THIS IS GETTING TO BE A HABIT.
I've been asked this about a thousand times and I'll just get it over with so we can move on. Jim asks:
Wallace, I have two questions, entirely out of genuine interest and not meant to critique my esteemed "pal". I thought that the inclusion of "Southern Soldiers" into your book's original title was sound on several fronts, but I amicably chided you on your decision to have dropped it, and instead go it alone with the ~MM~ Mexican Mafia.What were your reasons, or whims, on deciding this?
2. "Wally Fay", why did you choose the name Wally Fay? Is there any connection here to the Wally Fay character in the Joan Crawford vehicle "Mildred Pierce" of many years past? We are curious Wally, be a sport and tell. Bunch of us old time vatos here in SanFer, Borrego Valley, "Sylmar Ranch" and Kansas are dyin' to know.
Felice año nuevo to all.
Since you're asking, I used the name Wally Fay because every combination of Tony Rafael was already taken when I started using Blogger and Yahoo. A lot of people got there before me and I got shut out. So as I was casting about for some appropriate handle, I went to a default mode and searched the mental memory banks for something that connected the topic with earlier generations of LA noir writers. To me, the one guy that seemed to catch the spirit of this place better than the rest was James M. Cain. And as I started replaying his books and the movies made from them in my head, one guy popped out -- Jack Carson, to my mind, one of the greatest character actors ever to step in front of a camera. There's one other actor, Vito Scotti who ranks right up there with Carson. But it had to be Carson because he was connected to Cain and bingo -- Wally Fay from Mildred Pierce. "You know me, Mildred. I see an angle and I can't help cutting myself a piece of throat." Perfect. All this took about 30 seconds. And nobody had claimed the handle on Yahoo mail so I grabbed it.
So yeah, Wally from the movie and I wear the handle proudly. Send my your info Jim and you'll get a signed copy. You're the first guy to actually make the connection so you get a prize for being so well rounded.
As to the book, I still think Southern Soldiers is a cooler title but I was overruled. It wasn't my call. Those who spend the money call the shots. The publisher and the distributor thought Southern Soldiers sounded too much like a book about the Civil War. They didn't want to confuse the public and having to explain the title just makes the book harder to sell. It was a purely commercial decision.