I've been remote from Mojito for a couple of months - both in trying to make a living and trying to find an agent. Had a couple of nibbles in the US, but I can understand why they liked the story, but also didn't buy in. Cuba's politics has always offered plenty of room for a plot. A friend almost got a deal on a murder mystery based there - but her agent wanted it rewritten from a Cuban's POV,
But, I had a worse problem; my first three chapters were also pretty badly structured - but I hated the idea of revising the written legacy of work done a few years ago. I've let that go and rewrote the first three chapters.
I also think that everyone is looking for something new in a setting and a character. Block filled up the space for a crime thriller in Mid Town Manhattan, Connelly in Los Angeles, Pellicano in DC, Burke in NOLA, Sanford in Minnie and Parker in Boston. Almost all the main characters in contemporary pulp fiction have featured a type of anti-hero of one kind or another. And mine is no different. My guy borrows greatly from the characters I've enjoyed in other similar novels. Will I do an entire rewrite, maybe leading it with a character that's am amalgam of the intriquing people I know down there? I don't know that I could - but I'm not there yet anyway.
Can a Canadian in an exotic place taking on an adventure ring a bell in readers? I'm not so sure, but at this point I suspect that Canadians generally make better supporting characters than leads.
One problem I've had is finding a name for my guy.
I started out with Shuter as a tribute to a character in a novel a buddy wrote over 25 years ago. But with copyright concerns, I changed this to Murfee, then Fennings (which really sucked, but was the street I lived on at the time). I've settled on McCaul for 2 reasons: according to a database it is a very rare name, and it is a street near my neighbourhood in Toronto.
I'm gonna take another run at writing with Mike McCaul as the protagonist. the name does help me stir up a line for interesting character development.
But, finally my point - in some of the blog entries here, Mike will have a different last name. Forgive me - I will correct those eras over time. Viva Cuba!!
Brian Lloyd French
I am a great admirer of the strength and talents of Cuban people and will share some of my experiences here.