Hey Tote Bags ‘n’ Blogs gang! Thanks so much for having me here!
I grew up on a healthy diet of 1970’s TV show reruns, accompanied, most often, by delectable after-school snacks I created myself, like melted chocolate chips with peanut butter swirled in (which I’d eat with a spoon…like soup!) and sugary cereals with sugar sprinkled on.
Maybe it was my sugar addled brain, but I feel like these shows seared into my mind and formed a kind of fiction foundation for me. Gilligan’s Island, Brady Bunch, Star Trek, Beverly Hillbillies, Starsky and Hutch, Bewitched, and the scariest of all, Twilight Zone (OMG, how did I ever get homework done???)
However, I think these shows really faded out by the 90’s, so, kids born in the 1980s and later just don’t know them like I do. Which is the saddest thing ever, because I always want to refer to them, but half my audience won’t know them. Plus, readers outside of the US might never have known them.
This is true also of bands. But sometimes a girl can’t help using references.
Recent ones I snuck in. Hopefully I surrounded them with enough context that it didn’t lose anybody:
Jed Clampett: This is the father in Beverly Hillbillies. Basically, he’s a rich Hillbilly who lives in Hollywood but he still wears his old clothes, including a floppy hat. In Mr. Real, my villain wears a floppy hat like that, and I totally couldn’t help but have my heroine make a snide reference to it. “Jed Clampett called. He wants his hat back,” she says. Half my readers won’t get that. But, I call it a “floppy hillbilly hat” enough that hopefully people can picture it without knowing the show.
Kid Rock: My heroine also refers to the villain, who has not only the hat, but longish blond hair, as Kid Rock. Do the kids know Kid Rock? Is he worldwide? It’s so hard to know what people will get!
Brady Bunch: The ultimate blended TV family and three girls and three boys. I once asked my little grade school nieces if they knew Brady Bunch and they did seem to. Is it running on Nickelodeon or something? Anyway, In Devil’s Luck, my standalone Disillusionists novella, The heroine, Fawna, who was cast onto the streets at an early age, adopts the last name of Brady because of her love for the Brady Bunch, and her deep desire that she could be one of the sisters.
Rambo: Surely this is a known reference! Or maybe not. Rambo is the seminal action adventure hero, a war veteran/special forces guy who goes kicking ass on the system. At one point, my Mr. Real heroine (who is apparently as TV and movie-addled as I ever was) calls the hero Rambo 2000. Listen up, Rambo 2000… I thought it was fun and perfect for her to say.
New Kids on the Block, Johnny Depp, 90210, etc: I had to figure out what posters my heroine and her sisters would have on the walls of their rooms from when they were kids. Personally, I wanted to go with Menudo, but that would not work for a heroine in her 20’s today (despite all the TV references above.) Actually, a few twitter friends helped me here. It was quite the debate: what would girls who went to high school around the year 2000 have on their walls for posters? Between my heroine and her sisters, I used New Kids on the Block, Green Day, Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp and the cast of 90210. It was fun seeing what my tweeps had on their walls!
I’m giving away on ebook copy of Mr. Real to one random commenter. The question: just let me know what references above you get. Or, you can say which ones you don’t get. Because I’m easy like that! And thanks for stopping by!!
***Carolyn's winner is Martha! Please email email@example.com with your mailing details!***