in Europe before it does over there. That was nice. I will miss that.

But yeah, I will miss Germany. My time here was well-spent and I learned and experienced so much, and one day I would like to return, see old friends and do some more exploring of the country if possible. If I could do that, I’d be one very happy horror novelist.

Here's looking at you, Germany.

Here’s looking at you, Germany.

So thank you Germany, for being my home away from home. I’ve enjoyed every minute I’ve been here (even the more stressful minutes) and I can’t thank you enough for all you, your people, and the other guests who call your lands home have done for me. It has truly been a wonderful experience getting to know you firsthand. So auf wiedersehen, and I hope we can one day meet again.

Until that day comes though, you will be alive in my thoughts, my memories, and in my stories (horrifying as those are).

*And apparently Columbus is preparing for me to come home as well. Already the National Guard has been called out, people have been praying for salvation like mad. There’s even been strange activity reported amongst animals, like a bridge full of spiders (not kidding, it made the local news). I guess they know I plan on jumpstarting the Apocalypse, huh?

Wewelsburg castle. Magnificent to behold.

Wewelsburg castle. Magnificent to behold.

Well, I finally did it! I got to visit the castle I’ve been dying to see since I first heard about it while researching Nazis and the occult prior to last year’s study abroad trip. And today, I spent a good part of my day uploading most of the photos I took to Instagram and Facebook. Honestly, it sucks when that ends up taking a longer time than it should, but what are you going to do?

Anyway, if you’re not familiar with Wewelsburg Castle, it’s a triangular castle in the small village of Wewelsburg, part of the town of Buren. During the Nazi era, the SS, led by Himmler, began doing renovations on the castle with the purpose of turning it into the ultimate Aryan production center, a place where the Nazis’ ideological beliefs could be made real. Some people even believe that Himmler, who was a big believer in all that Nazi mysticism stuff, conducted ceremonies in the castle, and hoped to make it into a sort of SS Hogwarts. I personally think that the SS could’ve been doing some magical rituals while they were there, and there is some evidence to suggest that’s what they were planning on doing or did there.

Of course, if you ask the museum staff about it, they will deny that anything like that occurred at the castle, but maybe they want to keep the right-wing nuts and the Satanists and pagans away (yet they still have a small display in the museum to the mystical side of the SS in the exhibit). The staff also deny any sightings of ghosts or anything else paranormal, but maybe they want to keep away ghost hunters too.

Weird occult stuff. Don't ask me what each stands for, I couldn't give you a definitive answer.

Weird occult stuff. Don’t ask me what each stands for, I couldn’t give you a definitive answer.

Anyway, the castle is divided into two permanent exhibits. One exhibit, the Ideology and Terror of the SS, is mostly housed in a separate building, with a path leading to the Crypt and the Group Leader’s Hall in the North Tower (more on that below). It’s very similar to the exhibit at the Topography of Terror Museum in Berlin, which I visited last year: lots of white columns and display cases, with photos and artifacts talking about the history and the beliefs of the SS. Some of it was in English, but most of it obviously was in German, so I didn’t spend as much time there as I might have liked.

Still, it was interesting to be there. I got to see a lot of artifacts, including a few books on mysticism and some occult memorabilia, some uniforms, and a lot of other cool stuff. And at a certain point, you could walk along a footpath to the North Tower, where two of the rooms the SS renovated are available to look at (sadly, no photos are allowed in those areas). The Crypt is a dark and eerie space, and definitely had a ritual purpose, though not necessarily a magical one. The walls are covered with paintings of stylized depictions of victims of SS tyranny, as if to say that the space is now a memorial to them than to the SS and the Aryan man. On the floor above is the Group Leader’s Hall, which was incomplete at the end of the war and was probably meant to be a meeting room of some sort (but for what purpose?). The most interesting part of that room is that in the center of the room is a Black Sun symbol, which has both esoteric connotations and–because the SS used it as a symbol of power–neo-Nazi connotations. I stood on top of it as if to say, “Yeah, I’m Jewish and you’re worth shit.”

Entrance into the castle proper.

Entrance into the castle proper.

The other exhibit discussed the castle’s history, when it was the second home of the Prince-Bishops of Paderborn. You basically go throughout the whole castle–down hallways and up and down staircases–seeing its history from prehistory to the early 1900’s. That was interesting too. Part of the exhibit displayed what creatures lived in the area in the Ice Age or earlier, and another area talked about how important agriculture was to the area. In one room they had the actual road traders used displayed where it had been uncovered during renovations, and in another section there was a small tribute to the Jewish community that lived in the area. And in one part of the East Tower is a basement room where witches were kept and tortured during the one recorded set of witch trials in the area. Believe me, I’m definitely going to email those photos to my History of Witchcraft teacher in the morning.

The castle courtyard, facing the direction of the North Tower.

The castle courtyard, facing the direction of the North Tower.

At the end of it all, I had a really great time and was really glad I’d gone (though before I ended the tour of the castle I had to take off my coat because I was starting to get really warm from all the physical activity). It’s definitely going to be one of the highlights of my time here in Germany, and I took a lot of photos so that I’ll remember it long after I’ve left the country. I even had an idea or two for stories while I was there, and I bought a few books in the gift shop so that I’ll have plenty to reference should I ever need to look up some info. Definitely check out the castle if you ever get the chance. It’s well worth the trip.

Of course, I doubt this’ll be the last adventure I have in Germany. While my time here is becoming limited, there’s still one place I’d like to visit, and I think I might have the opportunity this coming weekend. Oppenheim is a town not too far from me, with an underground ossuary and labyrinth, which sounds a lot like the Paris catacombs, and they have a wine museum too. With Oktoberfest starting, sounds like the kind of place I could have a bit of fun before I say goodbye to Deutschland, don’t you think?

A model of the synagogue that used to be in the village, located in the small Jewish display in the castle.

A model of the synagogue that used to be in the village, located in the small Jewish display in the castle.

Well, I wanted to write more posts today (I’ve got plenty to write about), but it’s getting late and I’ve got an early morning tomorrow. I guess I’ll just say goodnight for now and see what I can post tomorrow.

Goodnight Followers of Fear! Pleasant nightmares!

It’s Friday again, and you know what that means! It’s #FirstLineFriday!

On Fridays, bloggers write a post titled like this one, hashtag and everything, and post the first one or two lines of a potential project, work-in-progress, or a completed or published work and ask your readers to give you their feedback. It’s a lot of fun, believe me.

Today’s entry is what could start out a novel I had the idea for last weekend. I don’t intend to write it anytime soon, but it’s fun to play around and think about what could end up starting it or what could end up getting into the novel when I finally do decide to write it.

Anyway, enjoy:

On the first Monday of the fourth month of our sophomore year, my friends and I made a suicide pact. Since then, there have been several times where I wish we had all followed through, rather than chickening out and letting what happened next happen.

Thoughts? Errors? Ways to improve? Let me know in the comments below.

Well, that’s all for now. I’m going on a trip to Wewelsburg castle this weekend. The castle’s got a very interesting history, and I’m looking forward to exploring it (as well as taking lots of photos and writing a blog post about it when I get home).

Have a great weekend, my Followers of Fear! Until next time!

Yesterday was the second day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I had the day off, but unfortunately no one could take me to the chaplain’s house that day, and while I tried to go to the nearest synagogue, I couldn’t find it even though it should’ve been in front of me (I found out later from the chaplain that you have to walk into the building where it should’ve been to find it. Otherwise it’s hidden behind businesses. Not sure why that is, but I’ll go with it). So with the day off and nowhere else to go, I decided to do what I promised to do my first week in Germany, and go explore some more of my temporary home.

If you head down to the Marktplatz on a Tuesday afternoon, certain areas will be busy while certain areas won’t be. The main plaza was pretty empty save for some pigeons, while further back you’ll find plenty of people strolling and shopping. It was into these back alleys I went, armed with a map and a general idea of where I was going. Needless to say, I got turned around more than once.

The smaller half of the Jewish Memorial in Wiesbaden.

The smaller half of the Jewish Memorial in Wiesbaden.

The first stop I went to was the Jewish Memorial in Wiesbaden, which was a pretty moving experience. The memorial stands where the old Michelsberg synagogue, which was a magnificent building with domes and spires that was destroyed during the war, used to be and is dedicated to the German Jews from Wiesbaden who died during the Nazi era. Today a road bisects the former grounds, so the memorial is split in half as well. The smaller part is an L-shaped, two story structure made from black stone, with a white display detailing in German and in English the purpose of the memorial. A small touch screen contains more information on the Jewish community of Wiesbaden (all in German unfortunately).

The second half, on the other side of the street, is much bigger. It’s in the shape of a giant rectangle with one side missing and along the walls, there’s a band where all the names of Wiesbaden’s Jews who were murdered during that period are listed. When I crossed the street, I felt the atmosphere change.

The larger, more emotional half of the Jewish memorial in Wiesbaden.

The larger, more emotional half of the Jewish memorial in Wiesbaden.

They say that certain places can hold certain emotions. I’m not sure if that’s true in this case, or if that was just my own associations affecting me, but the moment I got to the other side of the street, I suddenly felt very melancholy and started walking around the memorial, my hand running over the many names listed there. I found myself talking to the Jews listed there—I knew they probably couldn’t hear me, even if their souls were hanging around that space—but in that moment I talked, and I felt really sad because these people had lived and then had their lives violently and tragically ended, and their stories would never be known because the Nazis had done all they could to erase them. I cried a little while I was there, and I felt like something was with me in that memorial (though not necessarily the spirits of the dead Jews…maybe the spirit of the synagogue itself, if that makes sense), and it was very pleased I’d taken the time to talk to it.

The Roman Wall, with some additions from the Germans.

The Roman Wall, with some additions from the Germans.

After that I left (and felt much better once I was outside the memorial space). I then headed to something I’d wanted to see but had totally forgotten about looking for that first week in Wiesbaden: the Roman wall, known as “die Romantor” in Deutschland. Right down the road from the Jewish memorial, the wall has been reinforced and repaired and even built upon by the Germans (hence why there’s a wooden bridge connecting two parts of the wall). Nearby there are statues and reliefs that are either relics of the Roman age or they were created to resemble Roman works of art, and behind one apartment’s driveway there is a small alcove that might’ve been a storage area. These are all that remains of what might’ve been a Roman fortress against barbarian hordes. It was actually pretty cool, and I couldn’t help but think of a friend of mine from my study abroad trip who would’ve loved to see the wall.

Possibly a storage space for weapons and supplies?

Possibly a storage space for weapons and supplies?

You know thinking about it, I should write a story or two involving the ancient Greeks or Romans. There are already plenty of horror stories involving their mythologies, but involving them? I don’t know of many, though a few Anne Rice books do take place in ancient Rome or thereabouts.

Anyway, after that I headed back to the Marktplatz, where I discovered a costume shop with all these different masks and costumes and accessories available. Apparently Oktoberfest here in Germany involves costumes like Halloween does in the States (fun fact: only a fifth of Germans practice Halloween, as the holiday was mostly discouraed up until the 1990s by the Lutheran church. It’s becoming a growing trend, but still pretty small here except among Americans). I tried on a few masks and took some photos in a full-length mirror in the shop for kicks, then left while thinking about maybe getting a mask of some sort later on.

Mother always said I was a werewolf. I guess we now have proof. Awooo!

Mother always said I was a werewolf. I guess we now have proof. Awooo!

All in all, it was a pretty interesting and fun afternoon. I got to connect with my heritage in a very personal way, as well as immerse myself pretty deep in German history and culture. And I got to see some more of the city I’ve been living in for the past three months, and which I’m going to be sad to leave. Guess that means I’ll have to come back someday, right?

Of course, my adventures in Germany are far from over. I’m trying to arrange to go to this castle with a very interesting history called Wewelsburg over the weekend, and I would like to go to Oppenheim, which is not too far away from where I live, because they have underground labyrinths you can explore (sounds a bit like the Paris catacombs). Hopefully I’ll be able to do both and have fun at Oktoberfest too while I’m at it.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear!

*Warning: this post contains spoilers on a recent novel. Read with caution.*

I heard something very interesting yesterday that I, as a writer, a Jew, and a scholar on the Holocaust have to comment on. When you read that title and saw the words “Nazi Romance”, what popped through your mind? Probably nothing good if you haven’t heard yet, and probably a ton of controversy and maybe some simmering anger if you have heard yet. In case you’re among those who haven’t heard, let me explain:

The controversy centers around a Christian romance novel called For Such a Time by a woman named Kate Breslin that came out last year. The novel has received nods for awards and positive reviews in that time, including a few from the Romance Writers of America. However, a lot of people are taking offense at the subject matter: it’s a retelling of the Biblical story of the Book of Esther set in a Nazi concentration camp with a Jewish woman with Gentile looks and a Nazi commandant as the heroes. Long story short, the commandant thinks this blonde beauty can’t be Jewish and puts her to work in a supervisory role in the camp under a false name. Thus begins a strange, tension-filled romance that some have likened to sexual harassment coupled with Stockholm Syndrome (sounds a bit like my thesis Rose) that ends with the two heroes getting together despite all obstacles and, because this is a Christian romance novel, the heroine converts to Christianity (not like my thesis Rose at all).

Now I have not read the novel–I only found out about this yesterday, I’m not interested in reading a romance novel, let alone one trying to get me to look at Jesus in a new light, and even if I was by the time I finished it the Internet’s short attention span might have moved onto something else–but you can see why this sort of story might cause some upset feelings. The major criticism is that the novel co-opts one of the greatest tragedies in modern history, and the biggest tragedy in modern Jewish history, so as to advance a particular religious aim.

At the same time, some have come out in favor of the book. Anne Rice actually defended the novel, saying that writers should be able to experiment and that the almost extreme outcry rising on the Internet around this novel is akin to censorship and a lynch mob. The organization Romance Writers of America has said something very similar in response to For Such a Time getting two nods for major awards they hand out.

Now, I don’t like Internet confrontation. But like I said, I’m a writer, a Jew, and a scholar on the Holocaust, so I feel some need to weigh in on this subject. First off, I understand the point of view about experimentation vs. censorship. In several stories I’ve written over the years, including Rose, I’ve pushed boundaries of my own comfort zone and maybe the comfort zones of my readers in order to create a better story. Writers should be able to do just that, experiment and push boundaries in the name of creating a great story. To regulate what writers work on or threaten them if they write something someone finds offensive, which is made all too much easier by the anonymity of the Internet, does smell of censorship and makes me think of extremist vigilante justice using a new medium to intimidate people. Almost like a lynch mob, in fact.

Can you really make fiction–let alone romantic Christian fiction–out of a subject like this?

However, I do see why people are outraged over this book. Like I said, the Holocaust was a tragedy. Of the estimated 12 million victims of the Nazi genocide, around half were Jews. To take what was a horrific and defining moment for modern Jewry and use it as a backstory for a romance meant to draw readers close to Jesus is very insensitive to victims and survivors of the Holocaust who lost their lives because of their heritage, as well as those who carry that heritage today. The conversion to Christianity at the end is also very disturbing, because many Jews were forced to convert before, during, and after the war for survival and it sometimes caused trouble for them later in life. To portray it as an act of love…to say the least it seems unsettling.

Ultimately, I feel the best way to view For Such a Time by Kate Breslin is to view it as a teachable moment. While writers should be able to write and experiment as they wish, they should also be cognizant that writing about some subjects (like the Holocaust) requires more sensitivity and caution than others. When dealing with a subject such as this, it’s important not just to know your facts, but how people–particularly those affected directly by said subject–feel about it. That way when you write about it, you are writing it in a way that, while it may not please everyone, it will not cause the sort of outrage this novel has caused.

This was what I did with Reborn City when I wrote it. I’m as far away from the gangster lifestyle as possible, so I did my research to make sure I represented gangsters in a way that would do the lifestyle justice . So far, I haven’t had any complaints.

Thankfully Breslin has already issued an apology, saying she wrote it with the best of intentions and she’s very sorry for any offense or pain she caused to the Jewish people. And while others may not forgive her, I think I can. I think she’s learned form this experience. And when she puts out her next book, perhaps it’ll get the attention that every author wants their book to have, rather than the nasty kind her first received.

What’s your take on this subject? Is Ms. Breslin out of line or was she just trying to write a good story?

Should authors be more sensitive when experimenting with their stories? And is the uproar over this book overblown or justified?

Let’s discuss.