Category Archives: historical aspects Los Angeles

Research Begins: What Came First

My suspense novel, What Came Before, came out first online at Every Day Novels as a serial, seventy chapters a day, five days a week, from March to June in 2014. It then became available in trade paperback and in Kindle format. Almost a year later, I’m beginning work on the prequel which will be set in the late 1940s Los Angeles and in the fictional town of Beauport, Louisiana which means I have some reading to do. 
I did quite a bit of research for WCB, exploring both the mid-1900s as well and the timbre of the times in 2000s in terms of the African-American experience, but I focused my book on a middle-aged, middle-class white woman who bears an uncomfortable resemblance to me. 
This made my job easier because I could reference my thoughts, experiences, and observations and use them as I deemed useful to the story.  I warped and exaggerated those experiences and similarities – my own life being undramatic.  However, I tried to keep the emotions real, taking from something I went through and using how I felt as my resource for how my characters might feel. As for my African-American characters, I had to ask questions, read books and articles, watch documentaries and movies, and observe and extrapolate and hope I could get it right.
Now I need to go back and research the same subjects, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, the movie business, Jim Crow laws, African-American history, Latino history, and the era of the mid-19th century.  I went through my bookshelves and found some of the references I’d collected and will share some of my notes from this research as I work through it.  I’ll also reference movies etc.  and what I learn from them.