Friday, April 10, 2020

A Tip of the Fedora

The next book you write will be published, under whatever name you choose (yours, or a nom de plume). What will you write? Why?

by Paul D. Marks

The question is very prescient as the next book is already written and will be published on June 1st. It’s already available for pre-order (see end of this piece or click here). So, can I go for a walk with Buster now? No. I guess I better finish the post then. So, as to the why:

The Blues Don’t Care is a little different for me in that it’s set in Los Angeles during the 1940s in the heat of World War II. I’ve written things set in the past before—White Heat and Broken Windows (set in the 1990s) and even some stories set in the 1940s. There’s also a new unpublished but accounted for story set in the 60s. But Blues is my first full-length novel set in what for some might seem like ancient times—the war ended three quarters of a century ago.

But, of course, I wasn’t there, though playing army or war with the neighborhood kids I was there in spirit. And I guess I have a fascination for the era. I think that mostly comes from the music and movies from that time, as well as the general history. So maybe it’s not so far-fetched that I’d want to write a mystery-thriller set during that time.

And, as many people know I have a fascination with L.A. and its history. One of the aspects that fascinates me is the nightlife on Central Avenue, at that time, the heart of black life in L.A. It was a time when African-Americans weren’t allowed to stay in most hotels so black entertainers and dignitaries stayed at the Dunbar Hotel on Central. And next door to the Dunbar was the Club Alabam, the most famous of the many clubs on Central.

The Dunbar Hotel
In The Blues Don’t Care, one of young piano player Bobby Saxon’s greatest desires is to get a gig with the house band at the Alabam, but in order to do so he must first solve the murder one of the band members is accused of. If he gets the gig he’ll be the only white member in the band. And that’s just the beginning of his problems.

Duke Ellington
Let me tell you, doing the research for the music of that time was torture. Having to listen to the likes of Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. Having to watch old movies to get the flavor of the time. Torture. Pure torture. (For those who are humor-impaired, I’m joking here.) Not everything was great back then, that’s for sure. But there is that music and those movies.

I would want it published under my own name because my pen name Art Vandelay is in litigation with George Costanza through my lawyer Jackie Chiles. And Robert Galbraith was already taken.

So, put on your bobby sox, your fedora and your zoot suit and time travel back to the L.A. of the 1940s with Bobby Saxon, at least for a little while.


And now for the usual BSP:

Coming June 1st from Down & Out Books - The Blues Don't Care:

 “Paul D. Marks finds new gold in 40s’ L.A. noir while exploring prejudices in race, culture, and sexual identity. He is one helluva writer.”
                                                               —Michael Sears, author of the Jason Stafford series

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Jacqueline Seewald said...


Congrats on your new novel! Wishing you much success.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thank you, Jacqueline. Stay well.

Anonymous said...

You have a great cover. Looking forward to reading this.

Happy Easter!

Paula Messina

Susan C Shea said...

Will it be available for Kindle? Sounds so interesting.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thank you, Paula. And you have a great Easter, too. Stay well.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Susan. Yes, it will definitely be available on Kindle. If you get it, and I hope you will, hope you'll enjoy it. Hope you're staying well, too.

Frank Zafiro said...

Congrats and good luck on the release, Paul! If people want to hear you talk about it, your episode of Wrong Place, Write Crime will drop next Wednesday - we definitely chat about the new book!

With Paul's episode and Brenda's coming up in May, I am about 80% through getting all of the Criminal Minds authors on the show! Susan and Abir - I'm coming for you in Season 4!

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Frank. And I'm looking forward to the interview dropping. But not out of sight, I hope ;-) .

Connie di Marco said...

Can't wait to read this, Paul. The cover is absolutely awesome! Congratulations!

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Connie. Hope you're doing well.

Susan C Shea said...

Just pre-ordered it!

Paul D. Marks said...

Thank you, Susan.