The Barefoot Stories is a series of books I have been working on for the last two and a half years. Some folks have asked me why the name? For the series is about black magic, exile, betrayal, witchcraft — pretty tough stuff . On the other hand, the series is also about redemption.
The early titles for the franchise had a darker tenor to them. They included The School Of Secrets , Not By Human Hands and GASTLY. But as the first book is coming out in the spring of 2014, the publisher thought it best to go out with a brand that is more optimistic. In other words, brand it with some light. There is a “barefoot” theme that runs through the four books about taking a different path – as one of the protagonists says “traveling light”.
Initially I was against the barefoot brand name until I remember working on Star Trek IV. My studio bosses wanted a dark title — like The Wrath of Khan — instead we went with a title that was positive - The Voyage Home. It ended up being the most successful of the Star Trek movies (with the original cast, that is). The movie happened to be a good one as well.
So I now have decided that the publisher is right. I have worked on teams in my Hollywood Studio days that included changing titles for movies including Star Wars, Karate Kid, and An Officer and A Gentlemen . In the end, the studios ended up keeping the titles. As Jerry Weintraub , producer of The Karate Kid and the successful Ocean 11 series, told me ” All titles are shit. If there is a great movie behind it then those titles are considered great.”
The manuscripts for the entire Barefoot Stories are completed. I put them in four separate boxes and took the picture below, this morning. The word count on the series is about the word count of Gone With The Wind (480,000). I stared at those catalogue boxes and went numb at the work done and the work still to do. So I guess I will get back to focusing on making the first book as readable, entertaining and meaningful as I can possibly make it. I have Ben Wheeler and Molli Jean Kirkpatrick helping me with the first book edit now.
The books are inspired by the works of French poet and playwright, Robert de Boron. The Barefoot Stories are about magic; but they are also about the life and times of Merlin, the wizard. And why “Barefoot”, again? Merlin guides his Kings and Princes on how to travel light.
In fact, it is a beautiful day out. And still warm enough for a walk in bare feet.
The first book, The Barefoot King, will be released in Spring of 2014. The other books include The Barefoot Prince, The Return Of The Barefoot King, and The Barefoot Wars. Ancillary books include Barefoot Wisdom and How To Live A Barefoot Life.