HOW I CAME TO WRITE THIS BOOK
by Mike Dennis
This novel approached me from two angles, many years apart.
The first one came to me back when I was playing music for a living. One night, while I was playing in this rock & roll piano bar, a couple in their late thirties came in and sat at the piano. The guy was a dead ringer for a young Jack Palance. Dark hair, wiry build, angular features, the whole deal. The girl was a bottle blonde, no stranger to either good-looking guys or bars.
Anyway, the guy tried and tried to impress her. He bought her drinks, he cooed in her ear, he danced with her, he tried to make snappy conversation…it got him nowhere. She was stifling yawns the whole time. After a couple of hours, she let him know she was ready to leave, and believe me, her plans didn't include him.
I witnessed this entire affair up close. The guy had the looks but he didn't have one ounce of charisma. He looked like a high school kid trying to score with a college girl. It just wasn't going to happen.
I said, "I can write a book about this guy."
So I filed it under "L" for Later. Years later.
I'm driving across country and it's late at night. I'm in the big, empty land of far West Texas. Nothing but a lonely strip of highway in front of me and a million stars overhead. And what comes on the radio but Marty Robbins' classic tune, El Paso.
I've always loved that song--I even used to do it in my musician days--so I turned up the radio and sang along. The second verse dropped my jaw and stopped me cold.
Blacker than night were the eyes of Felina,
Wicked and evil while casting a spell.
My love was deep for this Mexican maiden.
I was in love, but in vain I could tell.
Bang! There's my femme fatale to lure my Jack Palance lookalike from so many years earlier into a web of depravity and desperation. I started the book as soon as I got to a computer, and even named the girl Felina. The Take is the result.
You can find Mike Dennis on his blog right here.