As promised, I'm sharing some of the inspiration for Shades of Desire this week. It's something of an interesting story, so everybody sit down, buckle up, make sure your seatbacks and trays are in the upright position, and let's get this party started!
Way back when Louisiana was just swamp, or at least moreso than it is today, the original colonizers, aka the French, were having a time an a half getting people over there, and with good reason. If you went to the city of New Orleans--which pretty much was Louisiana--chances were good you would either die of disease, be killed in an Indian raid, or you'd take a wrong turn, wind up in the swamp and get munched on by a gator.
So, what's a nation with imperialistic leanings to do? Well, if said nation also had a very healthy prison population, the easiest and most efficient way to colonize the city was to offer the inmates a deal. Go to this New World, work, live, yada yada, all as a free individual, or you can sit in the Bastille and rot.
You'd be surprised how many people suddenly felt the urge to find out what a swamp looks like.
Well, this worked for a bit. Kind of. The only problem was the women. Yeah, yeah, it's always got to be something. The problem with sending over a bunch of loose women? They tend to run around. And in the case of the women from France, they tended to run off with the Indians. Hey, I get it. Why hang around with some low life louts in a dirty, disease ridden city, when you can start a new life--again--with some not so savage individuals.
Anyway, this did not make the men happy. It actually made them unproductive as well. Which did not make the King of France happy. Big condundrum, right? The women in prison weren't getting the job done. And no way in heck the nobility was going over under those circumstances.
Enter the merchant class. For the promise of a "respectable" marriage, complete with dowry, middle class families were lured into sending their young daughters to the New World. This totally would have worked, God bless their souls. If the ship hadn't made a stop before New Orleans. There, these gently bred girls were informed of what truly awaited them further down river.
Not one of them felt like continuing the journey. Funny.
So, the big day comes. All the men from New Orleans lucky enough to be picked in the wife lottery are waiting at the docks, hyped up and eager for their blushing brides to disembark. Nothing. Like I said, not one girl made the trek to New Orleans. The men, beyond disappointed, eventually left the dock.
Now, some of you may be thinking--"I have not heard one thing about a vampire. What's the deal here, man?" Hold your water. I'm getting there.
Now, the girls didn't reach their final stop. But their luggage did. And for whatever reason--draw the conclusion you choose--their belongings had been shipped over in long, rectangular wooden boxes bearing a marked similarity to caskets. Hence the nicknames of the girl, even to this day--Casket Girls.
Their luggage sat on the docks. And sat. And sat. And sat some more. Finally, the nuns of the Ursaline Convent took it back to the convent, placing it in the third story attic. The attic that no one is allowed to enter. The attic that for over two centuries has had the shutters opened one time--and in that case, the shutters were kicked off from the inside. When the shutters were replaced, a bishop was flown in from the Vatican to bless the nails.
You get three guesses what a lot of residents of New Orleans say is in those caskets in the attic. And it ain't linens and lace.
Are you creeped out yet? Maybe? Well, I'll save the really nutso stuff for a later date. Next week, we're having a sit-down with one of the newest characters in the Jude Magdalyn series, Detective Rhett Duprees. Make sure to check back.
Happy reading, guys!