I always enjoy answering the questions that are less about the books and more about what goes into them. I call them “behind the scenes questions” and I like them because it shows me the reader was interested enough in the book to wonder things like “where did you get the idea for such and such?” More times than not I’ll end up telling stories about where an idea came from and it’ll lead to a great conversation.
Here are a few behind the scenes factoids for you, based on some of the more common questions I get:
Even though Ike isn’t the protagonist in my books, he is certainly a central figure and always key to the resolution of the conflict in one way or another.
I’ve been asked lots of questions about Ike (one girl actually asked how she could meet him!) but without a doubt the question most people ask is “What’s his full name?”
The truth is – I don’t know. When Ike was introduced in Living the Dream I had no idea that he would become the iconic figure that he has. I picked the name Ike as a nod to a good friend of mine from RI, whose name is Steve Eichenfeldt – but we’ve called him Ike since childhood. Now that the character has become such a staple I’ve been contemplating a “pre-quel” to tell his story, but I still haven’t decided if Ike is his first name, last name or a nick-name
When I talk to people who don’t live in Florida, many of them are curious about the settings in the books. My stories are all set in Flagler Beach – with some of the action taking place in nearby St. Augustine or Daytona Beach – and almost all of the locations are real.
The marina where Ike’s boat is docked is an actual marina (The St. Augustine Municipal Marina). The Flagler Beach Pier (featured in Water Hazard and Back Seat to Justice) is a very real and iconic landmark. With the exception of compressing the locations for the sake of convenience, Flagler Beach itself is very much the way I describe it and almost every place I describe actually exists – most notably The Golden Lion. In the books it is owned by wheelchair-bound-bookie Ralph Donabedian, but in real life it is owned by Carol and Tony – a very nice couple who were very gracious about their restaurant being the scene of some questionable activities.
In Living the Dream – Kurt has more than his fair share of misadventures. Most of them were products of my imagination, but one was based on something I actually experienced.
In 2004 (three years before I began writing Living the Dream) I was driving from Rhode Island to Florida for Biketoberfest with my (then) girlfriend and her daughter. We stopped in Savannah, GA for gas and, while I was pumping, a guy approached me, spotting my Harley in the back of the pickup, and struck up a conversation about Biketoberfest. After a few minutes of chit-chat he told me about a “good ole boy” who had just won $36,000 on a scratch-off ticket and that he was handing out hundred dollar bills like nobody’s business. I was skeptical, but he insisted that I follow him so he could prove it.
Here’s where I got stupid.
I left the gas nozzle in the spout of my truck and followed this guy to the parking lot where a row of tractor trailer trucks sat. Between the rigs there was a group of about 20 guys sitting on the ground while one guy was playing 3-card-monte. Duane, the guy who brought me over, encouraged me to join in and before I knew what was happening I had “won” $600. No kidding – I had six – one hundred dollar bills in my hand.
That’s when the bell went off. I could hear my father (the bookie) telling me that the house always wins.
So I, unlike Kurt, handed the bills to Duane and told him I didn’t want to play. I walked back to my truck, finished pumping my gas and got back on the road as fast as I could.
Fortunately for me, nobody chased me or shot at me (although I think my girlfriend wanted to), but when I was writing Living the Dream I knew that with a little spicing up – it would make a great addition to Kurt’s problems.
Like they say…write what you know!
I’ll leave off there, but if you have any questions about my books please feel free to ask, your question may appear in a future post!. You’ll find several ways to get in touch with me on the contacts page.
See you next time.