Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Update: What's your work in progress?

Morgan asked for updates on our works in progress, so here's mine. I'm working on a detective novel in which my detective is hired by an elderly man to find out how his best friend died. His best friend, it turns out, was a second generation Japanese American who died under mysterious circumstances in the Tule Lake Japanese concentration camp in 1944.

The story is contemporary. It involves an old diary and interviews with people whose memories are fading. During the investigation, the detective uncovers evidence of a serial rapist who might still be alive. She also unearths a 70 year old secret that is still worth killing for.

This is a difficult story to write. The circumstances and conditions of Japanese American internment are fascinating and disturbing. There is a lot of material to research and the more I research it, the angrier I become. The first draft is filled with a lot of my research and feelings. I know I need to get that under control because it gets in the way of the story telling. I also feel an urgency to get the story done quickly because we are losing so many of the people from that era.

If you are interested in this topic, I highly recommend the Densho Archives. Sometimes I find myself spending so much time there, I run out of time to write.

Today, I'm putting that research aside and doing some other research. I'm heading to Los Angeles to see my nephew play volleyball on the USC team. He's a senior so this is the last chance we'll have to see him for awhile. He expects to play in Europe after graduation, but doesn't expect to make the Olympics until 2016. Between matches my wife and I plan to do some sight-seeing, maybe even a Harry Bosch tour. At the least we will taste the martinis at Musso and Franks. That's the research.

Mark Troy
Hawaiian-Eye Blog


Morgan Mandel said...

I know how that is. I find lots of reasons to get sidetracked.

Morgan Mandel

Helen Ginger said...

The bad side is you're getting lost in the research. The good side is you're getting lost in the research. Sounds like a fascinating topic.

Have fun in L.A. I'm glad you're able to do some martini research while you're there.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I look forward to reading your book, Mark, and can identify with your feelings of anger. While researching a centennial history years ago, I came across news articles about Ellen Watson, who was not only hanged by cattlemen so they could acquire her land, her reputation was ruined by lies they told about her. I'm currently in the midst of writing the novel, No Escape: The Sweetwater Tragedy, after years of research.

Monti said...

Sounds like some excellent research for your book. Jean, your novel sounds like it will be quite a book as well.