JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Maxine Thompson, author of L.A. Blues 2
Running her private detective agency, staying off the sauce, and coming to the rescue of her trouble-prone family members keeps former LAPD cop Zipporah “Z” Saldano very busy. And now, just as she’s on the verge of tracking down the notorious serial killer known as the Grim Sleeper—and just as things are getting hot and heavy with hard-bodied detective Romero Gonzalez—word comes that Z’s brother, Mayhem, has been kidnapped.
The name should be a dead giveaway, but Z is shocked when the feds inform her of Mayhem’s long rap sheet and his new role as a snitch, which seriously threatens to shorten his life span. Shuttling between L.A. and Brazil, Z desperately tries to free her brother, but what she learns will shake her to the core.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write L.A. Blues 2?
Maxine Thompson: L.A. Blues 2 is the sequel to L.A. Blues, which came out on 7-1-11. In L.A. Blues, my theme is a question, which drove the plot line: Why does no one in the media care when young black men are killed? Ironically, the murdered fifteen-year-old character’s name is Trayvon, and tragically, two years after I wrote my novel, Trayvon Martin was murdered. Now there has been a public outcry over the Trayvon Martin murder.
In L.A. Blues 2, my theme is a question again: Why has the war on drugs, which began in either 1969 or 1971, lasted for over 40 years with no resolve? Of course, my research indicated that this is an international business, so I wonder if this social ill will ever end.
JP: What sets L.A. Blues 2 apart from other books in the same genre?
MT: I like to think of L.A. Blues 2 as the female counterpart to the movies, “Training Day,” “Boys in the Hood,” and “Menace II Society.” (I also fell in love with Walter Mosley’s character Easy in his novels, Devil in a Blue Dress, et.al. and his portrayal of L.A. throughout the different decades.) But what was missing in the films and the novels was a strong female protagonist. The city of L.A. also becomes a character in both books.
I have seen L.A. portrayed through male eyes but seldom from a strong female perspective. Therefore, I show L.A. through a woman’s eyes, my main character Z. She is a former foster child who becomes an LAPD officer, then later a Private eye. I use a lot of historical events in L.A. Blues, such as the L.A. riots, and the growing clash between the Black and Latino gangs in L.A.
Both books are filled with social commentary on racism, interracial relationships, the foster care system, the Crips, The Bloods, the drug problem, etc. In L.A. Blues 2, Z has to go to Brazil in an attempt to free her drug dealing brother, Mayhem, who is being held hostage.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to L.A. Blues II getting out to the public?
MT: Prayer and persistence. I wrote stories as a child, but I’ve studied the craft since 1989. I self-published my first novel, The Ebony Tree, in 1995. L.A. Blues and L.A. Blues 2 are both on Black Expression. As a retired social worker, this is a second career for me and writing is a labor of love. It’s been a long road, but I’ve enjoyed the journey.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish L.A. Blues II?
MT: I tend to start with a character and a voice. Z’s voice just held me hostage. I was fascinated with her voice as I realized she could have been one of my foster care clients from back in the eighties. L.A. Blues took over a year with the edits and rewrites.
I tend to take a break between books, so I can fill back up the creative well. L.A. Blues 2 took less time to write than L.A. Blues because I used a tight outline—the hero’s journey. Also, I knew my characters better in the sequel.
I follow my interests and write about things that I’m fired up about. I like to see fire in my writing. I am also a ghostwriter, and I wrote 8 short books last year for other people.
JP: What’s next for Maxine Thompson?
MT: I am currently working on a series of self-help books. The first one has been published on 6-17-12 on Kindle as The Hush Hush Secrets of Creating a Life You Love. There will be at least 4 other ebooks by that name, subtitled Book 2, 3, 4, 5. The book is already written; I’m just revising and updating it. I also will be starting on the third novel in the sequel, L.A. Blues 3, later this summer. A screen writer is working on the script for L.A. Blues.
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Bio: Dr. Maxine Thompson is a novelist, poet, columnist, short story writer, book reviewer, book blogger, an editor, a ghostwriter, an Internet Radio Show Host (http://www.maxineshow.com/) for the past 10 years, and a Literary Agent (http://www.maxinethompson.com/literaryservices.html).
She is the author of novels, The Ebony Tree, Hostage of Lies, and L.A. Blues and L.A. Blues 2, Short story Collection, A Place Called Home (Kindle Bestseller) , (Non fiction) The Hush Hush Secrets of Creating a Life You Love, The Hush Hush Secrets of Making Money as a Writer, a contributor to bestselling anthologies Secret Lovers, All in The Family, and Never Knew Love Like This Before, (Also a Kindle Bestseller), Proverbs for the People, Saturday Morning (Contributor, and Edited Anthology for Saturday Morning Literary Workshop.) She was included in Heather Covington’s book, Literary Divas; The Top 100+ Most Admired African-American Women in Literature. (www.amberbooks.com. Released April 2006).