Also were you writing this partly to let more people know his story?
Yes, I’m so glad you picked up on that. Florida, the last frontier at the bottom of the map, was so remote that it was largely ignored by the main stream media back then due to the distance and the delay in communications. Everyone, everywhere, knows all about Bonnie and Clyde who made news ten years after the violent deaths of John Ashley and his gang. Bonnie and Clyde had a relatively brief relationship before it was ended by the law. Yet, little is known nationally about John and Laura whose story is far more riveting, breathtaking, and poignant. They spent more than a decade on the run, escaping from city, state, and federal lawmen, with even the British navy in pursuit after the Brits declared John an international pirate. What a story! It’s the same with General George Custer. Every schoolchild knows about him, while few have heard of Major Francis Langhorne Dade who, at Christmas time 1835, led his men into an ambush in Florida’s Indian country. Major Dade and his men, 103 soldiers, were slaughtered and scalped. Their deaths set off the second Seminole War which raged for seven bloody years, the most expensive in lives and money of all our Indian wars. The Dade Massacre took place four years before the birth of George Custer.
This book is a departure from your usual fiction series featuring Britt Montero as a police reporter. Has that series been a good way to continue in a way as a police reporter albeit in fictionalized situations?
Absolutely. Everything that ever happened to Britt could have really happened, or did. It’s tough to write fiction in Miami where truth is stranger.
It’s so good to be working with her again. She’s been whispering in my ear for some time now, wanting her story told. And I did leave her in a rather awkward and precarious situation at the end of her last book, Love Kills.
Was it harder writing this book which, I assume, is more of a stretch, than the Britt series?
It took twice as long because of all the research and the fact that A Dark And Lonely Place is actually two stories, as two sets of characters experience similar events, in the same place, a hundred years apart.
You ask in the preface: "Is it possible to change our own destiny? Can those of us with the outlaw imprint of violence and tragedy in our DNA break the cycle? Or is our fate indelibly programmed in our genes?" Was this a book a way to sort of explore the ideas of fate and destiny? Did you reach some conclusions on those topics on how much of a pull and control they have on our lives?