Louise Brooks was not in the storyline when I first conceived it and I wanted her to play a role, but what should it be? I read Lulu in Hollywood, Louise's own telling of her life, and Louise Brooks: A Biography by Barry Paris. For those of you who would like to learn more about this beautiful and fascinating woman, I highly recommend both books. They are very well written and chock full of all things Louise Brooks. I also highly recommend you bring up the Louise Brooks Society group page on Facebook and visit the Louise Brooks Society website at www.pandorasbox.com. WARNING: Louise Brooks is addictive!
Then the idea came to me - why not have Louise Brooks play the role of . . . Louise Brooks?
Louise appears in the last three chapters of Book 1 and all the way through Book 2. In real life Louise was an independent thinker who made use of her sharp wit and cutting sense of humor. I cast Louise in The Roaring Road as a catalyst, a person who deliberately or not sets events in motion. In Hollywood, she sets a prank in play that grows and takes on a life of its own. In today's parlance we would say it 'went viral' and the results reverberate through the rest of the story. My main characters Dan and Laure volunteer to be in the prank and their lives are irrevocably altered by it. This makes good and not-so-good things happen, but Dan, Laure and Louise remain friends regardless of what happens. They recognize that they are different but kindred spirits.
When danger looms Louise Brooks doesn't go looking for trouble but if there is something she can do to help her new friends Danny and Laure, she does not sit on the sidelines and she often surprises the professionals on both sides with her abilities and actions. Near the end this results in her capture by the bad guys. I make use of Louise's talents of dancing, acting (she was an amazingly natural actress and it never seemed like she was acting, she simply is the person she portrays) and causing mayhem. Most often in The Roaring Road her talents are all she needs to help Danny and Laure. I have tried to distill what I believe Louise Brooks was like and often when I was thinking of Louise in a scene, I simply asked myself "What would Louise do?"
Louise also adds a sexy spiciness to the story, telling Laure she needs to experience more lovers before thinking about marriage, then asking Danny if he would like to sleep with her. Buster Collier plays a role in the madness that ensues and Louise goes off and marries Eddie Sutherland in July 1926, as she did in real life. It all gets rather tangled up in drama, lust and comedy while danger and mayhem lurks about.
Readers will also find little quips that provide glimpses of Louise later on. In Book 2 there is a mysterious killer messenger boy and Louise mentions that she would like to play in a role as a boy, which she did in Beggars of Life released in 1928. She briefly meets and charms August and Frederick Duesenberg (a red Model X Duesenberg automobile is featured in the storyline) and the brothers jokingly tell Louise she should go to Germany someday to make a movie, which she did in 1929. The book ends in 1926 but there is a follow up in the works.
The Roaring Road will be available on August 28, 2015 in both e-book and print.
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Johann C.M. Laesecke, Author
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