Hello everyone! Today I am so excited to welcome Rhys Ford back to the blog. Rhys is here to talk to us about the latest installment in her fabulous Cole McGinnis series, Dirty Deeds. I reviewed this last week and totally loved it. So please join me in giving Rhys a big welcome!
That’s pretty much what a writer does. Or should do. Lots and lots of research. Now it may sound crazy and even kind of silly but even a contemporary needs research, especially if it’s in a city the writer doesn’t live in.
It’s kind of like watching television shows based in your home town and you sit there watching the scenery fly past and think; that’s nowhere NEAR that other thing. I did that a lot for shows in Hawai’i. Hell, I can’t watch the new Hawai’i 5-0 because it drives me fucking insane. Magnum? Not even close. Now I adore Justified. There are probably people in Harlan county that are all; that shit is crack. There is no fricking Bear Wallop Hollow and who the hell wears THAT in the summer?
Sure, you might think there will be possibly FIVE people in the world that might care or read the book and care. Yes and no. Yes, because those five people are important but no, because we’re such a small little space.
I kind of like researching a new city. It might not be perfect research. Let’s face it, you’re never going to get great research as if you actually lived there and hell, even then locals disagree on a lot of things. Buzzfeed always posts these things like 25 Things You’ve Done If You’ve Lived in SoCal and most of us call bullshit on at least five of them.
The traffic though, circle of hell. Really. Drive in Los Angeles and you better have some patience. And coffee. And an empty Gatorade bottle to pee in if you’re on the 405. *grins*
What I like about research? Finding the hidden local spots. Look for restaurants or music venues that are local-centric. Do a Google street view and look around the neighbourhood. A few clicks with your mouse and you can walk through the streets and get a good idea on what the neighbourhood is like. It actually helps.
I like to take my characters out into the neighbourhoods. Because really, that’s so damned important to give these people lives. I like knowing what the weather is and really what goes on a Chicago hot dog. The answer to that is fricking everything but ketchup apparently which is a shame because I’m a ketchup only kind of person.
A bit part of the Dirty series really is Los Angeles. LA has a certain flavour to it that’s not really portrayed in the movies or television shows. There’s a bit of sandy grit to it. Spiced with a lot of different people, foods and a bit of trend. We mock the trendy too. There really is a public transit system even though a lot of people drive. You can find good Southern BBQ and soul food but you really have to know where to look. We have some damn good places down here in San Diego too. Our Mexican food is regional—as odd as it might sound. Los Angeles Mexican and San Diego Mexican cuisine are flavoured differently and really if you want good Mexican food, you’re better off in a small mom and pop hole in the wall or a ‘Berto’s place than a sit down place.
When I create Cole McGinnis, I knew I was going to flavour someone with Los Angeles as a base but then layer things on top of that. I gave him a good solid SoCal attitude with a knowledge of common Spanish words and a liking for certain things. He probably roots for the Kings, hates the Rams and is iffy about hockey but does like the Sharks if you press him. He’d admit to going to Disneyland maybe a couple of times and only really because a date wanted to go. Cole will defend In-N-Out Burgers to his last dying breath and can explain the differences between Del Taco (Ameri-Mex) and Sombrero’s (SoCal-Mex).
On top of that goes his exploration of the Korean culture. Koreatown is a pretty good chunk of Los Angeles. Not HUGE like Hollywood but pretty damn big. It has its own language and patterns and there are things you don’t do… like try to turn left on Vermont from Wilshire during rush hour and things you can do like sing really loudly in tiny karaoke rooms at 3 in the morning while getting smashed on cranberry juice and soju—not that I’ve done that or anything.
Cole’s life has been built up with some of those pieces and hopefully in doing so, I’ve given you a part of his expanded world. I as a writer want to be able to give you that in a story. I’d want to sliver off a part of someone’s life and take you there. And research does help with that.
But so does living. So…. My suggestion for an afternoon? Go out and try something new. Eat something different. Ask the server what is the best thing for you to try if you’re trying out a new cuisine. Go to a different coffee shop. Find a cheese shop in your area and to some tasting. Go to a nice park and walk around.
Okay but truthfully—ick on split pea soup. WHY? Why do that to poor defenseless peas? *grins*
Dirty Deeds by Rhys Ford (Book 4 in the Cole McGinnis Series)
Sheila Pinelli needed to be taken out.
Former cop turned private investigator Cole McGinnis never considered committing murder. But six months ago, when Jae-Min’s blood filled his hands and death came knocking at his lover’s door, killing Sheila Pinelli became a definite possibility.
While Sheila lurks in some hidden corner of Los Angeles, Jae and Cole share a bed, a home, and most of all, happiness. They’d survived Jae’s traditional Korean family disowning him and plan on building a new life—preferably one without the threat of Sheila’s return hanging over them.
Thanks to the Santa Monica police mistakenly releasing Sheila following a loitering arrest, Cole finally gets a lead on Sheila’s whereabouts. That is, until the trail goes crazy and he’s thrown into a tangle of drugs, exotic women, and more death. Regardless of the case going sideways, Cole is determined to find the woman he once loved as a sister and get her out of their lives once and for all.
Rhys Ford’s Dirty Deeds may be purchased at: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4780
About Rhys Ford
Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats of varying degrees of black fur, a black Pomeranian puffball and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and a purple Bella coffee maker.
My Blog: www.rhysford.com
And at the Starbucks down the street. No really, they’re 24/7. And a drive-thru. It’s like heaven.
My books can be purchased, folded and first chapters read at Dreamspinner Press. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com