L. A. Wilson, Jr. was born in Norfolk, VA and grew up on the coastal plains of North Carolina. He is a graduate of North Carolina Central University and Meharry Medical College and currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife and children. He is a member of The Mystery Writers of America and his works have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Night Terrors, The Edge and Detective Mystery Stories.
Was there any particular inspiration for Darktown Strutters? Darktown Strutters is one of a series of short stories featuring Travis "Memphis Red" Redman. Its inspiration was bound to the migration of African Americans from the rural south to northern urban streets during the forties and in particular the thousands of fair-skinned African Americans, like Memphis Red, who sought a route to the American dream through their racial ambiguity.
Do you prefer historical settings for your stories or is Darktown Strutters unique?
I like historical settings, but I really like contemporary mysteries that have obscure links to some distant historical event that can provide an unexpected twist to the plot.
Do you have any ties from the past to New York City during the setting of this story?
I actually have no personal ties to New York City, but it is a fabulous city with a rich history that can make for fascinating fiction for those of us with big imaginations.
When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?
I began writing as an eleven year old. I sent countless stories, handwritten on notebook paper, to Boy's Life and The Saturday Evening Post that undoubtedly ended up in File 13 since the editors never responded. I actually began to seriously pursue writing about seventeen years ago, a little late in life, but still timely enough to enjoy some pleasant rewards.
What is your preferred type of writing?
I am a dedicated short story enthusiast. I prefer mysteries. I am a great lover of murder and mayhem although I have occasionally strayed into the world of science fiction. When I have done so, mystery and crime have been the basis of the plot.
What is the most challenging part of the writing process for you?Editing, rewriting, revising. It never ends. I've never written a story that I didn't feel a need to improve, even after selling it. At some point, I generally decide that such a level of compulsiveness is crazy and just throw in the towel.
What does audio production bring to your story?
Audio production brings the story alive in a manner that's different from reading. Clearly, it is an interpretation of a given work, but it is as valid as a television or movie production. I grew up during the era of great radio dramas which combined the listener's imagination with the actor's interpretation, producing a similar fascinating entertainment vehicle.
Are you working on any stories or possibly a book at the present?
I'm always working on stories. I've got a couple of hundred short stories, some of which I'll tweak periodically. Some will eventually find their way to a publisher, and others will live their lives only on my flash drive. I haven't recently felt the inspiration to begin a novel. I did generate enough uninterrupted zeal a few years ago to create a novella which is currently being considered by a publisher.
RECOGNITIONS AND PUBLICATIONS
The 2012 Shamus Award Nominations (Private Eye Writers of America) for Best PI Short Story includes: "Dancer in a Storm" by L. A. Wilson, Jr. (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Jan/Feb 2011 Issue) -- A Memphis Red Story.
EATERS, short story published in 1994 by The University of Southwest Louisiana Press and won honorable mention at the 1994 Deep South Writers Conference.
METAMORPHOSIS, a novel, semifinalist at the 1995 William Faulkner awards.
JAZREEN, a short story. Semifinalist in the 1996 American Literary Review short fiction contest, published November 1997 in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
THE ALPHA FACTOR, a novella, semifinalist in the 1997 Faulkner awards.
JOSIAH'S RUN, short story, semifinalist in 1998 Faulkner awards.
THE COLD ROOM, short story, published in April 1999 in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
THE DARKEST HEART, short story, published January 1999 in the Edge, Tales of Suspense, Issue #3.
MCKENNA'S LAST STAND, short story, published June 2001 in Night Terrors.
BLOOD ON THE WATER, short story, published July/August 2001 in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
JACKS, short story, published September 2002 in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
THE LESSER EVIL, short story, published July/August 2003 in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
THE ROAD TO MEMPHIS, short story, published January/February 2004 in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
HEART OF THE MATTER, short story, published April 2004 in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
RUNNERS ON THE CORNERS, short story, published May 2004 in Detective Mystery Stories.
BLEEDING HEARTS, short story, published October 2004 in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
DAUPHIN ISLAND, short story, published January/February 2007 in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
GERMAN JOHNSON AND THE LOST HORIZON, short story, published July/August 2007 in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
Published: 4-2012, Mind Wings Audio
Published: 7-2011, Mind Wings Audio
Published: 10-2010, Mind Wings Audio
Published: 8-2009, Mind Wings Audio