Re: RARA-AVIS: Blonde Lightning

From: Terrill Lankford (
Date: 08 Jul 2007

-----Original Message-----
>From: Michael Robison <>
>Sent: Jul 8, 2007 5:43 AM
>Subject: RARA-AVIS: Blonde Lightning
>Mario wrote:
>Well, noir isnĀ“t dead.
>I wholeheartedly agree. There seems to be an idea
>floating around that because of the time spread
>between now and the origins of noir, that whatever
>comes out now must be some hybrid of original noir. I
>don't buy that.
>Terrill Lankford's Shooters is a good example of pure
>noir written in contemporary times. It is a fantastic
>book. Intense with a solid protagonist. It balances
>depth and entertainment, something that a shallow guy
>like me might otherwise tend to see as mutually

Thanks a lot, Miker. But I have to admit that, like Jason and Vicki, I didn't consciously set out enter the noir derby when I wrote that book in the early 90s (it was based on a piece of material I had written in 1985). I was just trying to tell a story. When my publisher told me that both of my first two books would be categorized as noir - and that noir was a very hard sell - I felt I should have done a little market research before trying to enter the book business. Noir wasn't fashionable back then. (It seems I'm always either too early or too late to cash in on a trend. I should probably get a subscription to PEOPLE magazine.)

>I just finished Blonde Lightning and loved it too.
>Not quite the same level of desperation as in
>Shooters, but sharp and intelligent and witty (laugh
>out loud funny without descending to stupid like
>Hiaasen). It is a fine book. The description of the
>mechanics of Hollywood low-budget movies was great.
>My only regret is that I didn't read Earthquake
>Weather first. I've got it but didn't realize until
>too late that Blonde Lightning comes after it.

Again, thanks much. You are a very tough critic, so I'm glad that book passed muster with you. I hope you can still read Earthquake Weather despite the fact that you now know some of the characters' fates. (But there is a whole different group of miscreants in that one as well. Many of the characters don't overlap the two books.)

And thanks to everyone else who posted about Blonde Lightning today. I, myself, enjoy a pat on the back once in a while. Lets me know that the work wasn't a complete waste of time.

Blonde Lightning might serve as a good example of how the public and the marketing departments have adopted and mutated the word "noir." Entertainment Weekly called it a "zippy noir" in their otherwise very nice review. What the hell is a "zippy noir"? (No "Zippy the Pinhead" jokes, please.) And if noir is so fashionable now and if BL is noir, why oh why, did it not sell better? How can a man continue to write zippy noirs if the public doesn't support them? (I think I'm beginning to channel Eli Roth now.)

>And Terrill, I'm dying to know who Scott Hewitt was
>modelled on. Can you tell without going to court over
>the answer?

Scott Hewitt was based on my experiences with late Larry Tierny. There are some creative additions to his character, but most of the events and even a lot of his dialogue actually happened in real life. I probably should have given him a co-credit on the book. He was quite an interesting person.

I know our buddy, Kevin Smith, has lodged many complaints about writers who use variations of real events in their books, but for me, if I can't relate sections of what I'm writing to events I have experienced or heard about from others' experiences, then I wonder what book or movie my eroding brain is lifting it from. I usually only use these events as a starting point to build on, but in the case of Larry/Scott, his stuff just wrote itself. Shameless of me, I know, but I really enjoyed "writing" those scenes.


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