I just wanted to take a moment and thank all of my readers who’ve joined me this month for The Stacked Deck. It has been an amazing experience for me to write a noir-style WhoDunIt. It is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. Film Noir has always been my favorite movie genre. I fell in love with it as a child while watching movies like The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, and D.O.A. with my mother. I watched those again, plus around another 10 movies, while preparing for this. I am not sure if I captured the complete essence of Film Noir, but I certainly gave it my best effort.
The story came in at 34, 812 words. Wow. This is the second longest story I’ve ever written.
People always ask authors who their favorite characters are and I would have to say that Jack Diamond and Dani Morgan were my two favorites. Jack is loosely based on the Humphrey Bogart characters Sam Spade from The Maltese Falcon and Rick Blaine from Casablanca. Dani’s character is loosely based on Rosalind Russel’s character Hildy Johnson from His Girl Friday. Jack really is a cad, but I love him as a MC. I had so much fun getting into his head every day. Dani started out as just the secretary. I had no thoughts of turning her into Jack’s greatest love interest, but I loved how she cared about both Jack and Bobby and decided that she needed a bigger role.
Here are my initial notes back in February when I first began researching for the story:
A man is killed but the cops believe it is suicide. The young widow doesn’t believe her husband capable, hires the PI to find his murderer.
Name for the PI: Jack Diamond – hard-noised seasoned detective, former police officer
Name for the young widow: Millie White
Name for the widow’s husband: Charlie White
Name for the PI’s assistant: Bobby Weston – runs errands, checks out leads, handles the less favorable grunt work, young guy about 25
Name for the PI’s secretary: Dani – no last name given
Name for the villain: Victor Angelo
Name for Angelo’s strong-arm: Tito Russo
Name for the murdered woman: Jessica Daley – worked as a singer in a night club/illegal gambling house owned by Victor Angelo called The Wild Card
Name for the Femme Fatale: Ella D’Amore – lead act at The Wild Card, dancer, singer, dangerously flirty, and Victor’s
Name of lead detective: Detective Arthur “Art” Larson
Name of Captain: Morgan
I had no idea there would be an Angelia in the story, nor that Ella would be the one who killed Jessica until I wrote the scenes. I also didn’t intend for Ella to be Victor’s half-sister. I love it when stories begin writing themselves and events unfold that even I, the writer, never saw coming.
The title of the story didn’t come about until I settled on the name of the MC, the name of the nightclub and the fact that illegal gambling was going on. It just became the obvious choice with all of the card references.
I loved the comments about all of the smoking and drinking that Jack did in the story. Those are two of the classic images of Film Noir. I kept thinking the same things, wondering if I had him drinking and smoking too much. I know those are no longer norms in our society, but in the 40s and 50s, it was still fairly common for people to smoke and drink that heavily.
I am not into Romances and I don’t usually write love or sex scenes. I knew there would have to be some elements of romance in this. A friend of mine kept urging me on to write a sex scene, which is how the scene between Jack and Ella came about. I wanted to keep the story as close to PG-13 as possible, which is why there were no extreme sex scenes in the story.
I really hope that my readers enjoyed the story and that I didn’t disappoint anyone with the ending.
How about you, dear readers? Who were your favorite characters? Least favorite? Did you like the ending or would you have wished for something different? Share you thoughts with me in comments.