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As I was working on Love Me Tender, knowing that I couldn’t leave Gale out in the cold, I wrote a scene where Ryan, Mick, and Gale are arguing about whether or not Mick is too paranoid (he is.) In the middle of this argument, Mick is about to say something about one of Gale’s exes and a little inside joke popped into my head. Years ago there was a band I loved called Moxy Fruvous. They had a song called King Of Spain wherein there is a mention of the unspeakable Queen Lisa. On the live album, they pause after the Queen Lisa line and one of the band members says in a menacing voice, “Don’t mention Lisa.” (I told you it was an inside joke. I put most of these things in for my own entertainment because sure as heck nobody else is going to get them.) So I’m writing this scene and Lisa is as good a name as any, plus it allows me to have Gale, who to this point has been affable and even tempered, turn around and growl, “Don’t mention Lisa.”
And there it was. Gale’s mate and their story. As I was finishing Mick and Sarina’s story I tried to figure out who Lisa was and why Gale was still so burned about her. (Spoiler alert: Mick is heavily involved in the breakup.)
This did mean that I needed to know more about the kind of existence Ryan, Mick, and Gale were living before Ryan’s big break. In my internet perusals of Los Angeles neighborhoods I stumbled across Harvard Park and based on Google Earth pictures, it fit the bill, though I modeled it on a neighborhood near where I live. I tutored a kid in that neighborhood for a while and really hated to be there after dark. (After I finished the book, I stumbled across a documentary titled Harvard Park about a couple of baseball greats who came out of the little leagues there and went back later to train baseball players in the park. It filled in some gaps in my knowledge and affirmed the idea that the Harvard Park neighborhood wasn’t so different from the Buchtel area near me. I wouldn’t want to be in either neighborhood after dark.)
And the bad guy gets it in the end. 🙂