Blogging has been seldom and slow as of late. During the book tour — nearly two months — keeping up my writing was nearly impossible. And now back from tour, I’m working on a new novel. Well, I’m happy to say I’m far enough ahead on the new Spenser that I can keep up a few posts each week. Or I will try. I appreciate the many messages I’ve received on LULLABY and THE LOST ONES. I also have heard from several people about Nick Travers. Remember him? I have only written one short story since DIRTY SOUTH — the last NT novel — was published eight years ago. It seems that friends of Spenser have gone back and found my Southern version that first got me into the writing game. When I was in my early 20s, I did not consciously set out to write a character like Spenser. But as a young writer, RBP was definitely my biggest influence. Looking back and reading, I now see how much I borrowed.
1. Spenser is an ex boxer. Nick is an ex football player.
2. Both hate authority.
3. Both like good beer.
4. Both appreciate a good meal and can cook. (Although Nick’s taste are more Creole and Southern.)
5. Both are big guys who are good with their heads as well as their fists.
Although Nick is not a licensed investigator, he often picks up a paycheck by using his talents to track people down or follow the paper trail. In the early books, Nick has tried to make a living teaching the occasional class at Tulane University. As the series go on, and Nick gets older, we understand he often does leg work for local attorneys to make ends meet.
So what happened to my original hero? Well, a couple things. A storm called Katrina. And I changed publishers. And that publisher — as well as the author — was interested in exploring new territory. That’s how books like White Shadow, Wicked City, Devil’s Garden, and Infamous came to be. Those books opened up a whole new world of crime fiction for me and ultimately led me back to writing a series but in a much different way.
But this newest fan base discovering Nick has not gone unnoticed. It reminds me stories that are old to me are new to others. It reminds me of my very first Nick Travers story — did I mention it’s finally available on kindle? – LAST FAIR DEAL GONE DOWN. That long short story sat on my hard drive for 15 years before my late friend David Thompson published it within a 10th Anniversary Edition of Crossroad Blues. The short story was nominated for an Edgar and lead me to write a very short NT short called “Nine Below Zero.” In that story, we learn Nick has left New Orleans after Katrina and settled temporarily in the Mississippi Delta. But as happens in his world, trouble follows.
Well, will there be more? With every letter I get, it makes it tougher and tougher not to check in with the hero who got me started. Stay tuned —