What a tense time. Will it sell? Will people review it? I know the book is good, but making a splash when there are so many forms of entertainment out there isn’t easy.
This is the part where the audience keeps the writer in suspense. But don’t worry, I’m good at waiting: in fact, I’ll start right now.
Also there will be signed trade paperback copies available upon request. Simply leave a comment in the section below, or e-mail me at:
I mention in the acknowledgments that I’m standing on the shoulders of giants. But the names I list might not be familiar to everyone.
Raymond Chandler was the creator of Phillip Marlowe. He didn’t create the hard-boiled detective genre, but he saw untapped potential in it. He started writing his own, bringing in a more sophisticated style of writing. He believed that people could enjoy exciting plot twists and still get literary touches.
Dan Curtis was a television producer, but not just a producer. He came up with and developed ideas for shows. His first foray into fiction was based on a dream that a friend told him sounded like gothic horror. He’d never heard of that genre before, plunged into it, and came out with a successful gothic soap opera that saved a television network. One of his followup projects, Kolchak, the Nightstalker, features a classically abrasive investigative reporter who keeps finding paranormal dangers at the heart of strange events in Chicago. It was brilliant and funny, and I was delighted to be compared to it.
Marv Wolfman might seem like the most obscure name I gave, but he’s been a tremendous influence on comic books and has wrtiten television shows. One of his specialties is re-imagining classic monsters into contemporary stories. He’s also remarkable for working out how to fix inconsistencies in an ongoing story line..
I’d also like to say Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden books helped me see there is a market for this kind of old-fashioned character and cross-genre writing. Unlike the Dresden books, this is actually set back in the heyday of the private eye’s he emulates. And my detective, rather than starting out as an expert on the occult, begins blissfully unaware.
Less directly, I’m sure Terry Pratchett has been an influence, if only because he’s my favorite writer and I’ve read the Watch books over and over.
And… Star Wars. No, really. Watching The Force Awakens, I thought, “This guy doing Poe Dameron would be good as one of those smart-alec detectives.” And the idea of doing a Latino detective in period was intriguing. I’ll get into that in my next post.
Can a book be film noir? Well, given that “film” is in the genre title, I’d say not.
But, there are many film noir movies that are based on books.The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep, for instance, came from novels by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler respectively. Thus, it may be useful to categorize a book style as film noir. There are many kinds of detective stories: police procedural, cozies, analytical, and forensic, to name a few approaches. Film noir gives you an idea of what to expect.
Some of the defining aspects of the film noir cinematic style are visual– tilted camera angles and dramatic lighting. That isn’t readily captured in a novel… but it helped me choose my author photo.
One of the absolute requirements of film noir is sexual tension. I’ve kept that in mind while writing these. Many characters are attractive and there are complications in their interactions with each other that keep it interesting. First person narration means that, although the protagonist is himself a very attractive man, the descriptions focus more on the female characters.
Of course, film noir also dwells on the darker side of social behavior. Usually, it has to do with crime. Not all film noir stories are mysteries. Some are capers; some are escapes; some are thrillers. But at heart, there’s generally a legal line being crossed or contemplated. Rafael has plenty of that to deal with, mostly from others, although he has to skirt the line himself in a few ways.
Finally, while this is not genre defining (film noir movies have been made since), the bulk of film noir movies were made from 1944-1954 in AMerica. Forever’s Too Long is set in 1947, in New York City, so describing it as film noir (or just noir), helps imply the setting.
Film noir movies have an air of fatalism, pessimism and menace, though, and… The Forever Detective moves in and out of that. Rafael faces a heavy menace. There are hints that he’s following a fate he knows nothing about, but others do. More will be explored about that in the sequels. As for pessimism, Rafael is torn between hope and fear. However, action helps him keep his focus emotionally and his warm personality and sense of humor contrast with the noir aspects.
So…. noir light? A dance/action number in shades of grey? Read it and decide.
This artwork is a collaboration of Allan and me. I had the concept but was having trouble with the execution. Allan’s better with this style and volunteered to do it. He did want me to put in the little bats flying over the moon, though. I also help a bit with color. The book will be released June 1st.
Coming June 1st, 2019 to Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Apple, PDF and other outlets.
For many of us, the worst thing is having everything ready for the proof copy, then remembering that an author’s photo is expected. You don’t want it to put anyone off or distract from the story. You’ve been spending ages editing and the idea of getting dressed up and going to a studio to get photos done is a recipe for exhaustion.
Well, when your character is a private eye, why not do a little film noir cosplay and see what happens?
Note: The novel itself is written first person, from Rafael’s perspective. However, I’ve written a short scene set shortly before the novel, to awaken curiosity and do some foreshadowing. Also, here’s an idea of what Clara Thomas looks like.
Clara Thomas was almost finished packing when the phone rang. “Good morning,” she said.
“So glad I caught you, Clara. You’re being sent to America on a case, aren’t you?”
“Sir Lynn! Do you need any errands taken care of while I’m there.”
There was a chuckle on the other end of the phone. “No need to be so formal. I’m your brother, after all, or married to your sister, which amounts to the same thing. Lynn will do just fine. I just called to give you a little advice. I know Interpol needs to recruit more people. Trying to rebuild such an organization is a major task. Well… they’ll have given you some files of people they’d like you to interview as possible options. Somewhere on that list there will be a Major Rafael Jones. Near the middle if they’ve just done it alphabetically, but near the top if they’ve had the sense to prioritize them. I think you should read his file first thing. I think he could be a serious asset.”
“To them, yes. Maybe in other ways, too. He has a great deal of potential. I know one of his godmothers.”
“Is that all you’re going to tell me?”
“All I can right now. I’d have to meet him for myself to have a better idea. But as far as Interpol goes, he’s very fluent in two languages, passable in four more. He has a reputation for getting along with very nearly everyone– he makes friends easily, and given that Interpol is all about local cooperation, you could use that. Law enforcement has been his career and he has already worked with an international team. He’s ideal for Interpol’s needs.”
“But you’re also interested in him.”
“On hunch, my dear, but my hunches are usually reliable.”
“I’m intrigued. Major Jones, you said.”
“Rafael, if there’s more than one.”
“Shall I call you after I’ve made contact?”
“That’s an excellent idea. I’d like to get your impression of him.”
“Until then. Give Susan my love.”
“I certainly will, and all of mine, too. Safe travels.”
With the call over, Clara went to the window and took a moment to look over the city she was in. Just a few years ago, it seemed like war was everywhere and nothing was safe. Now she could turn her head and look toward England, her homeland, and know that ships were plying across the waters once more. She was soon boarding an aeroplane for America, one laden with passengers, not combatants or weapons. The world was at peace, but her own heart… she didn’t think she’d ever be as lucky as Susan, to find someone who was as real and kind as Sir Lynn Fox. He might be more than a decade older than his wife, but what was that when people were perfect for each other, as they were?
Work was better than love, if you didn’t have the right one. It gave you stability, purpose, and things to be interested in. Right now, she was interested in getting the file on Rafael Jones to find out what made him important enough for Lynn to take an interest in.