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22 September 2013

Back in the 1980s, I started writing a series of mystery tales about Deetctive-Lieutenant Luisa Garcia of the Los Angeles Burglary and Homicide Squad. Over the 1990s I sold a number of them to a small USA print magazine, but even when that market collapsed on me, I continued to write another Luisa Garcia story every now and again. I LIKED Luisa. She lost her parents young and has been brought up by her grandmother in a working class suburb of small frame houses in a cul de sac. Luisa and her family are originally from Mexico but have been living in LA for several generations and since she is regarded as ‘one of them’ locally, there is no prejudice that she has become a cop. Hence Luisa’s cases can be anything from a murder that she attends in her official capacity, right down to the after-hours helping an ex-schoolfriend whose job is at risk.The stories remain set around the 1980s, and Luisa depends more on her understanding of human nature, common sense, and knowing the habitual criminals which whom she regularly deals, than scientific and laboratory findings.

Other series characters arrived, and the total of Luisa Garcia tales has climbed past 20 and looks likely to reach 30 in another year or two. I’ve sold a collection of them (To Serve and Protect) officially scheduled for 2015 (although that could be delayed) but don’t think I’ll stop writing them once that’s published. They’ve been accepted by a continuing trickle of theme anthologies in the past five or so years so it’s clear that others like them too. They’ve never made it to book-lengh and I don’t think they’re likely to however. Luisa fits better for me as 1500-4,000 word short stories, but she is so much fun to write. Any time a new Luisa plot pops into my head it’s like an old friend dropping in. In a way it’s what I say about my tiny farm, that you don’t make money with a place this size, but you save some and you eat very well. And with writing Luisa I may not make much money but I have a great time and I settle for that very happily.

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