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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

[Guest Post] Moira Young on Rebel Heart

Movie Influences
by Moira Young

The first female hero I ever met was six inches tall, lived inside our tiny black and white TV, and danced and sang her way along the yellow brick road with her friends. It was, of course, Judy Garland as Dorothy in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz. I was four years old. There it was, the hero’s journey with its archetypal elements – the call to adventure, the road of trials with its allies and enemies, the ordeal, seizing the sword (in Dorothy’s case, the broomstick of the Wicked Witch) and the hero’s return – all to a catchy musical score. Little wonder that female heroes and the hero’s journey sank deep into my psyche. 

As a wide-eyed four year old - stomach twisted in knots of fearful anticipation from title to end credits - I had no idea that this was a seminal experience. That this most magical of movies would become, not just my touchstone, but my most important literary influence. That one day I, too, would write a hero’s journey starring a strong-willed girl, and sneak in a few songs and dances along the way.

All I knew was that I loved movies. My dad had been a cinema manager in Glasgow before emigrating to Canada. He loved Westerns, epics, high dramas and sweeping romances and I inherited his passion for big stories. The first time he took me to the cinema - just him and me - we went to see Gone With The Wind. I was eight years old. The red velvet curtains, the plush seats, the grown ups, the smell of buttered popcorn, oh, it was all just unimaginably glamorous. It was shown with an interval. As Scarlett O'Hara stood silhouetted against the sky, fist raised and cried, 'As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again' and the curtains swept shut, I was so overcome with emotion and excitement that I was sick into my popcorn bucket.

From there, Dad and I moved on to Dr Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia and the die was cast. My love for visual storytelling on an epic scale stems was born. High romance. Great drama. Big canvas. Adventure. Courage. Danger. Passion. True Love. Betrayal. Death.
As I began to write Blood Red Road, I knew that, although it gives a nod to many genres, it would essentially be a Western set in the future. The film that it references most strongly is The Searchers, John Ford’s 1956 masterpiece starring John Wayne as Ethan Edwards, a deeply flawed hero. Many people classify the Dust Lands trilogy as dystopian, but I do not. Westerns used to be called horse operas and the Star Wars movies are often referred to as space operas or space Westerns, so I’ll have to start calling my books something similar; maybe post-apoc op?

Films have gifted me a rich visual imagination, so perhaps it’s no wonder that I write in a cinematic way. When my writing is going well, it's like there's a movie playing in my head and I just write down what I see and hear. I've ended up with a larger than life hero, epic adventure, danger, death, passion and betrayal, all played out on the big screen of a Western landscape. Fingers crossed for Blood Red Road, The Movie!

About Blood Red Road

Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

About Rebel Heart

It seemed so simple: Defeat the Tonton, rescue her kidnapped brother, Lugh, and then order would be restored to Saba’s world. Simplicity, however, has proved to be elusive. Now, Saba and her family travel west, headed for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But the fight for Lugh’s freedom has unleashed a new power in the dust lands, and a formidable new enemy is on the rise.

What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants? In this much-anticipated follow-up to the riveting Blood Red Road, a fierce heroine finds herself at the crossroads of danger and destiny, betrayal and passion.

About Moira Young
Moira Young has been by turns an actress, dancer, and opera singer, but her first loves are books and writing. A native Canadian, she now lives in the UK with her husband. Blood Red Road is her first novel.


  1. I love that yesterday I asked her about bookish influences and today you asked her about movie influences! We'll get to the bottom of Moira's inspirations :)

    Also I just wanted to say I LOVE The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind. Definitely shaped my childhood

    1. Ha! That's awesome! Great minds think alike! /grins