Brack Pelton, my protagonist, is an amateur sleuth who lives on the Isle of Palms, South Carolina. He is a conglomeration of many influences I’ve had in my life. And I’d be lying if I said it was all books.
The truth is I watched quite a bit of TV growing up. Saturday mornings in the late seventies and early eighties were spent watching cartoons. The first evening show I remember vividly was the Dukes of Hazard. Being a car buff, and only six at the time, the General Lee flying through the air interested me far more than Daisy. And the first TV movie I saw that made an impact was Smokey and the Bandit. Again, something about cars driving fast had my attention like nothing else.
That affection for things with motors and four wheels got me to watch a lot of shows that were not necessarily car shows. Simon and Simon comes to mind. They drove a cool Ram pickup (my protagonist does in book 2) and convertible Chevys. As most of you know, it was also a P.I. show so I was exposed to all sorts of investigations. Same with Magnum, P.I. He tooled around Hawaii in a Ferrari (Brack steals one, also in book 2) plying his trade. Knight Rider and the A-Team had cool cars but not a lot of substance.
The eighties version of Mike Hammer had Stacey Keach driving through New York City in a run down first-generation Mustang coupe. And that introduced me to Mickey Spillane. Another show and another Mustang, Spencer for Hire, got me reading Robert B. Parker books. And that opened up the world of the detective series.
I couldn’t very well talk about shows with cool cars and not bring up James Bond. True, it wasn’t a TV series, but there were so many James Bond-a-thons when I was growing up that it might as well have been. And they introduced me to Ian Fleming. I found that I liked the books better than the flicks. Does that sound familiar?
Miami Vice was another influence. The imagery alone was fodder for the imagination. Of course it would have to be. After the first two seasons, plot took a backseat to guest celebrities and great music.
And then about this time, I entered high school. And TV shows were replaced with video rentals and sleeping in Saturday mornings. So what does all this have to do with writing? Well, seeing images on the screen helps me visualize scenes when I write today. Some of it may be a mish-mash of all the different shows and characters I viewed over the years. I still enjoy TV today, when I get the chance to watch it. And my favorite shows are the ones based on books like Jesse Stone and Bosch. So I guess I haven’t changed all that much in forty plus years. Now that is scary!
David Burnsworth became fascinated with the Deep South at a young age. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and fifteen years in the corporate world, he made the decision to write a novel. Southern Heat is his first mystery and the sequel, Burning Heat, debuted in January. Having lived in Charleston on Sullivan’s Island for five years, the setting was a foregone conclusion. He and his wife call South Carolina home.