Friday, August 19, 2011
Where my ideas come from: Bad Karma
Bad Karma was the 5th book I wrote, and was the 4th one of mine published.
I wrote this back in 2005, and at the time Fast Lane had been published here and in Italy, but Bad Thoughts, Small Crimes and Outsourced were still all unsold, and I decided to write a sequel to Bad Thoughts to help generate more interest in that book. At the end of Bad Thoughts, I had Shannon and Susan in Boulder, Colorado, and decided to keep them there. After the hell I put them through in Bad Thoughts, I also wanted them to be back together and happy, and I wanted Bill well along the way of healing himself psychically from all the damage that had been done to him. My goal from the beginning was to write this as a more conventional hardboiled PI novel so it would be an easier sell.
So now that I had my goals, I had to come up with an idea for a plot. At the time a couple of people I knew had gotten messed up by this cult that operates what looks like these seemingly harmless yoga studios, so I wanted to use that, especially with the cults that were in operation in Boulder when I was there from '78 - '82. I had also written a PI story that I was never quite happy with and never sent out, but I liked its plot, so I decided to salvage that from the story and use it for Bad Karma. Finally, I go back to Boulder occasionally, and I wanted to write this as almost an homage to the Boulder I used to know (and love) as opposed to what Boulder has become. Finally, my wife was studying homeopathy back then (and is now a practicing homeopath), and I decided to make Susan a homeopath, and have homeopathy play a role in solving the murders.
Bad Karma is my only somewhat conventional hardboiled PI novel (I say somewhat because there's a lot of new age stuff in it, including a fair amount dreamwork, lucid dreaming, etc.). I never really pushed Bad Karma because the lousy timing of it coming out weeks before Pariah, but it's been really interesting the way readers have responded to it. Fans of Fast Lane and Small Crimes seemed almost betrayed and angry by this book, while readers unfamiliar with me tended to like this book quite a bit, at least from the emails I received and the reviews the book garnered. Well, it's been brought back as an e-book, and I hope people give this one a chance, accept that not everything I write is going to be some pitch-black noirish journey (although at it's core, Bad Karma still has a very dark plot), and if you do read this, let me know what you think.