The history behind Killer at the Cimarron Social Club
June 13, 2019
Havana Holiday interview
May 5, 2016
After going out of print, Havana Holiday and its sequel Return to Havana have been put together in one story and then expanded a little. With a final edit I'll get it reprinted, in print as well. Date coming soon. Probably after I get back from Kenya, but for now a few questions answered about the tale.
Where do you find your inspiration for your characters? Your settings? Your storylines?
I tell the story differently than most. It is five stories from the five women all telling about the same four day period. I actually wrote Eve's story as a stand alone, but was told it was too short for a publisher, so I went, well heck! There are four more women and all sorts of things hinted at but never explained because it was all Eve's story. In looking at all the resources, several mentioned the old guide books for Havana and so each of the women ended up with one of the entries as their theme. Eve is dancing, Dahlia is music, Marianne is gambling, Nora is naughty nights, and Alice is seeing the island. Their adventures all mingle together though. You can't read it thinking that they are all separate, characters pop up from one to another, plotlines too. Dahlia for instance is being followed and almost kidnapped, but only by reading the other stories do you find out the whole story.
How did you choose the 1930s for your story's setting?
I never wanted to write about the revolution and all that. With it still in essence being an issue, it seemed a hot topic. But 20 years before that, Havana was a decadent city, full of anything goes. It really is what leads up to the whole revolution in fact. Batista the president let the American mafia in to run the casinos because they had lost so much business due to becoming so corrupt, and no one wanted to go. Batista was living like a king on kick backs and profits from the mafia-run casinos, while most of the country had nothing, and they fought back. By the end of the 1930s, Havana was literally a mafia town. They held big meetings of different families even. It seemed a perfect time to really write a story.
What is the hardest part of setting a story in this time period?
Well there are all numbers of people alive today who would still remember the era. I was worried all the time that I would get something wrong and be told so. I found out I have a half Cuban woman reader and I asked her to look it over for the Spanish. When she was done she told me it sounded exactly like the stories her parents told her about the old country so I think I got it right.