When I tell people that Anaheim Tales is inspired by The Canterbury Tales, I feel like I have to do a little explaining. Anaheim Tales is not set in the 14th century, and none of it rhymes. The characters are teenagers instead of adults, and they aren’t strangers, but classmates. The book is not over 500 pages, and so far it’s not considered a classic.
What Anaheim Tales does take from The Canterbury Tales is the idea of a long journey, a story contest, and contestants who use their stories to malign other characters or the cliques they represent. And here and there, little hints of The Canterbury Tales are thrown in. For instance, the teacher’s name, Mr. Tabard.
While The Canterbury Tales is a classic, there are two aspects of it that I didn’t think would translate to the modern young adult reader. One, the lack of an obvious change in the main character. I only read The Canterbury Tales once before starting in on my book, and so I freely admit that the narrator may have undergone a change that I didn’t recognize, but I chose to increase the importance of the narrator’s inner journey. My narrator, Geoffrey (a nod to Chaucer,) spends the chapters between his friends’ stories contemplating his relationship with his friend Allison and his attitude toward girls in general. That is, when he’s not participating in the arguments that the storytellers provoke.
And two, The Canterbury Tales ends without a real ending. Scholars can’t even decide whether Chaucer meant for the book to end where it did. They think he may not have gotten to finish it. I gave Anaheim Tales what I hope is a satisfying ending, though people have told me that they wished it were longer. Little do they know, it started out even shorter! I originally ended it after the chapter titled “The Journalism Boy’s Tale.”
A less purposeful difference between the two books is the lesser quality of my writing. I’m not delusional. I don’t claim to have written “The Next Canterbury Tales.” However, I did try to keep in mind that these stories are the first draft stories of high schoolers. High schoolers are amazingly creative, but their first draft stories will not be perfect, and a small percentage of their stories might be downright bad. Geoffrey is a journalism student, and so the chapters between the stories, where Geoffrey narrates the students’ discussions, I held to slightly higher standards.
Feel free to ask me any other questions you have about the book. Thanks for reading!