Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Larry D. Sweazy's "A Thousand Falling Crows"

Larry D. Sweazy's novels include Escape from Hangtown, See Also Murder: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery, Vengeance at Sundown, The Gila Wars, The Coyote Tracker, The Devil's Bones, The Cougar's Prey, The Badger's Revenge, The Scorpion Trail, and The Rattlesnake Season. He won the WWA (Western Writers of America) Spur award for Best Short Fiction in 2005 and for Best Paperback Original in 2013. He also won the 2011 and 2012 Will Rogers Medallion Award for Western Fiction for books the Josiah Wolfe series. He was nominated for a Derringer award in 2007 (for the short story "See Also Murder"), and was a finalist in the Best Books of Indiana literary competition in 2010. Sweazy was awarded the Best Books in Indiana in 2011 for The Scorpion Trail. And in 2013, he received the inaugural Elmer Kelton Fiction Book of the Year for The Coyote Tracker, presented by the AWA (Academy of Western Artists). Sweazy has published over sixty nonfiction articles and short stories, which have appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine; The Adventure of the Missing Detective: And 25 of the Year's Finest Crime and Mystery Stories!; Boys' Life; Hardboiled; Amazon Shorts, and several other publications and anthologies.

Here Sweazy dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, A Thousand Falling Crows:
A man in his mid-sixties who loses his right arm, and yes, he’s right-handed, in a shootout with Bonnie and Clyde might be a hard sell in Hollywood these days. My books tend to be more character-driven than plot-driven, and if there’s an explosion of any kind, it’s because it’s necessary, not for effect.

What makes this book an even bigger challenge is that a large part of the cast is Hispanic, Mexicans in 1933 Texas. I really think a grumbly Nick Nolte would make a great Sonny Burton, the Texas Ranger who faces down the famous duo and suffers the consequences of the encounter. Sonny wrestles with his own mortality, with depression, anger bordering on rage, and then finds a reason to keep living by helping a friend find his missing daughter. It’s a challenging journey for Sonny. I think it would be the perfect role for Nolte, who I have been a fan of since watching the original miniseries, Rich Man, Poor Man on television more years ago than I want to count.

I think the role of Aldo Hernandez, a janitor who asks Sonny to help him find his missing daughter, would be a natural fit for Benicio de Toro, even though when I was writing the novel I saw the character as a little older. His daughter, Carmen, might be a challenge and a game changer for someone like Selena Gomez if she were interested in tackling a tough acting role. She would have to balance the love/hate relationship with the Clever Clever Boys, Eddie and Tió, the twins she runs off with, along with her own fears about life, religion, and growing up in the Great Depression. I’m at a loss for Eddie and Tió. Those role would be a challenge for a casting director, but I hope a great unknown would walk in and make them the role of a lifetime.

This is a fun exercise. I never try to cast my characters when I am writing my books, though I usually have a clear vision of them and ultimately of the production values in the movie in my mind. I could see this as a black and white movie as I was influenced heavily by the photographs of Dorothea Lange. The faces she captured in the Dust Bowl, during the Great Depression, are truly the faces of A Thousand Falling Crows.
Learn more about the book and author at Larry D. Sweazy's website and blog.

Coffee with a Canine: Larry D. Sweazy & Brodi and Sunny (April 2013).

The Page 69 Test: A Thousand Falling Crows.

Writers Read: Larry D. Sweazy.

--Marshal Zeringue