Origins of The Falcon Dirk – Part Two

English: Sign for B.B. King's Blues club on Be...

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English: Aerial view of the Hernando de Soto B...
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I remember when I saw the movie The Firm (John Grisham) years ago. I was interested in it primarily because it was set in Memphis. I had lived in Memphis for a number of years, but had not seen any movies that had been filmed there or based on Memphis. I thought at the time that I would include Memphis in a book, if I ever wrote one. And so I did.

Memphis has many interesting qualities, but the most interesting to me is the Mississippi River and the waterfront. A slight stretch inland from the waterfront will also encompass the Beale Street district, the next most interesting part of Memphis. I created a location for the purpose of my book. It is a place I would want to have if I lived on the river downtown. It is a believable place, perhaps even a place that did exist at one time. Matt West’s warehouse slash antiquarian book vault slash apartment is a very interesting building. It satisfies in my mind an affinity for the river bluff, old books, old buildings and a rather solitary environment for a somewhat solitary character. From the rooftop he can hear the blues from Beale Street, watch the river boats under the iconic lights of the Memphis Arkansas bridge, and see the sun reflect off the silvery Pyramid Arena.

Memphis is a good base of operations for an ex-Navy officer like Matt’s character. I finished my Navy tour at the Naval Training Command at Millington, Tennessee, just a few miles to the north of Memphis. There are a lot of old sailors (like me) in the area.

It is a good idea to know a place before you start making stuff up about it. That is another reason Memphis was well suited for my story. What isn’t real about Memphis in The Falcon Dirk is at least plausible because it is based on a knowledge of the area. And there is plenty that is real about Memphis in the book.

Memphis makes a good setting for a story. It is a fabric of sights and sounds and smells. Not all of that fabric is clean, not all is attractive, but a good story is sown from a patchwork of fabric. Memphis holds together well. Ole man river just keeps rolling…

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