I recently read and reviewed Invisible Dead for my book blog, Mysteries and More from Saskatchewan. I enjoyed the book.
I am writing to you as I am puzzled about the similarities between the private investigators in your books.
In Last of the Independents Michael Drayton is a 29 year old former police officer turned P.I. who has an office on East Hastings in Vancouver. He is very opinionated, scornful of authority and obsessive in his investigation. His prime investigation is corporate related but his passion is searching for missing people. That passion focuses on seeking children for parents. I described Drayton in my review as having a “physical presence and an innate stubbornness”. He is single and living modestly.
Each of the above statements apply to Dave Wakeland in Invisible Dead.
I had expected there would be series of books featuring Drayton when I read Last of the Independents. He was an interesting character. I loved his supporting cast of the Hastings Street Irregulars.
When I heard of Invisible Dead I thought it would be the second mystery in a Drayton series. Instead, I learned that Last of the Independents was a standalone and Dave Wakeland would be the sleuth in a continuing series.
Most authors I have read who create multiple sleuths will make them significantly different characters. Going back to the Golden Age of crime fiction Agatha Christie created two of the most popular sleuths ever – Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple – who are very different people. Jeffery Deaver has Lincoln Rhymes and Kathryn Dancer. In Canada Vicki Delaney has three different women in Fiona MacGillivray, Molly Smith and Lucy Richardson (while writing as Eva Gates).
I would be interested in knowing:
1.) Why you created Wakeland when you already had Drayton;
2.) Why they could be half-brothers;
3.) From looking at photos of you how much, if any, of the description of the sleuths is based upon yourself; and,
4.) Will Wakeland’s further cases be set in locales away from the streets of downtown Vancouver.
Thank you for considering my questions. If you are able to reply I would appreciate it if you would advise whether I can put your replies in a post on my blog.
Best wishes on future writing. I consider you one of Canada’s best young crime fiction writers.
Thanks for the kind words. By all means use this response on your site, if you want.
1. When I wrote Last of the Independents I wasn't really thinking about doing a series. In some ways I think the ending wraps up Mike's story; he'll go on or he won't, but the major decision in his life is over.
With Invisible Dead I was writing about a more serious subject matter with a slightly more realistic tone (in my opinion, of course), and with an agent and a new editor/publisher to bounce ideas off. I had the luxury of thinking and re-thinking what I'd want to do with a series character, how I'd want to set things up. Wakeland inhabits a world that more closely resembles the real Vancouver, with financial constraints that more accurately reflect what a lot of people in their late twenties/early thirties are going through (again, my opinion only). I also wanted to write someone who was a bit less of a typical hero, less comfortable with violence if no less familiar with it.
2. There are absolutely similarities, but that's also because I wrote both of them!
3. I don't know; I don't picture either character as looking like me. I sort of follow the lead of Ross MacDonald and Chandler in that the character is a vehicle for the readers to view the story, so tons of description would only create a gulf.
4. The second Wakeland novel, Cut You Down, will be out February 2018, I believe, and will include Vancouver as well as some Eastern and American locales.
Thanks again for reading these, Bill. I appreciate it.