If you are a writer, you never know who is looking at your stuff and how they are reacting, but sometimes it leads in unexpected directions.
Here I am a couple of weeks ago, talking about Chesapeake Bay rumrunners at the Rumrunners Weekend Rendezvous, put on by Annapolis Yacht Sales. The 1920s themed event was held at Deale, on the Western Shore and attracted over 200 boat owners. The sponsors asked if I could dress for the occasion, hence the Don Corleone meets Guys and Dolls look. I explained to the audience that I didn’t usually dress that way, but I’m not sure they believed me. This picture was taken at the very beginning when I told them how I first got mixed up with the Prohibition era when writing Master Detective and later the Roaring 20s Mysteries. The Chesapeake Bay has a long history of rumrunning and smuggling due to the miles of waterways coupled with lots of independent types with boats.
One of the great things about giving a talk like this to a bunch of boaters was that everyone was familiar with the nautical terms, types of boats, and bay locations. I flashed a picture of a nondescript automated light in the lower bay and most of them recognized it.
Anyway, writers take note; the sponsors of the event contacted me some months ago and asked me to do a talk about rumrunning because they stumbled on my books and noticed all the Prohibition references. Well, you can’t write about crime in the 1920s without getting into rumrunning any more than you could talk about modern crime without mentioning drugs. As someone once said, “You don’t write a book because you’re an expert; you’re an expert because you wrote a book!” A few people vowed to read my books and a couple asked if I could do the talk again for their group. The lesson is that you never know where your writing will take you or who might notice. (They even gave away one of my books and a bottle of rum as a door prize)
The group pic appeared on Annapolis Yacht Sales Facebook page…more free publicity!