Today we welcome Robyn Opie to Spinning Pearls to answer two inquisitive questions about her book, Black Baron.
Q.1. The title “Black Baron” has echoes of the German fighting ace The Red Baron. Was this deliberate, and if so, how did you jump from a fighter pilot to a cockroach? If not, where did the title come from?
A.1. Yes, the title was deliberate. I imagined Black Baron as a racing hero and every race is like a fight for his life. The story, itself, turns out to be a fight for survival. The idea for the story came when I decided I wanted to write a funny story for boys. I thought about all the things boys like, one of which was bugs. I didn't want to write about the usual bugs, such as spiders, worms, ants etc. I wanted to be different, so I settled on a champion racing cockroach. Naturally, the main character is a boy - Jake. He sees himself as Black Baron's manager and friend.
Q.2. How do you choose the “voice” for your stories? Do you generally prefer first person, third person or omniscient? Why?
For me, the "voice" of the story is usually chosen by the main character. The main character also tells me his or her name. The name comes first, then the story, then the "voice". I prefer first or third person, never omniscient. I originally wrote Black Baron as third person but the story didn't work for me or the main character, Jake, so I rewrote the manuscript in first person. The change to first person did the trick and the story came together in a way that pleased all of us, Jake and Black Baron included.