We’re so pleased to have author Brita Addams back with us today to help us celebrate our 5th Blogiversary. She’s also offering five lucky readers the chance to win an e-book of choice from her backlist, so be sure to check out the entry details below.
Congratulations, Lisa, and the entire Novel Approach family! Five years is an internet eternity, and you have successfully navigated the waters to create a well-respected, go to site for substantive reviews and articles. I’m so proud of your efforts!
Lisa asked me to be a regular contributor shortly after she took the plunge and I have had a monthly column until earlier this year, when Brita World had to take a backseat to real life. The waters are smoother now, and maybe Lisa will have me back, but for now, I’m pleased to be one of the many authors who help her celebrate her Blogiversary.
I’d also like to wish my brother, Eric, a happy birthday! 🙂
I’ve spent a good bit of this year attending to personal health matters, but I haven’t stopped writing. I’m finishing up a book entitled After Dark Rag, the story of two New Orleans ragtime/jazz musicians in the early part of the twentieth century. Piano players Hamp and Fitz are a part of the coterie of talented fellas who lived and breathed music in what was called the District, or Storyville (the legal red light district) as the rest of the world called it. They rub shoulders with Jelly Roll Morton and King Joe Oliver, as well as a gay piano player by the name of Tony Jackson. The little that is known about Tony inspired some of Hamp and Fitz’s movements in pursuit of their careers.
Having lived in the New Orleans area for many years, before moving deep into Cajun country, I spent a great deal of time buried in the history of the area. Of course at the time, I never knew I’d live and breathe that history by writing novels. Before authorship, I had immersed myself in genealogy, and part of that was delving into my husband’s family history. He’s a New Orleanian through and through, right down to the filé gumbo and andouille/chicken jambalaya. His grandmother had a Cajun accent so thick you could cut it with a knife, as they say. His mother said things that were foreign to this Upstate New Yorker’s ears, but thanks to my study of history, some of those things now come out of my character’s mouths.
Picayune, the main character from Beloved Unmasked, makes a cameo appearance in After Dark Rag, as a six-year-old. Brief, but poignant for me, because I love him so much.
After Dark Rag is written in Fitzgerald Delecroix’s point of view, a scrappy young man who was raised by his grandmother, Gra-maw, after his cornetist father dies. He never knew his mother, and that loss, to some extent, shapes Fitz’s determination. He wants to be like his father, a man he remembers and admires. Gra-maw loves him and loved her son, but hates the music she believes is responsible for her son’s death. This poses a dilemma for Fitz, one he negotiates with care and not a little guilt.
As for Hampton Lindsay, he’s reached celebrity status amongst the professors and “musicianers” in Storyville. He’s taken the insults directed at his choice of only playing piano, a pursuit considered feminine in those days. He’s made a name for himself, if only within the nineteen square blocks that comprised Storyville. Then he meets Honey Fitz, and his world is turned on its ear.
The book deals with the Jim Crow laws which inhibited men like Fitz and Hamp in their career progress. We see the hierarchy, as such, that existed in the District, and we see the hopelessness as that era in New Orleans history ended in 1917. With Storyville’s closure, the musicians were left without a venue to exhibit their talent. These talented men and a few women, made life-altering decisions in pursuit of their dreams. Few found a home outside Storyville, in New Orleans, so many took the modicum of fame they’d garnered and left their beloved city to…
Ha! You’ll have to read the book. I hope to submit it by February and if accepted, production will take its course.
This is the fourth book in the Tarnished world, the second in the Cherished One series. You remember Emile Dauterive who was a significant part of Beloved Unmasked. With luck and if the creek don’t rise, I hope to finish Emile’s story in 2017. I have it partially written, and I know the course it will take, so I stand a good chance of calling it a wrap by next summer.
Writing historicals takes time. Much of the research I do sometimes serves a purpose of maybe a line or a paragraph, but I feel the necessity to get each fact right. I weave my characters into real events, and they interact with real people. That has to be done with sensitivity and accuracy – getting the real person’s personality down, etc.
A bit of trivia for After Dark Rag – As much as I’d like to include, arguably the most famous musician to ever come out of New Orleans, Louis Armstrong, his age doesn’t fit, as he was not born until 1905. I paid homage to him, however, as Fitz works Louis’s favorite job (NOT!) in a dusty, backbreaking coal yard for most of his teen years.
While I don’t have After Dark Rag to share, I do invite you to visit Dreamspinner Press or Amazon, and check out Beloved Unmasked and my other offerings. I’m pleased to say that Beloved Unmasked just won a 2016 Rainbow Award in the Historical Romance category and took fifth place runner up status in the 2016 Best Gay Book category. With all the tremendous competition this year, I’m honored to be in the winner’s circle with them.
You can find me on Facebook, Pinterest, and on my website. I’m relatively inactive on Twitter, while I haven’t decided whether 2017 will be the year I delete that account or not. Leaning toward delete at the moment, though. LOL
OH! Before I go, I have a giveaway. Please leave substantive comments below and five randomly selected commenters will win their choice of my backlist titles. That’s five titles to be given away. As I said, substantive comments, no simply, I’m in.
Big hugs and Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to everyone who celebrates and a Happy New Year. I’m looking for big things in 2017 and I hope you are too.
About the Author
Born in a small town in upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband. All their children are grown.
A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter. Brita Addams is a mash-up of her real middle name and her husband’s middle name, with an additional d and s.