So something I do all the time is throw aspects of my own life into books. I’m certainly not the only author to do so, and trust me, it’s not some bizarre egomaniacal thing, either, it’s more a matter of laziness for me. Maybe laziness is the wrong word. Let’s call it a matter of convenience. I tend to stall when I get my mind caught in little traffic jams. What should the last name of this character be? What’s the name of that restaurant? Who should I name the bartender in this scene? These are the kinds of thoughts that will keep me on the same paragraph for days - literally - so to free my mind of those silly productivity traps, I just pick something familiar. I won’t reveal all the nuances here, but almost every book has characters with first or last names of people I know, or references to movies/TV shows that I’m watching, or even songs I’ve just listened to. In this particular case, I needed a setting for a date, and I’d done some of the more traditional stuff in other books, so like a true New Yorker I went to Chinese food.
Personal aside - I love Chinese food. Not real Chinese food, of course. I’m sure it’s delicious but the American palate I was raised on wouldn’t allow me to enjoy most authentic Chinese cuisine, so I take my fake Americanized bullshit versions. That’s the stuff I love - essentially it’s Asian McDonald’s: quick, full of chemicals, inauthentic, and generally bad for you, but dammit I love the stuff. I’m literally waiting for take-out Chinese to come to my house right now as I type these words, but in terms of Chapter 3 I decided to mentally set it at a little place that’s in the general area where I live. Like I write in that chapter, it’s a place where ethnically Chinese people line up outside of to get dim sum on the weekends, and when you walk into the place it’s always filled with Chinese people. Not that it’s a requirement, but it tells me something when I see that, so I basically set the scene in one familiar to me because it allowed me to be descriptive, tell the story I was trying to tell, and got me thinking about fried rice, which is never a bad thing!
And in terms of the story, this is the scene I like to think of as their first date; a scene where future dates can arise from. And like is the case in some other stories, we see a conflicted Quinn, unsure of how much of him should be a professional and how much of him should just be a man, and it’s in that conflict that much of the story is actually born. I also wanted to complicate the disappearance a little because Jen’s sister is a lifelong drug addict, so I wanted to create a reasonable expectation that she might have just died or disappeared.
Chapter 4 next. . .