Seeing that this series is now fourteen stories long with more on the way, Ive compiled a list of both questions Ive received and ones that Im anticipating, as it will save us the trouble of answering them later.
How do you pronounce Ngo and Than?
Well, its not NUH-go and THAN (like in greater than.). Ngo is pronounced . . . well, say Ringo and drop the Ri. Than is pronounced with the short a (as in say ah), and the Th is a short sound made by touching the tip of your tongue to the back of your upper front teeth. Its somewhere between the th of thanks and the t of ton.
And if youre helplessly confused Ive done my job.
Now wait a second! In the Chinese zodiac Mike really is the Horse, but Micky and Davy are Roosters and Peters the Snake (or the Horse, depending where you go). So what gives?
Several things. I picked the animals from the zodiac that I thought were the coolest and appropriate for fighters. After a while it struck me that they were rather appropriate, too. Also, there is no canon establishment of the Monkees (the characters, not the real people) ages or birthdates. In the TV universe Peter could be the youngest for all we know. So basically it doesnt matter (because were not trying to establish an exact level of accuracy) and its just another story element and should be taken as such.
The stories are out of order and some of them are very different from the episodes!
We are aware of that, yes. Secrets and Lies (the series) is based upon the Monkees TV show starting after Monkees Chow Mein and continuing forward. We try to maintain an adherence to the characters and their spirit, but weve played fast and loose with some of the plots and storylines. Some of the stories follow the episodes rather closely while others are barely recognizable.
As for continuity, one of the nice things about the Monkees is that each episode is pretty much self-contained; there are no continuing plotlines, and to my knowledge no reference to any events in any other episodes. The only recurring elements Ive ever seen are the Monkeemen and the CIS. Because of that it cant be determined when an episode happened relative to the rest. In the context of this wonderful fictional universe that is the sandbox En and I play in, its entirely possible that, for example, the Monkees Christmas with Melvin happened before their run-in with Butch.
Thats the fancy reason. The more mundane one is that En and I write whatever episode gets stuck in our heads first, and thats what gets posted. So yes, the stories are out of order with the chronological airing of the episodes.
What about Controlling the Wind and Tiger By the Tail? I dont remember episodes that went like that!
Good. You noticed. Controlling the Wind came about from my own musings about Mickys temper, how it seemed to get more and more out of control as we went; it didnt seem like any of the established episodes would be much help in addressing it, so we made up an original work. It and Tiger By the Tail will by no means be the last—this series is episode-derived but that does not preclude having original stories in the mix.
Where on earth did you get the idea for all this?
I have no idea. It was one of those things that just appeared out of nowhere. The picture thats up on the title page of the first story was the primary inspiration. I suppose the way Peters standing, like hes about to go into action, and the way he and Micky look so serious just sparked something in me, and from there Secrets and Lies was born.
Did the tea make Peter smart or something?
Yes and no. Without getting into an extended description of canon versus real life and the whole is TV Peter really a dummy? I can only offer my own take, which is this: Peter (the TV version) is not stupid. Naïve, easily confused, innocent, sensitive, yes; stupid, no. In this particular universe Peter is actually smart but lacks self-confidence, which is what the tea gives him. Once he has that confidence his natural brightness is allowed to emerge, hence, Than.
Are we ever going to find out who Mistress is?
Yes, but not for a while yet. Mistress is our Dr. Claw and were not giving up her identity just yet.