Stephanie: My guest today in Layered Pages is D. Grant Fitter and he is here to talk about his book, City of Promise and how the period in which the book is set in and his research.
D. Grant: Spanning eight years of the 1940s, City of Promises is set primarily in Mexico City, relies heavily on the flavor of Veracruz on the gulf coast, introduces the budding new playground of Acapulco on the Pacific and it was lots of fun to write.
Fun to write works aren’t really work at all and are almost always a product of inspiration.
People often describe the period and setting of my novel such things as surprising, unusual and unique. It is true that very little fiction has been written about life in Mexico City in the 1940s and I am not aware of anything done in English. By saying that is not to say the decade is not well captured and recorded through an abundance of other media. There is an absolute avalanche of living film, recorded music and historical archives to be gleefully buried in research.
Inspiration and fun really do go hand in hand.
Having that valuable bank of research is important to historical fiction writers, particularly if they are not writing a formulaic theme, enjoy doing research and if they strive to keep their characters, setting and storyline meticulously true to events of the time, as I have done with City of Promises. That backup also helps to keep the words flying from the mind as fast as the fingers can key them in. In my own case it also helped that I spent many years working and living in Mexico City, roaming the streets, admiring architecture, feeling the tremendous pulse of that city, developing a healthy appetite for participating in and understanding the culture and even having the experience of being held bargaining chip hostage by a very politically influential businessman. Such things helped me understand my true-life character’s lives and the life of my protagonist and his two supporting actors who are a conglomerate of many personalities I might have known.
What I am talking about here is closely connected to something learned over six semesters instructing adult creative writing courses. Understanding our limits and concentrating on our strengths.
Understanding our limits and concentrating on our strengths may at first seem a little too obvious or superficial, but it isn’t. In my six semesters instructing adult creative writing courses, the most common reason given by students for paying their tuition for the course was that they had an idea for a novel eating away at them, but they were in need of a push to either get started or they were bogged down and in need of some inspiration to keep going. The same holds true for authors who join writing clubs and online forums. I see that discussion all the time. All too often it is apparent that many talented, aspiring authors are trying to force a story into a mold they do not know enough about. They weren’t writing to their strengths.
So yes, City of Promises is the natural result of my attraction to historical fiction, but loving historical fiction is not enough. I went to work writing to my strengths. I went to work on a very broad subject that I have come to know very well; that being my fascination with the Mexican culture which is so distant from our own, a curiosity to understand it, and story that I feel illuminates it.
Publication Date: January 22, 2013 CreateSpace Formats: Paperback, eBook
Genre: Historical Fiction
Is there an economic value of one’s soul? “By divine good fortune I live in the most glamorous era of a famously enticing city. By obscene misfortune I’m shut out by its ruling elite.” Daring ways to make it big are on offer in Mexico City in the 1940s, but best watch your back! If Arturo Fuentes barters virtue to maneuver in on the action, will the consequence of his choices be too much to bear?
The rebirth of one of the world’s most colorful cities forms the rich backdrop for this historically discerning tale of treachery, intrigue and political corruption.
“My entire family was stuck for generations in that isolated village south of Veracruz where I was born. When you’re fourteen, know you are a dreamer and learn to be a schemer, you can’t stay and so you start planning for the day.”
In 1941, 21-year-old Arturo Fuentes followed the beat to Mexico City.
“There was so much going on!”
Bottles of rum in smoke filled bars, sultry women and impassioned conversation, music and bright show lights calling. Murder and corruption.
“A man moving up meets all kinds of people in that seductive city. Powerful men to boost your business prospects or a real dish who will change your life. Without women, life is without drama.”
“Arturo has goodness in his heart. I could tell in an instant. He was so easy to love. Arturo couldn’t sense the warning signs like a woman does. That pack of important politicos sucked him in! You can’t play their games and expect to walk away.”
“She was right! Each day my reasons for quitting got bigger and the ways out got smaller. I had to do what I had to do to save my soul.”
Praise for City of Promises
“… beautifully merging together historical fact with inspired fiction, this remarkable story is enlightening, illuminating and thoroughly compelling…” -Goodreads
“… a dazzling story of an eager young industrialist drawn to a myriad of big city temptations yielding experiences of tragedy, corruption, misfortune and prosperity …” – el Popular
“Fitter has efficiently dealt with time and place that makes the story come alive in the imaginations of the readers.” – Bookpleasures
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About the Author
D. Grant Fitter is a citizen of North America. Born in Ontario, Canada and educated in Colorado, USA, he is convinced he was Mexican in his previous life. How else to explain such a strong attraction to Mexico and all things Mexican, including his wife.
His business career includes long stints of work in Mexico before yielding to a pesky urge to pursue freelance journalism for seventeen years. Meanwhile, Fitter’s Mexican roots continued to call. City of Promises is the product of his curiosity to understand why the culture of our close neighbors is so distant from our own.
He lives in Toronto and whenever possible, in a sunny hillside casita in the colonial town of Taxco, Guerrero.
Virtual Book Tour Schedule
Monday, April 14 Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, April 16 Review at Book Nerd
Friday, April 18 Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes
Monday, April 21 Spotlight & Giveaway at The Bookworm
Wednesday, April 23 Guest Post at Layered Pages
Thursday, April 24 Interview at From the TBR Pile
Thursday, May 1 Review at Book Journey
Monday, May 5 Review & Giveaway at Closed the Cover
Wednesday, May 7 Guest Post at Jorie Loves a Story
Thursday, May 8 Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Monday, May 12 Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Thursday, May 15 Review at Reviews by Molly