A Twist on OLIVER TWIST
by Lorraine Heath
I remember my first introduction to OLIVER TWIST. My mom took me to the movie theater to see the musical OLIVER! with Mark Lester and Jack Wild. I fell in love with the story and characters and the scope of the movie.
The idea for THE SCOUNDRELS OF ST. JAMES series was inspired by a dream in which these dirty little scamps were dashing around the London streets, trying not to get caught. At one point, one of them said, “We've got nufin'.” And another replied, “We've got each ov'r.” At that moment, they won my heart. I woke up, went to my office, and began writing what would become IN BED WITH THE DEVIL.
I hadn't planned to base these characters on OLIVER TWIST. But as I began researching what life was like for Victorian children, especially those who grew up on the London streets, I was reminded time and time again of the movie I watched with my mom.
Then, I ran across information that indicated Charles Dickens had based OLIVER TWIST on real people--and I thought why not let my characters be the people that he based his story on? And once I discovered Jeannie Duckworth's nonfiction work, Fagin's Children, I realized my characters had the potential to work on several levels and could provide some fun for those who are fans of OLIVER TWIST. As I mentioned, I'd long ago fallen in love with Oliver and the Artful Dodger.
IN BED WITH THE DEVIL isn't a continuation of OLIVER TWIST. It's simply based on the premise that, at some point, these characters crossed paths with Charles Dickens and they became his inspiration. A reader asked me if Charles Dickens would ever make an appearance in THE SCOUNDRELS OF ST. JAMES. My reply was, “You never know.”
What was your first introduction to OLIVER TWIST and the Artful Dodger?