Hat Check - A Troy Bodean Adventure
In 2012, Tropical Storm Debbie put a rainy damper on our annual summer trip to Pawleys Island. We spent much of the trip exclaiming, "Damn you, Debbie!" and playing cards at the dining room table. But something amazing happened when we got bored with the card games... we started spying on the neighbors. And it just so happened that there was a man... a man whose time to be the main character in a fun, thriller type novel had arrived. Troy. Or at least that's what we imagined that his name was... you see, we named all of the colorful neighbors and gave them a silly back story. There was Troy "Body" Bodean, 6'1", ruddy tan, always shirtless, a little less than shoulder length hair, khaki shorts with a black belt, Costa sunglasses and a hat... THE hat. A straw cowboy hat with some sort of feather on the front. There were others, Clint, Mama Troy, Troy Jr., etc... you get the idea.
But the spark of what Troy symbolized stayed with me. He just HAD to be immortalized in a book. What would I call that book? Members of our family began referring to this novel as Troy's Crick, but as the plot began to take shape, I realized that the Hat had almost become a main character and a central plot device, so, I had many titles, One Trick Hat, Hat Trick, The Hat, The Gone Hat, Life of Hat, etc. But eventually, I settled on Hat Check. When you read the novel, you'll see why.
It may be silly, but the first thing I do when writing a novel, is choose an actor who will become my character sketch. Here's Eric Bana in (ironically) Troy doing a pretty good Troy Bodean impersonation. And next to him is the real "Troy" photographed surreptitiously by one of my family members who will remain nameless.
Not a bad casting job if I do say so myself. And I fill in a collage with actors as I add new characters to the novel to keep everything straight.
And the next thing that happens is I design the cover.
I know this is not traditionally the way things happen, but this inspires me as I write, so I design at least ten different covers. I never know what they're going to look like, but when I get the close, I narrow it down to three. So, I like to have a poll from readers to see what captures their interest without any bias to the story being told.
So, here they are - vote for the one you like best!
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- David F. Berens