Friday, June 28, 2024

Q&A with John Copenhaver

From my Q&A with John Copenhaver, author of Hall of Mirrors: A Novel:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

Images often make great titles. Before I began outlining the story, I knew I would call the novel Hall of Mirrors because it’s evocative, and I like the metaphorical image it conjured in the reader’s mind. It’s about doubles and identity. My bad girl/good teen duo, Judy and Philippa, from the first book, The Savage Kind, return, but now it’s 1954, and Washington, DC, is fully consumed with post-WWII paranoia.

Enter Lionel and Roger, who serve as foils for Judy and Philippa. They are a mixed-race gay couple who write under the pseudonym of Ray Kane, a hardboiled, straight mystery author persona, one of the girls’ favorite authors. After Roger is fired from his day job at the State Department for being gay, which was part of an actual initiative carried out by the federal government called the Lavender Scare, he dies in a suspicious fire. The cops deem it a suicide, but Lionel suspects foul play.

Both Judy and Philippa and Roger and Lionel represent mixed-race same-sex couples, so they serve as reflections of one another. But like any funhouse hall of mirrors, there’s distortion. Are they who they seem? Are there good and bad reasons for deceiving others about your identity?

Mirror images and doubles are also a trope in classic film noir. I reference the final scene from The Lady from Shanghai because it was an incredible...[read on]
Visit John Copenhaver's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Savage Kind.

My Book, The Movie: The Savage Kind.

Q&A with John Copenhaver.

--Marshal Zeringue