Broadcast veteran Gray Basnight is now making his mark in print. His first book, The Cop with the Pink Pistol by Ransom Note Press, hit the shelves (and the Internet) last week. The murder mystery centers around NYPD homicide detective Donna Prima.
For Basnight, this novel wasn’t based on reality. He points out that the Donna Prima character is based purely on imagination and fantasy.
“Most of it was just having a lot of fun with different things, and different lines I’ve had,” Basnight tells FishbowlNY.
Basnight, who was among more than 100 staffers laid off at Bloomberg Radio/WBBR in 2009, for a time put an exclusive focus on his writing. During that interval, he began to submerge himself with the idea for a historical novel. However, the words didn’t jump onto the page, as Basnight struggled to complete the manuscript.
“I knew that all writers just have to move on,” Basnight admits. “It occurred to me to try to write a detective novel.”
In an effort to make the book standout, Basnight went for proven detective formulas.
“I’m going to go back to the original sources of the best writing, and read them again,” Basnight says. “So I reread Conan Doyle and I reread Ian Fleming… It occurred to me to take the James Bond character and cast it as a New Yorker.”
Basnight took it one step further with his protagonist.
“What if I were to take James Bond’s libido and put it into a New York female Italian police officer?” Basnight asks. “Maybe that’s something that would be commercially viable.”
Being “commercially viable” for a movie version, however, is a completely different “story.”
“From your lips to Gods ears,” Basnight jokes.
But, Basnight believes the book would translate well into a screenplay.
“I think it would be a worthwhile release for somebody to take a look at in those terms,” Basnight says. “I don’t know how those decisions are made.”
After taking six months to write the original draft, and three additional months of rewrites, Basnight is pleased with how the book and his lead character developed. Plans are in the works for at least one more installment in the Pink Pistol series.
For now, the publisher has already ordered a second printing. Basnight says that is connected to the book generating some positive buzz.
Basnight has several manuscripts in the works, including the aforementioned historical novel about the Civil War.
He has since returned to radio on a freelance basis, as a news writer at WEMP.
“It’s been a great experience,” Basnight says. “I feel lucky sometimes just to have a book that’s actually going to be published on dead trees.”