I decided to go back in my memory and try to remember all of the inspiring moments in my own life that helped bring this book to life. I published Part 1, 2 and 3 the last three Mondays, so you can check them out to gather more insight into the book. Anyway, here’s some more stuff…
Rhonda Severino: I once read that if you bring a third person into a scene it creates a different dynamic between the main characters. When reading the story, I think you can see Christian’s growing frustration in regard to his relationship with his traveling partner, Jill.
Enter Rhonda, the sexy hitchhiker. She’s one of my favorite characters in the book. I dig her raw sexuality and tough exterior. Like the rest of the characters in the book, she’s already damaged goods long before she meets up with Chris and Jill. She’s a good person who’s been dealt a shitty hand in life and compounded her problems with a series of bad decisions. That all comes from low self esteem and naivety.
Bringing Rhonda into the story created tension between Jill and Christian. I think she showed Jill that she wasn’t the only chick in Christian’s world, and her throne could be threatened. She really pushed the story forward. I love her!
The inspiration for her came from a real girl I met who worked at a dry cleaners back in Woodbury, NJ. I remember back in the 90’s I was just beginning to do some writing and I told her a piece I was working on. She said she wanted to be a character in my story. She certainly fit the profile for someone I would write about. When I asked her what she wanted her character to be she replied, “I want to be portrayed as a hot slut, who has lots of sex and then gets murdered.” At the time I thought that wasn’t much of a departure from who she already was. I never forgot her, and knew she’d be perfect for the role of Rhonda!
Things that changed: In the original draft for Angel with a Broken Wing, there were certain elements that were removed or changed in later edits. When I first drafted the original treatment for the book, I just went balls out, accelerator to the floor on my writing. There was tons of profanity and even some racist moments in the dialogue. There was also graphic, gratuitous violence and nearly pornographic/erotica sex in the book. As I edited it, I realized as my first work of fiction to be published, I didn’t think it was necessary to go that hardcore to tell the story.
So I cleaned up the language, and only let my characters curse when it was absolutely necessary to punch up the dialogue. Pepper their speech, don’t drown it in hot sauce. The violence was over the top, and in the final edits… simplified. You can kill a person without violating them sexually for no good reason. Also the sex was way too dirty. I find that action sequences are so much easier to write than sex scenes. Action and violence must come naturally to people, because I really struggled to make the sex tastefully done in Angel. In the original draft you would have felt like you were there. In the final version, maybe you just saw it through an open window. It was quite a challenge, but it needed to happen.
One of my favorite things that changed in the published version of Angel is that I got to play God a little bit. In the first draft there are two characters that both died horrible, violent deaths. But as I edited it I really started to like them, and saw their value. I could have easily killed them both off, no problem. But I liked the story so much better when I let them both live. I had to change two separate scenes, and even wrote an additional chapter a month before publication to accommodate the survival of one of them. By letting them live, it allowed me to return to them in a possible sequel where they get to continue on with their lives. I feel extremely satisfied with the way it worked out for the story.
Can you guess which two lived?
Audra Connelly: This character is based on a girl who used to come into my bank branch when I worked in South Philly back in the 90’s. She worked in sales for a payroll company and was always trying to get me to switch over to her services at the bank. She was also a customer, so sometimes we’d simply hang out together. Like the character, she has extraordinary bright blue eyes. She also loved to play volleyball, so her body was lean and muscular with calves that could stop a bullet. I don’t know what ever happened to her, and I can’t find her on Linkedin, but I hope she’s healthy, married and happy.
The band at the bar in Palm Springs: My dad listened to a lot of National Public Radio. He turned me on to Chris Isaak, and a band called Big Lazy. He would literally come down the hall and get me from my room to come listen to these artists. I ended up buying their records and becoming a huge fan of both. I was listening to a bunch of Chris Isaak and Big Lazy when I was writing this book, so their sound is incorporated into the story. If it ever becomes a movie or a series, I could literally hand the director the soundtrack. Southern Culture on the Skids, Chris Isaak, and Big Lazy, all have that kind of open road sound. Please check out these artists. It’s perfect music to listen to while reading Angel with a Broken Wing. I decide to give Big Lazy a plug by making them the house band at the bar in Palm Springs.
The Bayside Motel: That was the first motel that my friend Frank and I stayed in back in ’82 when we arrived in Los Angeles. I liked how Christian looks at the gun and the bottle of booze and sees the parallel to his old life and job at the finance company. He could pay off the loan instantly with a bullet, or by making installment payments over time by drinking himself to death. I just love the hopelessness of that scene.
Santa Monica Pier: I believe it’s flourishing now, but I’m pretty sure it was closed down for quite some time in the late 80’s and early 90’s. It just seemed like the perfect location for an exciting scene in LA. that was a well known landmark.
Christian’s Dreams: The inspiration for his dreams are from images I felt when I listen to the song, In Spite of Me, by the band Morphine. That song always resonated with me and still does to this day. Just brilliant!
I think that’s all I can reveal without giving away the story. I hope you enjoyed reading this mini series as much as I enjoyed writing it!
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