At the beginning of this millennium, I expanded a series of short stories into the Fred books. Jake was in the short stories, but as I fleshed out the story of Living with Fred, I wanted another way into Jake’s story, and Vernon Crowley was born.
In the Texas singer/songwriter tradition there is what I call “the old man” song. I drew my inspiration for Vernon from these two classic songs of the genre.
Desperados Waiting for a Train
A few days after Christmas 2003 I woke up at 3 a.m. and after an hour or so realized I wasn't going to get back to sleep. I sneaked out of bed, into my office, and started writing Living with Fred. I didn't start at the beginning. I wrote the scene where Mark Cloud meets Vernon Crowley.
After a few pages I realized I needed to know a whole lot more about Vernon before I could write him with any degree of authenticity. Months of binge-watching WWII documentaries and devouring a dozen or so books from the library of first-person accounts of the European campaign followed.
I ended up with one of my favorite Fred characters. A few years later I wrote a song of my own, The One That Got Away. It’s the first one in this video.
Who’s your favorite Fred character?