Saturday, September 27, 2014

How I Came to Write This Story: B.V. Lawson (In Plan B Magazine)


"The Least of These" (included in the same issue of Plan B Volume III as Patti Abbott)
is part of my series featuring Scott Drayco, a former piano prodigy whose playing days were cut short by an act of violence. Not one to dwell on what could have been, Drayco followed in the footsteps of his once-estranged father, forging a storied career first in the FBI and later as a private consultant.

I came up with the character of Drayco a decade ago, with my own music training inspiring Drayco’s backstory. Yes, you say, all well and good, but why write from the opposite-gender POV? I toyed with several possibilities, male and female, but the more I thought about Drayco, the more he came to life and demanded I write about him. That's the kind of person he is, though - not terribly flashy, but quietly brilliant, impressing bad guys and law enforcement types alike with his dogged dedication and almost mystical insights.

These traits are evident in "The Least of These," where he's taken on a private gig for an unnamed "alphabet soup" organization to infiltrate a party at the French Embassy in D.C. and turn up clues about the murder of an American secretary. Music often plays a role in the Drayco stories, and “The Least of These” has a denouement courtesy of a little Debussy to go with a little deception on Drayco's part. And the setting? Ever since moving to the D.C. area, I've always wanted to set a story in one of the embassies here, and my high school French made that choice a no-brainer. (My college German is much worse.)

After learning my husband has chromesthesia, a form of synesthesia where he sees music, sounds, and voices as colors, shapes, and textures, I gave that genetic trait to Drayco. This is such an integral part of the way Drayco experiences the world, it often forms part of his investigations (even though he’ll be the first to tell you it doesn’t make him a “Super Detective”). It's also one of the reasons he often uses the intricate counterpoint of J.S. Bach, a personal favorite of mine, to help him puzzle through complex cases, as he does in my debut Drayco novel, Played to Death.

The small Virginia coastal setting in Played to Death feels worlds apart from the highbrow embassy circuit, but Drayco finds that "humanity thrown together in the equivalent of a Petri dish under a microscope breeds malignant organisms as often as benign." I knew I wanted to set the first Drayco novel on the Eastern Shore of Virginia after several visits there. The old-world traditions of farming and fishing pitted against the encroaching world of modern development form the perfect recipe for drama, tension, and a little murder.

“The Least of These” and Played to Death may not have any plot elements or settings in common. But they both have a philosophy Drayco and I share: every victim of violent crime deserves an advocate willing to tell their story and to see that it ends with justice.

Now for a little plea: Plan B Editor Darusha Wehm has created an Indiegogo campaign to help fund future Plan B volumes and pay the authors, with incentives in various contribution levels. Check it out, and for as little as $5, help support some terrific short crime fiction by some of the leading writers in the genre today. At the $40 level, you can fill your e-reader with works by Plan B authors, including Played to Death and the Drayco story collection, False Shadows.

Indiegogo Link -


Charles Gramlich said...

Sounds like a great character. The qualities of a hero

Peter DiChellis said...

I remember this story in Plan B. Really enjoyed reading it. I used to live in the DC area, worked near Embassy Row. Cool setting.

And I do hope mystery fans will support Plan B's fundraiser. Definitely worthwhile. (For those who like reading on paper instead of an e-reader, the paperback omnibus looks awesome.)

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - Thanks for hosting B.V.

B.V. - I love it that you paid attention to this character and listened as he demanded attention. I've had that happen to me too, where a character slowly develops over time. I wish you much success.

BVLawson said...

Thanks for the feedback, Charles, Peter, and Margot! Crime fiction folks are some of the nicest and most supportive people around. I look forward to continue being a part of this community as author, reader, and blogger. And - as always - three cheers to Patti Abbott for her terrific blog.