In anticipation of tomorrow’s free promotion of my novella, King’s Long Search, I decided to write a post about the background of this story.
King’s Long Search is an old old story of mine. I don’t have an actual record as to when I wrote the first draft, but I have reason to estimate it was around 1993-94 because I remember where I was working when I was first putting ideas for this together. Initially, it was much more of a baseball story than it is now. In the current version, baseball is just more or less the context, a construct to get the main character, Abe King, off on an adventure.
The original story had nothing to do with Las Vegas, where this version takes place. It was still set around the time of spring training but on the east coast. The main action took place in New Orleans instead of Las Vegas. Probably the only detail from the original setting to make it into the new version is the architecture of the Le Chavalier Hotel. Coincidentally, Hotel Chavalier is the name of the hotel in Wes Anderson’s short film of the same name, which opens The Darjeeling Limited. I’m a huge Wes Anderson fan, so I was intrigued that we both came up with basically the same name.
At the time I was working on the early drafts, I had not been to New Orleans, which was one of the many reasons the story ended up in a drawer for several years. I had no confidence to pull off the details.
When I moved to Las Vegas, I purged a huge amount of my old writing, but I held onto King’s Long Search because I felt there was still something promising about it. At some point while living in Vegas, I decided I wanted to write some stories set there. In addition to working on new material, I decided to take a look at some of my surviving older fiction that I wasn’t sure what to do with and see if I could breathe new life into it by changing the setting to Las Vegas. King’s Long Search was one of these titles.
Both of the stories I have recently had accepted for publication are Vegas stories. “Six Minutes,” which appears in Ayris Magazine, is one of these old stories revised for Las Vegas. The other, “The Vacation Fight,” which is slated to appear in the Fall 2013 issue of Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing, originated as a Vegas story.
From the beginning, one of the things I wanted to do with King’s Long Search was create a story around a difficult to like character, but then through some understanding of his history and his plight engender some feeling of sympathy for him. King’s Long Search includes a brief history of the King Family, other members of which appear elsewhere in my writing, including the next thing I’m working on.
One of the biggest differences between the old version and the new iteration is that the old version was a pretty straightforward tale, whereas the new iteration is very ambiguous. Abe King is dealing with a great amount of uncertainty about what is going on and the story reflects his confusion.
I’m glad I was able to salvage some of my original ideas for this story and develop them into my first self-published book. As I mentioned the other day, it is currently available for Kindle and Kindle apps and I am planning for it to be available for other devices in September.