February 24, 2019

Where Stories Come From: "Publish or Perish" - MARTY QUADE

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I've always believed that most young men (or, more specifically, most young white men) tend to gravitate and get their philosophies from one of two authors: Ayn Rand or Raymond Chandler.

I'm grateful that I chose the latter: my college and graduate school years were spent poring over hard-boiled detective novels. It started with Robert B.Parker's Spenser, with his unconventional morality (see Early Autumn, Ceremony, A Savage Place, and Taming a Sea Horse for details). That led to Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane, Jim Thompson, Sara Paretsky...yes, I was a moody young man, wasn't I?

But all of them wrote about men with their own codes of honor, who could aim wisecracks as well as their guns...and I was hooked.

So when Ron Fortier of Airship 27 asked me to contribute to this anthology shortly after the publication of "The Magnificent Anderson" in Black Bat Mystery - Volume 3  it was the easiest writing decision I made at that time. That, plus a recent reading of The Pulp Jungle by Frank Gruber (motivated by one of my mother's coworkers who claimed to be the writer's daughter-in-law) not only helped me develop my writing/work ethic...but also spurred me to write a tale set in the pulp-writing industry.

(No, I didn't know about William Bogart's Hell on Friday at the time. It's now in my to-read pile).

Shortly after being commissioned, I served on a panel for the DePaul Pop Culture Conference Celebration of Joss Whedon. Much of the "fuel" for the story came from a conversation with a fellow Chicago Nerd Social Club board member (who I thought was full of themselves at the time; we've since reconciled) and meeting a fellow CNSC member (who subconsciously served as the model for one of the lead characters).

As I explain in the essay that accompanies "Publish or Perish" in Marty Quade, Volume One, writing the story was not easy...but once I got the hang of it, prose came out almost lightning fast. It also helped that I was able to download and read various Quade stories that were discovered (although there are various sites through the Internet, I've collected and linked to them in this sponsor-only Patreon update).

But it's one of the first stories where I "hit my stride" in terms of writing; there was a comfort level there (I had invented my own "hardboiled" character - a social worker who was a cop's son - in college), and I felt like I was "in my territory".

And quite honestly, I want to return to the world of Marty Quade...and I have a corker of an idea. The title alone tells the story...but one step at a time.

So please buy Marty Quade, Volume One...if only to justify Airship 27 commissioning Volume Two.

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