Guest post by Miriam Pia
The story begins: Indianapolis was striving to become a place that New Yorkers no longer laughed at.
Maybe you have heard of Indianapolis due to the Motor Speedway or the Indianapolis Colts football team, since they even won the Super Bowl a few years ago. There are also sculptures of post-modern art, galleries, artist studios, museums, horse drawn buggies and paddle wheel boats on a downtown canal. There are a few skyscrapers and a War Memorial. The state government for Indiana is right downtown. There are right around 1 million people living in or near enough to Indianapolis to be included. The city is surrounded by a highway loop, which is normal nowadays. The highways that lead people into or out of the city and around it, are the I65 and 465.
From their perspective, the villain is a mysterious criminal mastermind hiding behind a veil of respectability.
Readers are granted the great insight of having the villain’s name, which is one of the most important pieces of information the protagonists would like to have. The character’s name was developed from inspiration. Working as a contract writer for a Atlanta Real Estate a few years before I wrote the novel, I learned about Buckhead, an upscale neighborhood well known to Atlanteans. It stuck with me and just seemed ideal for the type of villain starring in this story. I don’t even remember how I came up with Tutweiler aside from the vague resemblance to the name of the dog breed rotweiler. I wanted the villain to be a well dressed, tall, probably caucasian man with long brown hair and excellent shoes right along with good manners and a decent lowr middle class day job. A corporate man. A contemporary man. A man who frighteningly resembles one of the mid level managers in nearly half of the large companies in urban America. He really might have been one of the men in your office building.
I felt that might add at least a small tingle of excitement for readers, as they go about their busy urban days. This is not the same as when the media tries to terrorize the general public into losing all trust in everyone else, but it is just that, well, I wanted the identity of the villain to be like that rather than the sort of undereducated working class ruffian or tough guy type of villain. Someone not likely to be at either the top or the bottom of the hierarchy in a large business but probably management.
Our heroes: I love team work. As a consequence, the protagonists in The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead, are primarily a team of 4 people backed by the city government and the law enforcement agencies of the city. The lawyer does operate as a facilitator type of leader: he organizes team meetings, he is the direct report to the Mayor, and he writes us the contracts. Beyond that though, his role does not have the same kind of ‘starring role’ that one gets in a novel with one clear main character nor as the clear starring role in a movie. He does not even get most of the attention in the novel but he does call every meeting.
The priest mainly serves the Sheriff as an act of personal service and God through total personal surrender and service throughout the novel. How a priest makes himself useful in the unraveling of a plot to build a drug lab in the city is not what I could call ‘predictable’. There is a character who’s role is to be ‘the muscle’ ‘the fighter’ for the team. His character represents what would be the personification of the military soldiers as a whole, if they were involved. The character is a strong and warm hearted rather than mean spirited fellow, who is courageous and feels protective of his fellow man. He also likes weapons. His real name – I mean, the character’s regular name is never used but he is called by his online screen name throughout the entire novel for reasons not disclosed. In truth, in real life, I normally use my real name as my screen name but my son has a screen name or two that he has used for nearly ten years now. My son is nothing like the character in the novel who uses only his screen name, but all those who have screen names – including my son may be what really inspired me to have one of them going by his screen name in the novel. The other main character stands out from the others by being: female, left handed, and a professional criminal. She is most definitely not ‘Cat Woman’ but everyone who knows that character will not be able to avoid seeing the similarities because she is also a career criminal and not the most moral. Her moral condition by the way, is not due to her gender.
Is this novel general fiction or genre fiction?
I really cast a wide net with this novel, hoping to please hundreds of thousands of men and hundreds of thousands of women with this novel. I do do some writing for narrower audiences: just men or just women or only children who like science fiction. I write for corporate readers and so on, but this one is really intended for pretty much everyone adult who might like an adventurous crime related tale with adult characters set in a big city.
Is there anything else, exceptional about this particular novel?
As an author I tried a few things. The most dramatic quality that sets this novel apart are the multiple points of view and massive amounts of character mind reading that goes on. I did it that way to intentionally create and grant a depth of intimacy with the characters for readers that mimics how intimacy works in real life. I would love reader feedback about whether you all loved this – was that the greatest thing about this whole novel? Or was it only okay, or even worse? Of course, I hope every reader finds the story great, but scathing reviews and passionate reports about how wonderful it is are both better, in my own view, than if it is just drab and not worth noticing.
Magical realism: I wrote magical realism into the novel. Compared to most fantasy novels that means the magic is barely discernible. Compared to novels that have no magic in them whatsoever, there is some. Some of it is wizardry or witchcraft or sorcery and the rest of it is done by God through that priest.
Is this your debut novel?
Yes, and no. Yes, it is. However, I did ghostwrite a few books as a freelance contract writer during the 6 years prior to writing this novel. This novel was nearly released by a different publisher based in India in 2011 but they ran over the time they promised to release it by so I took it back. I hope this way it is better but as Neil Gaiman pointed out – writers learned weird lessons in their efforts to be successful professionals in the field.
Do you plan on writing any more novels?
Well, in truth, I already have. I am trying to get my first military science fiction novel released this year. Unlike this novel, that one is every inch a genre novel and for a genre that has been shrinking over the past 30 years. Also unlike the gigantic audience intended for this novel, while I would love to reach another audience of hundreds of thousands or millions with this novel, the majority target audience are 18 to 25 year old men who are really into science fiction novels in general and military science fiction to be even more specific. If some men older than that and some women actually also like it – well, that would be spectacular and amazing but I won’t be holding my breathe.
Aside from that, if audience response is high enough I will produce more novels. Like most people I need to earn a living and unlike most novelists the audience needs to be large enough and willing and able to fully financially support me to make it worth my while to write more novels. If you all do, then I will. If you don’t then there may be 2 or 3 more novels from me and then maybe a couple of nonfiction books – possibly about philosophy and aside from that: if they pay me on contract to write it then yes. Otherwise no.
The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead
Genre: urban fiction, magical realism,
crime fiction, mystery
Date of Publication: 2015
Number of pages:300
Word Count: 95,000
Frustrated by the audacity of local villains, the sheriff of Marion County turns to the mayor. Urban fiction set in a real city, The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead takes some of the charm of vigilante comic book heroism and mixes it with the nitty gritty of contemporary crime fiction.
A band of champions searches for the missing pieces in the evil plot of a local drug kingpin in The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead: An Adventure in Indianapolis.
Ideal for those who love events of the outside world and the workings of the mind – characters’ actions and thoughts are portrayed in this contemporary novel – with just a touch of magic.
About the Author:
Miriam Pia has been writing for decades, including over ten years as a professional. Most of her work was done without a byline and as a ghostwriter. This is the author’s first published novel.