From time to time we’ll take you behind the scenes of Fortuna Favors the Bold to let you see what it takes to bring each exciting episode to the Web. In this installment we meet Head Researcher Gloria Frenkel.
BtS: What’s your role on Fortuna Favors the Bold?
GF: The writers come to me with a script, either a first draft or something more fleshed out, and ask me to have my people look it over. We’re on the look-out for anything inconsistent, maybe something that contradicts a previous episode, and all the fact-checking too.
BtS: Was the run up to FFtB’s launch a difficult time for you?
GF: You have no idea. The guys here hate me for having them working round the clock, but that’s the dedication that it takes to bring something like Fortuna together. The worst moment came when Pierce [Mulholland, of the writing staff] took me aside, and remember this is when we were totally snowed-under doing all the background medical work for the Stockton coma story, and he said,
‘Glo. Episode 3 is gonna be in Morocco.’
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It’s unheard of to do overseas episodes so early in a run, and I told him! But once Pierce has his mind set on something there’s no shaking him. So there we were, with less than a month to know Rabat inside-out.
BtS: What kind of things did you have to learn about the place?
GF: Everything. One of the key principles that Fortuna is based on, is complete authenticity. We had to know the city better than the Rabatians themselves. Had we had more time I would’ve gone over with my people, taken in the atmosphere for a week or two – but Fortuna’s release schedule doesn’t allow for that. So I sent Jacob [Noth, a junior researcher] over for a few days. To note down every detail – the little things you don’t pick up from academic sources. He did a lot of legwork and more than none of the credit should go to him.
BtS: David Manning of the Ridgefield Press has called Episode 3 a ‘triumph’. He said ‘readers will be whisked away to a Morocco more engaging, more visceral and more tongue-bitingly real, than anything to appear in Western fiction to date.’ How does that make you feel?
GF: I was really touched when I read that. Researchers are the background people, the ones you never hear much about. To have that kind of attention paid, that recognition. It’s really something special. And it’s even more meaningful coming from David Manning, who I know was the Ridgefield Press’ North African correspondant for many years. So he lived in these places. I believe his second wife was actually a Moroccan.
BtS: Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with us.
Next time on Behind the Scenes, we’ll pull back the curtain a little farther and meet another one of FFtB’s talented creators.