Long ago, I once saw a movie called Oliver! (1969), and fell in love with the character of Oliver Twist. I also fell in love with the lad who seemed to care a great deal for Oliver, and that was the Artful Dodger (also known as Jack Dawkins).
To say this movie affected me for years is an understatement. The book you have just read, as well as the others in this series, are a testament to my devotion to Oliver and Jack. So much so that in April 2006, I began to toy with the idea of writing about the affection I saw between these two characters.
In 2009, or thereabouts, I read a book called Mr. Timothy by Louis Bayard, which is a sequel to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It’s a fun read, fast paced, interesting, full of great details, but what I loved about it was how it took another look at the relationship between Tiny Tim (the titular character all grown up) and Ebenezer Scrooge.
I was inspired to imagine that Mr. Bayard had just given me full blow permission to write my book and revisit the relationship between Oliver and Jack. However, according to my records, it was not until October, 2011, that I seriously started writing Fagin’s Boy.
Around the same time was when I first actually read all of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, and discovered the horrible truth that in addition to Nancy and Bill Sykes being killed, Fagin himself did not live past the pages of the book. In many movie versions, including Oliver! (1969), Fagin supposedly lives. And, not only that, with great poetic license, Jack and Fagin are back together on the streets, living their lives.
In truth, Jack is deported midway through the book, and is never seen nor heard from again. Imagine my horror and my shock! Something had to be done, and I was going to be the one to do it, to correct this insalubrious error on Dickens’ part.
Around 2012, I read a snippet in Time Magazine about the rise of m/m romance. This gave me permission to go full-bore on the romance between Oliver and Jack. I wrote the story and finished it; it was around 100,000 words.
With some amazing feedback from beta readers, I began to reshape the story. And again, refining it as best I could.
Today the story is around 170,000 words because I had a lot to say about those two lads. I wanted them to be together, I wanted them to be happy.
While Oliver and Jack are relatively happy, Fagin’s Boy ends on a cliffhanger and the ideas I wanted to write about in Fagin’s Boy turned out to need their own story. Thus, there are five more books after this one, so I hope you join me as we follow Oliver and Jack on their journey to true love, the kind of love that lasts until forever ends.