Today I am so pleased to welcome Brad Shreve to Joyfully Jay. Brad has come to talk to us about his latest release, A Body In A Bathhouse. He has also brought along a great tour wide giveaway. Please join me in giving Brad a big welcome!
The Fun of Doing Research
Ever since I read Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Being a kid who enjoyed painting and sketching too, I’d spend hours on the living room floor, writing stories and drawing illustrations. I was an avid reader and writer for years but lost myself when I entered the corporate world. I had the big office, a secretary, and many achievement awards, and never understood why I wasn’t happy. Now I understand it was because I wasn’t doing what I love to do.
Friends and family say they saw the life return to my face when I decided to pursue my dream of being a writer. There’s so much about writing I love; spending hours to come up with just the right sentence, creating and developing fun and unique characters, and painting scenes both real and imaginary. One joy I didn’t expect was research. Something I thought would be a necessary evil, turned out to be great fun.
When I decided to write a mystery that takes place in a gay men’s bathhouse, I had to delve into the history of bathhouse culture, from about 120 years ago to the present. I threw myself into learning about clubs today compared to years past and the new challenges they face to stay alive.
In A Body in a Bathhouse, the protagonist, PI Mitch O’Reilly, is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. Not one who has cared much for military history, the number of hours I spent studying Army vehicles used during that the height of the war was astronomical and fascinating.
Many of the locations n my story were old haunts I hadn’t been to in years. Unsure if they had stayed the same, I toured miles and miles of street level views on Google Maps. Some areas were easy because they hadn’t changed at all, while some looked so different, I had to further research to learn exactly what had changed and I could still use in my book.
My greatest discovery was while researching how dangerous Hummers were in combat and the options planned to replace them. It was during this mundane search I learned of an historic event. In the novel, I had already written that the MC was stationed near Kandahar Air Base in Afghanistan in June 2013. One link led to another and somehow, I stumbled on a very little reported news item; they held The military’s first deployed LGBTQ pride event on the 25th of that month on that base. That week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the event took place. There was little else I found right away except for numerous hateful articles in conservative websites and magazines.
After further digging I learned more about the pride event, thought not much. There were no parades, and no festivals. It was a panel discussion with over 60 excited participants. A video of interviews with attendees revealed their excitement over the low-key event. To add to the festivities, the very next day, The United States Supreme Court struck down The Defense of Marriage Act, opening the way to offering benefits to same sex military spouses.
Did Pride in Afghanistan, as they called it, make it in A Body in a Bathhouse? Oh, you betcha! It’s not talked about much. In fact, it’s only a brief passages, but I ensured it had a significant impact on the story. This gem of a find was just too good to ignore. I hope I honored and did justice to those who organized it and attended.
On the verge of bankruptcy, private investigator, Mitch O’Reilly takes any gig that comes his way, while running his Eye Spy Supply shop in a forgotten Los Angeles strip mall. After two tours in Afghanistan, Mitch’s life amounts to operating his store, coping with his fun-loving sister, Josie, and scoring with anonymous men he meets online. That changes when he gets a break. A beloved comedy scriptwriter is murdered at a bathhouse, and Mitch is hired to prove the innocence of the club custodian. Adapting from a two-bit gumshoe to a high-profile sleuth proves more challenging than he expected.
As if Mitch didn’t have enough to deal with, charismatic bathhouse operator, Trent Nakos, enters his life. After a heartbreaking past, the manager is the definition of a man the brooding P.I. actively avoids.
Following leads from sprawling mansions to sketchy hoods is demanding but becomes more troublesome when deadly threats jeopardize the biggest opportunity of his career.
After growing up in Michigan and North Carolina, Brad Shreve criss-crossed the country while working in the hotel industry. In addition to working in hotels as a bellman, front desk clerk, and reservation call center director, he’s managed coffee houses, waited tables, sold potato chips off a truck and even hocked pre-burial funeral plans.
He credits Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak for developing his interest in art and storytelling. He’d spend hours on the floor sketching and painting and writing stories. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George gave him his first inklings that he’d like to be a novelist someday.
In addition to perpetually thinking of how to kill people, he’s a proud dad, a beach bum, and coffee house squatter.
He currently lives in the Los Angeles South Bay with his husband, Maurice.
- Website/Newsletter Sign Up: www.bradshreve.com
- Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bradshreve
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bradshreveauthor
Brad has brought a great giveaway to award along his tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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