I have begun my historically fictional series on Billy the Kid, an implementation that I do not believe has been attempted previously.
The purpose of this treatise is because I want others to note the significance of the series I am currently working on, having completed both Book I and Book II, the latter of which is currently in edits with Sunstone Press, NM.
The objective of this series is to not only showcase the life that William H. Bonney had lead, but also to showcase the circumstances that were part of the environment which Billy lived in and had ultimately succumbed to.
I chose to write this has a historical fiction because I want to transcend the western niche and carry Billy's tale across the demographic borders of genres or classification. One audience I have chosen in particular to target, twenty-something's who tend to vote under the genre of contemporary New Adult, may not necessarily have an interest in picking up a western novel to read, and so I had to offer them something else if I wanted to introduce them to Billy the Kid: Who he was and what his plight involved. I had to create a contemporary impression around the concept of Victorian living and western sensibilities, and what it was like during that era and the proposition of Manifest Destiny.
Two of my primary objectives were to explain Billy as he truly was. The first was to create his character according to documented, eye-witness accounts: an affable but flawed boy stuck in the mire of a terrible situation in which he was unable to get himself out of, and the second, to make an attempt at further distancing him from the disreputable status of sociopath, a description which I and many historians find inaccurate. Furthermore, I wanted to be able to expand his appeal into other genres and reach into the minds of the modern masses outside of the western categories in which Billy and his contemporaries are confined.
In addition, the series deals with more than a few parallelisms to today's societal discourse, one being the lynch mob mentality and the harm that it does, and delves deeply into the oppression of women in a male dominated society. Women may have certainly come far since the Victorian Era, there is no argument there, but there is still the question of whose world we are truly living in.
There is also the matter of gossip, which was an unfortunate condition of Billy's ill-fated short, violent life, thanks to the circumstances of the times and what people were told or chose to believe through rumor or gossip. The worst of this was provided by the politicians and lawmen in power who wanted only to make an example of Billy who was a victim of this fault in others. An overall lesson of the story itself is to implore one to exercise patience in judgment. I attempt this by helping to perpetuate the truth of Billy the Kid and who he was by providing my own account in disproving his horrendous legend as a sociopathic killer, and this brings me to Lucy, who helps me do this because as she makes him human.
And with Lucy, this also brings me to the dangers of prejudice which served to add to the overall theme of my story, and happily, this only served to further my point.
Lucy is a strong-willed woman that some readers find difficult to handle, and despite Lucy's proclivity for spelling it out (a rule I broke as a writer, which is never to condescend to your audience), the general consensus of Lucy is not a flattering one in spite of it being made inherently clear, and through Lucy's own words no less, that she is not indefensible.
Lucy is telling the story from her own point-of-view, therefore the reader is exposed directly to Lucy's thoughts, emotions, and her reactions based on the situations that dictate them. She declares her displeasure over being used as a pawn in a game of men, and she laments her guilt over her poor conduct and thoughts towards others in response to this. But, despite her pleas to the reader, she is rebuffed.
In many cases, a story is left up to interpretation to the reader, but in this case it's not so. The impression the reader should have of Lucy is that she is sad, miserable, and lonely given her predicament. But most individuals see what they want to see. They hear what they want to hear. Because most readers misunderstood Lucy, it brought to light a certain genius of the novel because it served to prove as one of the most important aspects of the tale--that people must learn to pay attention and think for themselves rather than be predisposed to what they are told to believe without consideration despite the forthright facts.
But, don't let me forget the smaller (but no less important) societal issues, and those are love, loss, and heartbreak. Everyone can relate to those.
The series contains multiple facets. It is a humorous, gritty, dramatic, and romantic tale of not only love, but the human condition in general. It wasn't written to be another retelling of Billy's story which, technically speaking, is truly a short one considering Billy's short legendary stint and legacy. This series wasn't written just to be written, completely devoid of any substance--the books have a hefty weight to them.
The series has the facts. They were paramount while writing this particular account while fiction took a back seat, so the series should appeal to those seeking out old west history, not to mention those seeking out the details of Billy's life and how he became the legend he was. It should also definitely appeal to those looking for an entertaining story to read as well. I wanted to make this series palatable so that it had the opportunity to appeal to anyone looking for a great, profound tale to read. I'm hoping that maybe one day this series will be seen as an important contributory device in Billy the Kid's history.