Sunday, January 31, 2010

Expositions by Kelli Stanley

Today we are very happy to welcome Kelli Stanley whose next book, City of Dragons, will be released this week.

First, great thanks to Vicki and everyone on Type M for Murder for having me over today! It’s very cool to get to hang out with you all!

City of Dragons, my second novel—and first in a new series—is about to launch on February 2nd (Groundhog Day), and I’m celebrating, especially since this is the first chance I’ve had to see a book carried in the Canadian market.

I was born in Washington State, but my first memories of Canada aren’t Vancouver but Montreal—and the World’s Fair, Expo ’67.

I was only three at the time, so my memories are hazy … but I remember colors and sounds and activities, palpable excitement … and most of all, riding an elephant.

Somehow the whole World’s Fair experience must have left a big, big impression, because as an adult I became fascinated with Expo history, ephemera and the whole phenomenon … even studied the cultural ramifications while I was in college. In addition to Expo ’67, the ones in Seattle (Century 21, from 1962—it gave us the Space Needle), New York (1964), and most particularly those held in ’39 (New York and San Francisco) have always intrigued me the most … much to the delight of Ebay.

So it’s no coincidence that Miranda Corbie, my PI protagonist, works at the Golden Gate International Exposition during the season. She’s a security hire for Sally Rand and the famous Nude Ranch on the Exposition’s Gayway (midway). Miranda’s been a lot of things—former Spanish Civil War volunteer nurse and ex-escort among them. She’s a natural for the Gayway—she understands the carnie world and is tough enough to handle it.

When I first conceived of the book that became City of Dragons, I assumed the action would be set during the Fair on Treasure Island, the 400 acres of man-made land where the exposition was held.

Then I came across research about the Rice Bowl Parties held in Chinatowns all over the country for China war relief in the fight against Japan—before Pearl Harbor and the US’s role in the World War II. San Francisco’s was the largest, and, like the Fair, it took over city operations … three days and nights of revelry, fireworks, street carnival, dancing, auctions, parades.

In my version of events, a young Japanese-American numbers runner is shot and killed in the middle of it all … and no one wants the murder investigated.

See, the tension between the two communities—Chinese and Japanese—was as explosive as a firecracker. There was a boycott of Japanese businesses, especially after 1937 and the Rape of Nanking.

So the Chamber of Commerce wants the murder hushed up. No one wants to lose money.
What Miranda wants is justice—and she’ll risk everything to get it.

City of Dragons takes place in February, 1940, during the Rice Bowl Party of that year, Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day. It’s off-season for the Golden Gate International Exposition, which initially ended October 29th, 1939 but was due to return, struggling to recoup financial losses, in May of 1940.

So though my start to the series doesn’t begin at the Fair, the Expo will be back in the sequel.

“Children’s Day”, a short story prequel to City of Dragons, takes place during a 1939Fair day, and is included in the upcoming International Thriller Writers’ anthology, First Thrills: High-Octane Stories from the Hottest Thriller Authors.

So I do get to write about my Exposition, after all.

Thanks for having me on board Type M for Murder today … and thanks for reading! You can find out more about City of Dragons and Miranda at my website,


Vicki Delany said...

This is a really good cover. Sets the place, the time, and the mood very well.

Rick Blechta said...

Agreed! Manages to sell the sizzle and the steak. A very strong cover.

Hope you do well with the book!

Charles Benoit said...

Just ordered my copy from my local gal. Looking forward to it.

Kelli Stanley said...

Thanks, you guys!! :) I think I really lucked out in the cover department. They did an amazing job on production, too, and the interior is beautifully designed.

Book design and printing quality means a lot to me as a reader, and to see that kind of attention on my own book is really special. :)

And of course, all of us at Macmillan are very nervous right now with the Amazon plug-pull Friday. Not the best time for a book launch, but fingers crossed we can weather the storm!

Thanks again, and take care!

And Charles--thanks so much for ordering a copy, especially from your local!! :)

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

Hey Kelli,
Welcome, and your new book sounds great! I'm getting a copy--and today's news puts MacMillan in a good light. What do you think? The situation keeps changing and I'm still trying to figure out the nuances.
with aloha,

Kelli Stanley said...

Thanks, Deborah!! :)

It's tough to be a Macmillan author with a launch right now, because obviously I want people to be able to get the book in whatever format is best for them.

At the same time, I personally love independents--as a former small business owner, I think small businesses are the backbone of our economy in a million different ways. So I do think that if Macmillan prevails, it will help even out the competition.

Amazon has relented to a degree--they're selling the Kindle version of CoD today--not the hard cover (which is really beautiful, if I can say so impartially). :)

Fingers crossed it all ends soon, because right now, authors and readers are caught in the crosshairs.

Thanks for stopping by!!