Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ballad of the Highwayman and the Quickly Vanishing Swashbuckler

My new book--which I'm planning to bring out by Christmas!--is called Ballad of the Highwayman. It's a book set in the 1600s, during the reign of Charles II. One of my characters will be on soon to tell you more about the actual story, but today, I am going to tell you a little bit about my reasons behind writing it, besides the fact that I love to write this kind of story.

For anyone who has seen the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, (a smack in the face to those people who thought Braveheart was inaccurate) you know that the traditional swashbuckler is fast going out of style if it has not already flown out the window and crashed. What was wrong with Errol Flynn? You can't even have pirates anymore without them having "magical powers"; nor can you have a pirate movie without plot lines surrounding annoying women who can't make up their mind (not to name names, of course.) It's like Twilight tried to be a swashbuckler and died in it's sleep. (Did I just say that out loud? o_0) Anyway, you get my point. Plot lines like that are fine with vampires if you like that kind of thing, but pirates shouldn't have to endure that. It's cruel.

There was nothing wrong with actors like Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone and Robert Taylor who played in the good old-fashioned swashbucklers. Pirates and Highwaymen have always been in style, and I think that the majority of people still like them traditional. Mixing genres like that is never a good idea. Like if someone decided to mix western with sci-fi (again, not to name names ;) Or if someone decided to mess up the super hero movies. I mean, come on, do you want to see Captain America fall in love with a vampire? I don't.

So that brings us up nicely to why I wrote this book. As I saw fit to add more Scottish books to the world, I also saw it fit to bring back the traditional adventure/romance/swashbuckler (all wonderful genres together) Something like Dumas or Rafael Sabatini. Their books were very popular in their day. No magic, just plain old men. What is wrong with men who can use a sword because they have trained all their lives? Like everyone's favorite Spaniard bent on revenge from The Princess Bride (Another shining example of a good swashbuckler). I mean, come on. Even Tolkien, the greatest fantasy writer of all time, let his characters fight! If he didn't:

Aragorn: What do you mean I can't use my sword? What kind of book is this anyway?

Tolkien: Sorry, it's a fantasy.

Aragorn: Well, I quit!

This is how you loose characters, my dear writers/authors!

And yes, this is officially a rant, there will most likely be more on this blog, so get used to it! But I mean no disrespect to anyone/thing I "almost" mentioned, if that is what you like. I am only lamenting the loss of the traditional swashbuckler. If you do too, come see a preview of Ballad of the Highwayman here at

Tell me what you think! And leave feedback there too, if you could. :)

I'll be back again soon, so please comment, and again, don't let my characters get in your way.

Slainte, Hazel


  1. That's right, writers, don't make your characters do anything they don't want to. That spells the death of a good novel!

  2. Oh, I do love a good rant, Hazel. And I have seen everything you "almost" mentioned. I do agree with you. We need more good swashbucklers in this world!

    ~Sam Pepys

  3. And let us not forget the horrible plots with wishy-washy girls. Bleh!!!


  4. scarletblade, you do realize that is why I usually only put one female character in my book?

  5. It does simplify things, doesn't it? But then you have all the lads after you...

  6. Too true, there is nothing like a good old-fashioned adventure novel with a grain or two of romance thrown in for good measure. We do get away from that sort of thing these days. By the way, I've been proofing this Ballad of the Highwayman book and it is awesome. You'll love it.