As I approach the downhill side of my eighth novel, The Friends of Harry Braham, I think it is time for me to move on, to evolve and adapt my stories along more current themes. Although there truly is nothing new under the sun, I live in the first quarter of the 21st century and though the nostalgia for the noir-like days of the 1930s and ‘40s has its appeal, it also has its limits for a writer.
For example, one must be ever so careful about dialog. Word usage and meanings change almost overnight and what seems perfectly acceptable in conversation today would seem odd coming from the mouth of a person in the pre-war years. Even that phrase, “pre-war” is limiting. Most of us know it means pre-WWII, but since we have had Korea, Vietnam, the Balkans, and nearly two decades of conflict in the middle east, what does “pre-war” mean, really?
What got me started on this tack was that I was writing dialog for the new book. For me, in order to write dialog, I must visualize everyone in the scene and what they are doing, their facial expressions and the like. Only then do the words flow, and even then I have to nudge and tweak the phrases.
So, I have come to the conclusion, that like my novel, Prowler Ball – A Yankee Station Sea Story, which I based on my own experiences flying in Vietnam, my next books should be based upon the real people and events that I lived through while traveling the world as an international banker.
I have mentioned some of these experiences in past posts and have even tried to incorporate some of the characters, albeit transported in time to suit my plots into my previous books. But given the recent furor over the Russian influence in American politics, the territory grabbing of the Chinese, the perfidy of the President of the Philippines, major scandals involving off-shore tax havens, major artworks unearthed from the hands of Nazi collaborators and the general mistrust of most of us with the pillars of our political-economic establishment, I have a whole palette of colors to blend onto my literary canvas.
The other inexorable driver of my evolution is TIME. It is simple, before my name appears in the papers not as a byline, but as a headline in the OBITs column, I have more tales to tell. I need to get busy even while I work on my backswing, I need to put the stories on paper with which I am most familiar, because I was there. Hidden Nazi loot, double dealing tax evaders, salesmen offering big ticket bribes to influence big ticket purchases, quiet conferences in sedate men’s clubs, irascible first-class passengers soliciting special favors from female aircrew, the entire lot is available for me to weave into stories. Irony, betrayal, anguish, despair, love, loss, hated and avarice are all on the table.
But, I should not get ahead of myself. I must finish The Friends of Harry Braham and get it to Judith, my editor. Still, peeking over the corner of my desk are the notes for The Lost Klimts. Art, the saga of lost and stolen art will fill these pages. I put that out there for anyone interested in keeping track of my work.
Check out my latest, Revenge of the Dragon Lady. You can find all of my novels at Amazon.com in softcover or for Kindle readers.