Marsha Canham's Blog

September 5, 2010

Typing typing typing

Filed under: Uncategorized — marshacanham @ 1:35 pm

I”m about halfway through Bound by the Heart.  As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, it’s a bigger job than simply tweaking a few words here and there as I did for China Rose.  BBTH was written back in the early ’80’s when heaving bosoms and ripped bodices were all the rage, kinda like ghouls, zombies, and vampires rule the waves today.  I pay attention to reader comments and the big issue for BBTH was the rape scene, which, considering the period the book takes place (1811) and the fact that I’ve never heard of a pirate or privateer who, being gruff and rugged and, well, piratical, would find himself with a beautiful, half-naked girl on board his ship and think to himself: “I will win her with my charm”   I’ve actually seen that line in a few books that take place on the sea, and scoffed each time I’ve seen it.

I’ve been accused more often than not of being too graphic, too violent, too “realistic” in my writing, but as Neil Young once said when someone criticized his nasally voice…. “Man, that’s my style.”  So, looking back, the rape scene was not written for shock value so much as it was written to reflect the time.  A young, blonde, beautiful captive on board a ship would be fodder for the captain and crew, more so if there was animosity between the captive and captor.

So part of my challenge in editing BBTH is to keep the flavour of the book and the story and time period true to the original concept, but to alter it just enough to take away aspects that may be disturbing to readers today.  Times change and I like to think I can change with them.  I still like the story.  It was the first attempt at going on board a ship and having cannons blazing and Errol Flynn swinging from the rigging.  It gave me the confidence to try a much larger seafaring adventure:  The Wind and the Sea, which in turn lured me back some years later to write Across A Moonlit Sea, and The Iron Rose.

I can feel my muse getting restless as I retype these books.  Whilst in haitus I started and stopped three books…the first was a spin off story for Damien, from The Iron Rose…the second was a medieval with knights charged with protecting a seer…the third was a regency period (not to be confused with Regency) murder mystery.  If my muse becomes insistent, I may do the eenie meenie miney moe thing and pick one up where I left off.

Any preferences?



  1. I loved the Iron Rose and would like to see a followup with Damien.

    Comment by Kathy Siedschlag — September 5, 2010 @ 2:08 pm | Reply

  2. Well if you are asking! I loved the Iron Rose so a spin off of that book would be great. I have to say that I have all of your books original copies and I love them all. But almost every summer as I am heading off to the beach to drive 6-7 11 year old girls around, find myself grabbing the Pride of Lions series and shoving them in my beach bag.

    I did that this summer and just finished Re Reading them for the bizzioionth time… (new word) Thank you for writing and I for one really hope your muse puts in an appearance.

    Regards, Colleen

    Comment by Colleen — September 5, 2010 @ 2:13 pm | Reply

  3. I like the comments you’ve made and the question you posed.

    My first book, Spring Blossom, took place in 1880 USA. It’s a Homespun and, therefore, a gentle story. It’s not about rape but rape recovery. There is no rape scene in the story. A young woman recovers from her ordeal with the help of a patient hero and a special female friend. And still, there were readers who took offense to the reference of rape. That’s just the way it is.

    When I read, I read through the era, with a feel for the era, and your rape scene would be typical to that time period. I don’t think you can remove the scene and, therefore, do an injustice to the times. Perhaps, if readers thought it was too graphic, you could tone it down a bit but I think it would be a damned shame to change the essence of a great story and great characters.

    Just my thoughts, Marsha.

    Jill, freezing this a.m.

    Comment by Jill Metcalf — September 5, 2010 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

  4. Oh please please write a book about Damien. I love him and scoured the Iron Rose for the parts with him in it. I loved both the Iron Rose and Across a Moonlit Sea.
    As for the rape, I understand. I think sometimes in this ultra sensitive world it is difficult to write a book that is true to the time period and the roles of men and women in that period.

    Comment by Juliet Jones — September 5, 2010 @ 6:50 pm | Reply

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