Robert Fate is the author of Baby Shark, Baby Shark's Beaumont Blues (nominated for an Anthony Award), and Baby Shark's High Plains Redemption.
One exchange from Sandra Parshall's interview with Fate at Poe's Deadly Daughters:
Q. Kristin Van Dijk, aka Baby Shark, isn’t the kind of protagonist readers might expect from an older male writer. Where did this remarkable girl come from, and how did you end up writing in her voice?Read the complete Q & A.
A. Kristin Van Dijk was the key element in the story I wanted to tell, a story of love and revenge set in a time in our history before technology played such an extraordinary role in our lives.
I’ve had a computer from the beginning. I carry a cell phone. My college-age daughter carries an i-Phone and casually chats with friends worldwide. I am okay with technology (like anyone would care if I were not). But I wanted to set my story in a time thought by many to be more innocent. However, those of us who remember the ’50s know the truth of that.
I wanted to tell about a young woman whose father was absent most of her life and then brutally snatched from her when she finally had him to herself, a young woman who experiences unspeakable violence at the hands of vicious thugs, a young woman who survives. I wanted a protagonist with the strength and resolve to come back from the worst that could be thrown at her, to rise from the ashes, to seek revenge, and exact it without remorse. And, I wanted this without creating a cartoon figure. I wanted the kind of reality that some readers would turn away from, but others would grasp as necessary to the tale.
I had no choice. I needed the strength only women have. Only a woman could be the kind of protagonist I needed, a woman in a time in our history when females were beginning to assert themselves, beginning to see that anything was possible. I wanted a female protagonist loose in a man’s world, in a hostile western environment where no matter her age she would be considered a “girl.” Well, okay, I wanted a girl who looked to the future with a gun in her hand and the will to follow through, a girl who wasn’t going to stand for it anymore. That was how Baby Shark was born.
The Page 69 Test: Baby Shark.
Visit Robert Fate's website.