Anne Louise Bannon is the author of the Old Los Angeles series, the Freddie and Kathy 1920s series, and the Operation Quickline series. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and read her latest post here.
Way back in my errant youth, I was going to be an actor. I majored in theatre as an undergrad, then went on to get my master’s degree in the same subject. After graduating (and producing a child), I took acting classes and met a young woman who produced plays in what was then called an Equity-waiver house. Actor’s Equity Association is the union that represents stage actors in the U.S. An Equity-waiver house is a theatre with 99 seats or less, which means that the rules about paying union-scale to union actors are waived because a theatre with so few seats is not considered economically viable.
I ended up associate producing a play with this young woman and had a blast. Didn’t do it again, though. That “not economically viable” thing. However, not only was it a fun experience, it really stayed with me. Some years later, in fact, I had one of those weird dreams that ended up a plot-line, then a new character starting talking to me, and eventually, I had a novel started that took me over 20 years to get around to finishing. But when I had to give my character, Daria Barnes, a reason why she would be working for her best buddy, a private investigator, I made her a play producer who couldn’t make enough money to live on doing what she loved.
I also wrote an origins short story about how Daria and Berto, her friend, met that took place during the rehearsals of a play that Daria was working on. That story got into the Malice Domestic anthology, Murder Most Theatrical, in which my fellow Blackbird Sharon Lynn is also featured. And, yeah, the setting was a lot like what I’d seen way back working that play.
The novel is Rage Issues, and it doesn’t come out until October. But you can sign up for my newsletter before September 7, and get an exclusive link to buy the book before it officially launches.
So while Rage Issues owes a lot to that play experience, so does an upcoming Operation Quickline book, Just Because You’re Paranoid (which won’t be out for a couple years yet because I went overboard and wrote up a bunch of books ahead). I used the building where the theatre I worked in was located as a setting for a shootout with a suspect. Of course, the whole Operation Quickline series is riddled with events and bits from my past. Part of that is possibly because I originally wrote the series while I was an undergrad and grad student in theatre. And part of that is my past is some of my richest material.
So, how do you use your past?