As you know, I’ve had ambitious plans for a podcast of a short story set in Cuba. The Angel’s Share is another Inspector Ramirez story: a prequel, this time, set in a rum factory in Santa Clara del Norte. My idea was to match a photo montage of Cuban pictures to the beautifully narrated voice-over of Thelma Farmer.
To do this, of course, required help, and volunteers. Thelma took on the narration and managed to get a sound engineer, Jeff Schade, to handle the technical side of things; they did an amazing job. And then an Ottawa video producer offered to help out with the photographs. Pete Patterson managed to line up a number of photographers from Flickr who agreed to let us use their photos of Cuban, including an incredible Vancouver photographer, Robin Thom, who has thousands.
I spent weeks going through Robin’s shots, selecting hundreds of of photographs and matching them to episodes, but there were gaps left that we needed to figure out. (Robin, by the way, is fantastic — he’s not only a great photographer but a very nice person, who has stood on his head to help me get this project finished. Huge kudos!)
Two years into this project, it still isn’t completed, but my daughter, Jade, is taking it on, and I’m thrilled. We watched the rough cut of Episode One of The Angel’s Share last night, and she totally gets it.
The work that’s left will be time consuming, but I think it will be pretty cool when it’s all done.
We’re still missing some important photographs. A Cuban autopsy room, or even a Cuban hospital room, are not photographs all that easy to come by, believe me–nor are photographs of sailing ships like the one sailed by Lord Nelson, which is part of the plot– and we are always looking for photographs of Cuban police and Santeria. There’s a reference to the Boston molasses explosion that’s been a bit of a challenge to find pictures to carry the action. Finding shots of home interiors in Cuba is never easy either, since most tourists don’t go inside. And it’s never easy to come up with photographs to portray Ramirez’s ghosts :-).
But all that said, I’m confident we’re on the right path. The third book in the Inspector Ramirez series, Hungry Ghosts, will be out next June. We hope to get these episodes of The Angel’s Share out in the spring as a lead-up to the new book. If you have photographs that might be helpful, let me know!