I'm conflicted about my enjoyment of the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell. OK, yes, I'm a history nut. Even majored in history in college. The fiction I write is usually historical fiction. But . . . I'm a Quaker and a pacifist, and yet I get such enjoyment out of the adventures of Lt. Dick Sharpe, he of the green coat, of the rifles and Napoleonic guts and gore. I'm also a Patrick O'Brian fiend. So I get to enjoy Dick Sharpe on land and Aubrey and Maturin at sea and in their occasional misadventures on land, where they do not belong at all.
I'm not reading them in order, because I can never find them in order, and I seem to do just fine with a flexible time line. Right now I'm finally getting to the book where he meets Astrid in Denmark. Ah, there's Astrid who I'd heard about in future adventures. Poor Astrid.
Cornwell has produced such an engaging character in the earthy Sharpe. A man up from the ranks (like my father, though I don't think my father enjoyed killing when he fought in WWII), an orphan from the back alleys of London, a murderer who escapes the gallows by joining the army which then encourages him to commit further murders. But he has such an aura of nobility about him. He rises above the aristocrats with whom he is destined to contend.
If any budding novelists want to work on character development, read Cornwell and O'Brian. The popularity of the two series is most definitely the result of splendid character development. We know these men, and despite their flaws, we adore them.
How I Named My Blog
Being a poet and an occasional pun-ster, the "Not on the Road" title is multi-layered. First, it was a response to old Jack K's "On the Road," since I'm definitely not he. Also, I've moved around a bit throughout my life (like in the last two and a half years!), and I'm sick of being ON the road. And of course, being an animal lover and very active in dog rescue work, I don't like seeing animals, wild or domestic ON the road, dead or alive.