Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Bourbon Street Hustler - The Second Novel Born From What Next?

I was still writing The Case of the Running Bag when I realized that Jonas Watcher was going to be more than a single novel character. I had a number of stories floating in the ether of my mind when I recognized that Jonas would be the character to bring all the stories together. It was happenstance that I chose the era of the 1930s to tell the story of the Running Bag in. I had always been a fan of films of detective stories from that era and while I had a Hollywood idea of the period I had no first-hand information. It was then that I remembered reading somewhere that if one wanted to get a better look into a period, that detective mysteries and adventures provided the best window into a time period.
Where's the Bridge?

I started reading more writers that wrote in the period and I started doing more research into the thirties and forties. I realized that I would have to take my research back into the roaring twenties and take a more definitive view of World War I. These were the periods that made the thirties and forties what they were. Research became more focused on the microcosm of the location I was writing about. It was necessary to fine tune not only to a time but a specific place in time to keep from being a full-time researcher. After all, my intention was to write detective stories circa 1930s, not a history of the world. Still, I would have to take side trips in research to import an element that I wanted to employ within the story.

The Bourbon Street Hustler
I have always wanted to go to and see New Orleans, but for the time being finances prevented me from taking a journey there with my wife in the real physical world. The library and the internet became my travel guide to New Orleans of the 1930s. As I looked into the Crescent City I discovered a fascinating mixture of history, multi-integrated cultures, and politics that were distinctly Louisiana. Cajun, Creole, French, and French Canadian, Christianity and Voodoo, and mythical legends Rougarou and Vampires.

New Orleans was an author's version of a miner discovering the mother lode. I could have gotten lost in my research and ended up never getting a story told. It was then that I decided Jonas Watcher would have to make multiple trips to New Orleans. That decision let my trip my story to a single major story, but also opened the gates for a couple of sub-stories. The Case of Bourbon Street Hustler was born and I knew I would be back in New Orleans and the Bayou for more stories.

Ironically while I discovered the riches available in New Orleans, San Francisco was calling me also, and from the oddest of sources; Have Gun Will Travel.  That is the tale for telling in the next blog post. Just how that western series sent Jonas Watcher on his next case.