Don's Blog: Clay Bertrand character in Early Novel

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Thursday, August 12, 2021

Clay Bertrand character in Early Novel

 A number of people who have read one of my early novels, I Lost It At The Beginning, have asked about the Clay Bertrand character in that novel. Specifically, how the character relates to the real-life Clay Shaw.

The passages were written during the spring and summer of 1994, at a time when I was toying with the idea of a full biography of Clay Shaw. My interest in that biography ultimately resulted, in 2013, in Man of a Million Fragments: The True Story of Clay Shaw, the most complete biography of Shaw ever written.

Since the novel was based in Louisiana, in an unspecified location some distance away from New Orleans, I got the idea of working the mysterious Clay Bertrand character into the fabric of the story. I never intended that the character represented the real-life Clay Shaw, but I did make him look like Shaw (in contrast to Dean Andrews's ever-shifting descriptions of Bertrand), and kept much of the elusiveness of the idea of Bertrand. I thought the ide came across well, and was very neatly integrated into the larger story.


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