While I was whittling down my manuscript, I had to look at each chapter and try to think of it within the context of the whole. This was a chapter that didn’t make the final cut as it didn’t develop the character (by that point in the story, the reader knows the protagonist doesn’t fit in) and it didn’t advance the plot. But I thought it worked well as a standalone piece and the good people over at the Lunaris Review saw fit to give it a home. Here’s a link to the story:
Some of my favourite novels have a sense of place inextricably tied to their stories. I can’t think of The Count of Monte Cristo without thinking of Paris and Rome, Gatsby without Manhattan or Fifth Business without the mix of old Toronto and rural Deptford (aka Thamesvile). I loved the portrayal of Quauhnahuac (aka Cuernavaca), Mexico in Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano – the heat, the weather, the people are all infused into the interactions of the three British ex-pat main characters.
I also chose Mexico as the setting for my novel, The Devil’s Gold*. In 1998 I spent the summer working in Zacatecas – Mexico’s best kept secret. Recently, I was in Mexico on business and I took a day off to fly to Zacatecas to spend a day to see the sites, take notes and breathe the city air again. Before the trip I used Google Earth, Google Street View and image searches to do the majority of my location research, which was very useful but it was no substitute for actually visiting the city. I had forgotten how beautiful it was and how much I loved the city. It is a small, colonial-style city, a U.N. National Heritage site and one of the oldest colonized cities in the Americas.
Continue reading “Novels and Setting”
The new issue of Burner Magazine is available online and features my story Sonora Desert Blues, which is excerpted from my forthcoming novel. It’s a lovely looking webzine and I’m thrilled they accepted my piece. It’s a flash site so it won’t work on an iPhone or iPad. My story begins on page 64:
I recently received the cover art for my novel from California artist Joe White. With a brief description of what the book was about Joe went to work and gave me this image. He said normally he’d provide a few different concepts to see if one struck a chord with the client, but he said he woke up one morning and this was in his head. I absolutely loved it, it makes the book seem that much more real (and is also a reminder to get back to finishing the final draft).
He also provided me with a file he simply called ‘All Work and No Play,’ which was a picture of a sheet of paper with the title scrawled on it over and over. It’s the background of this blog.
Joe was great to work with and will be in Toronto May 7th & 8th at the TCAF at table 150. His blog is here: