A couple of years ago, Y. Correa approached me with about working with her on, Peter Blade, a novel about an infamous serial killer stalking New York City backstreets and alleys. She went over the plot and more important, the legend behind the main character. I was intrigued and jumped into the project. We have both had other commitments and projects/deadlines due, so we have worked on Mr. Blade’s story as best we could. With things getting closer, Y. announced this project to the public while offering great insight into her thoughts and the creative process … and a few more questions for me.
Y: When I was a little girl, my father told me the story of a man he used to know which in the end turned out to be a sadistic murderer.
The story went a little something like this:
“As a kid I was connected to a gang, not a very good one. Because of my connection to it, I met a lot of bad people, but none like V. V had a hard life when he was a kid in Puerto Rico. It eventually drove him crazy and in the end, he became a prostitute killer, living right here in New York. It was a really scary story.“
Of course, my father (bless his heart) was never among the most eloquent of individuals, so in his limited verbiage he’d depict an anecdote that he understood little about. Except to say the unnecessary and violent murder of many women. As the years went on, my father slowly but surely provided me with tidbits of information–what little he knew about it.
The man had been murdered and was never convicted of his crimes, as he was killed long before he was caught and identified.
In 1978 a salsa song was written called “Pedro Navajas” in which salsa artist Ruben Blades (whose last name actually translates into “navajas” in Spanish) talked about a criminal who relished in killing prostitutes.
My father was convinced that this song was the tale of the man he once encountered, as the details in the song were too coincidental. My father swore that his name had been changed, perhaps to hide the man’s identity.
Now, I cannot say for sure that the story my father told was true, let alone accurate, but what I can say is that it left a lasting impression. Every time I heard the song I could vividly picture the occurrences and to this day, it remains that way.
Was it the elaborate mind of a writer at work? Was it that lasting impression that the story left? Perhaps the intrigue of an ominous tale that ended horrifically? Who is to say?
A few years ago I decided to write the story … well, not verbatim, but my fictional interpretation of the same.
It was around that time that I met an amazing horror and dark drama Latino author named A. Lopez Jr.
I said to myself “How cool would it be if two Latino authors joined together to tell the tale? It would be amazing!” And just like that, in came A. Lopez Jr.
A, can you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your side of the story?
A: Hello everyone, my name is Junior, but I write under the name, A. Lopez, Jr. I like to dabble in the horror/thriller/suspense genres, but am very open to writing in all categories and sub-genres. I enjoy the dark and macabre settings I put a reader in with my stories, but I always leave a way to escape, if need be!
I grew up in Texas where sports ruled and I participated heavily and still do to this day, now living in Arizona. A fact you may not know, is I’m an avid chess player. Creativity from all sides can only help…yes?
On the entertainment side, and since I can remember, the horror movies and books seemed to draw my interest. Over time, they became the focus and favorite of any aspiring creative activity. My fascination with the unknown and the shadows lurking in every dark corner has led me to my writing in the horror genre.
I feel that I have a great imagination and am able to create on a whim. But, having a background and interest in the macabre has made my writing bit easier. I love when the ideas flood in so fast, at times, that I have to fight them off (as one of my main characters would) and put them on a shelf where I can grab them as I see fit.
So if you ever find yourself in a dark room and a bit of fear creeps in, think of me, because at that moment I’m sure I’ll be channeling your fear and using it to pen my next chapter!
Y: For the past two years we’ve been trying to complete “Peter Blade” and let me tell you that it has been a challenge. The narrative is highly convoluted and all of it happens in the span of 1 night.
One grim, malefic night of pain and manslaughter.
The story starts at the end, and ends at the beginning, chronicling the saga of a man gone mad and turning to violence as an outlet to his anger. It is a dramatic, profound, intense and labyrinthine depiction.
I’d be lying if I said that I can wait until the completion of the project. I’m actually jumping in my boots to want to finish it.
What say you, A?
A: Since the beginning, we have both looked forward to seeing it through and admiring the finished product. But as life has it, other things jumped in and out of the way – especially our own solo projects. Even with all that, Peter Blade has been stalking me in my mind, just as he does with his victims, giving new life to completing this story and passing it along to our readers.
Y: A, I have a question for you: what were your thoughts and feelings when I approached you about participating on this project with me?
A: When you approached me with this project, I was honored, having read and enjoyed some of your previous works. Once you explained your idea for the story and after reading what had been penned, I was excited to get going and be a part of a fast-paced story like this.
My feelings toward Peter Blade are simple. It is a story with dark violence at times and takes the reader into the mind and soul of a serial killer. This falls right in line with my appetite for creativeness.
Y: A, do you know what I remember?
I remember when we first started. I came up with the character of Sheila, but it was YOU that decided that her character needed expanding. Tell us a little bit about what and why.
A: When I read the very first draft or first installment, the character, Sheila, hit me as a strong-willed, no-nonsense person. I could see the hard life of her past and how it has affected her present state. I also envisioned her as someone who doesn’t give up easily, especially on herself. I felt there was a story to tell about her, and Y. Has been very gracious in allowing Sheila’s story to expand and breathe some life.
Y: A, you also came up with the character of Detective Alvarez. What does this character mean to you and why was it so important to put him in the story?
A: With a story as dynamic as PB, and with it taking place in New York City, the story must have a realistic feel and capture the true essence of the back streets and alleys where much of the action takes place. Writing a story set in an era before electronic technology became prevalent is very intriguing. To get a story like this correct and make it worthwhile for the reader to spend their valuable time reading it, we could not rush it or speed it along to editing and production. This novel has marinated now and it is time to complete it and round it into shape. I have complete faith in Y. and her creativeness and vision. I look forward to reuniting with Peter, Sheila, Detective Alvarez, and all the other characters we can’t tell you about … just yet.
Y: I’ve got to say that I don’t know if I believe that the legend of Pedro Navajas is real or not, but I do know that I think it makes for an amazing adventure. Of course, I don’t think it matters if all of this actually happened or not. I think that the only thing that matters is the justice we do the story once it’s completed.