Annotation Alcatraz Chapter Five
Why did I use prison names? Well, the truth is . . . because. It felt kind of fun.
It wasn’t one of the things I’d been planning for the book. I knew I was going to name someone Alcatraz, but not that I’d use prison names for other characters. And yet, as I did it, I realized that Bastille was a great name for a girl and that Leavenworth would work really well for Grandpa Smedry’s real name.
After that, the joke took on a life of its own, and everybody got a prison name. A real-world explanation for this is coming later in the book.
Where is this book happening? If you’ve wondered this, you’re not alone–and you’re also not going to get an answer.
One of the reasons I write epic fantasy is because I have complete control over my settings. I know where things are and what they look like, and I’m the ultimate expert on the details. But when you write in this world, you can get one little thing wrong, and then end up having all kinds of complaints from readers who get distracted because you describe a real library the wrong way.
Plus, I like it when you can put yourself into the story. You can imagine this happening pretty much anywhere–I’ve even allowed foreign publishers to change Alcatraz’s national identity, if they want. Doesn’t matter to me. This story happens in “our world,” and that’s all the detail I wanted to give.
Bastille’s character came quite early, and I was very pleased with how she turned out in the book. I did tweak a few things, making her a knight instead of a bodyguard, to keep her from looking too much like the bodyguard daughter in the Artemis Fowl books.
By the way, Bastille says something along the lines of “We’ve got plenty of sand” in this chapter. If you’ve finished the book, you’ll note that she’s not nearly as ignorant about the types of sand, and the importance of them, as she’s acting here. She pretends she knows less than she does because she doesn’t like to be reminded of her failure. However, she’s not very good at pretending, as she reveals later in this very chapter where she explains auras to Alcatraz.
Rutabaga, of course.