Sorry about the delay, friends! Sometimes… stuff happens. Anyhoo, we’re happy to welcome Anne Louise Bannon, author and president of the Sisters in Crime Los Angeles chapter, to her first visit with the Chicks, where she shares her very unique-for-L.A.-situation.
I’M CARLESS IN L.A.
My husband and I don’t own a car. We do live in the greater Los Angeles area, which is all about the car culture. But several years ago – I think it was 2012? 2013? – our last car gave up the ghost and we decided to try doing without as part of our commitment to saving the planet.
It’s worked out pretty well. Most of the time, we walk or use public transportation, wearing masks on the buses and trains in these days of COVID, and, no I’m not going places nearly as often as I used to. Nor have we gotten sick. In fact, our recent COVID tests came back negative.
I’ve found I like using public transportation a lot more than I thought I would. I have bus buddies, including one who’s becoming a very good friend. Walking frees my mind up from thinking about where I’m going to what my next plot line is going to be. I get exercise, too.
In fact, being carless has been really good for my writing. My bus friend and I came up with a really great way to pull off a hit, which will be in my next novel. Walking around Downtown Los Angeles, I found a plaque for the site of one of the hotels in the area, and that became a scene in my latest novel, Death of the Chinese Field Hands. I figured out the exciting ending thanks to a walk to the local store.
I get some amazing photos, such as the image of the Los Angeles City Hall as reflected in the new LAPD building.
We do rent when we need a car, such as when my husband, an amateur wine maker, needs to get grapes. Or when I need to run errands to certain parts of the county. But I’ve gone all the way to Orange County by bus, and it was great. I brought my laptop with me and got a lot of writing done.
Will we buy another car? Possibly. I’m not excited about it. They’re expensive, they require maintenance, and when you have one it’s way too easy to use it instead of walking the five blocks or so to the local market to pick up that extra can of tomatoes.
In fact, I’ve got to head out now and get some groceries and drop some stuff off at the post office. I’ll be walking to the post office, then taking the bus to the store. It’s takes some juggling, but I’m happier being carless, even in L.A.
Readers, what’s your favorite mode of transportation? Car, bus, train, or walking?
BIO: Aside from her tendency to think of weird ways to kill people, Anne Louise Bannon is appallingly normal. Her only real quirk is wearing earrings that don’t match. She is the author of the Freddie and Kathy series, set in the 1920s, the Operation Quickline series of cozy spy novels, and the Old Los Angeles series, featuring Maddie Wilcox, a doctor and winemaker in 1870. Anne and her husband have a dog and three cats. They live in the Los Angeles area, where they make the things most sane people buy. Which would be a quirk, but seems to be increasingly normal these days. You can find more about her at www.annelouisebannon.com.
SYNOPSIS: A night of chaos leads to more murders. It’s October 24, 1871, and violence errupts in Los Angeles. Eighteen Chinese men are lynched by a mob. Physician and winemaker Maddie Wilcox is glad that the three Chinese field hands she employs are safe. Until one is found dead in her vineyard. A distinctive boot print and a bit of jewelry are all Maddie and her friends have to go on, as Maddie continues to battle the usual panoply of injuries and rampant diseases that plague the pueblo. Surrounded by prejudice, daunted by her own limitations, Maddie’s hold on her passions starts slipping. Can she keep her temper in check long enough to find the killer?