Award-winning writer, journalist and producer David Fulmer is celebrating two releases: his latest novel, The Fall, and producing the release of a “lost” album of jazz by Georgia Music Hall of Fame icon Piano Red. We asked Fulmer, a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Award and winner of the 2009 Shamus Award for his mystery The Blue Door, to talk about his lastest projects.
1. Tell us about your latest novel, The Fall.
The Fall is a departure for me in that I took a break from historicals and ventured into the risky territory of first-person narrative. The idea came to me years ago when the rights to a series of songs of iconic stature – “The Times They Are a-Changin’” to name one, were sold off for use in TV commercials. For those of use who believe some music is sacrosanct, it was a galling development. Like what wasn’t for sale? At that same time, a friendship that had started when I was twelve crumbled to a sad nothing. And my mother, who is first generation Italian-American, was shocked to be confronted with some really nasty anti-immigrant sentiment. It seemed a throwback at the time. From what I’ve seen lately, that kind of bigotry is alive and well. All these threads combine in the narrative.
2. What draws you to the mystery/thrill genre?
I never thought I’d be a mystery author when I grew up. I wanted to write about book set in Storyville, New Orleans. With the corruption, prostitution, drugs, early jazz music, and all the rest, it begged for mystery. The book (Chasing the Devil’s Tail) did very well and a publisher made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. That was six books ago.
3. You have embraced e-book publishing; how do you think the Internet and digital devices will continue to revolutionize publishing?
Having been in the game, I think the prospects have been overstated. The projections of readers throwing their books away and snatching up digital devices were off the mark. If it’s a revolution, it’s going be a slow one; and it’s not going to accelerate in any meaningful way until there is a common platform and devices that anyone can afford.
I have always been enamored of American roots music, hence the musical threads that run through all my novels. Doing occasional music-related projects over the years, I became friends with Michael Reeves, who once owned the Excelsior Mill and now co-owns Smith’s Olde Bar. When he decided to release the tape of Piano Red’s last performance – one that he’s been holding on to for over 25 years – he invited me to come on board as co-producer It’s a great final tribute to an iconic performer and I’m proud to be involved in such a worthy project.
5. What are you working on now?
I’m counting… at the front of the line is a novel that started as a sub-plot in The Dying Crapshooter’s Blues, my 2007 mystery, set in Atlanta in the 1920s. I’ve got a contemporary thriller that’s been sitting on the shelf and I’m polishing to be shopped around as a movie property, along with the published novels and two screenplays. I get emails almost daily asking when the next Storyville novel will appear. I’ve got the bones here. I just finished another side-project, a Christmas novella I describe as “It’s a Wonderful Life” with random gunfire and sex on a dining-room table. I also continue to teach fiction classes at Eagle Eye Book Bookshop.