When We Are Called To Rise author Laura McBride went to the fading Riviera to watch a lounge act before the iconic hotel was imploded, she didn’t see a Strip property in decline. Instead, she took inspiration from the setting and decided that the story for her in-progress manuscript needed to take place in a Las Vegas nightclub. McBride returned to the venue several times, which led her to scrap what she had been working on, bring together several characters she had considered for different books and begin developing what would become ’Round Midnight (Touchstone Books, $26), which was released May 2.
The local author’s latest effort focuses on four women whose paths cross over the span of 60 years. June and her husband own El Capitan, the casino that holds the Midnight Room club, where the books’ characters meet. While Honorata hits a jackpot there, Coral and Engracia struggle with an identity crisis and overwhelming grief, respectively, throughout the novel.
“My early drafts of the book included these metaphors about place and time,” says McBride. “I took them out because they weren’t necessary to the story. When someone suggested we call it the Midnight Room, I launched on that because there is a merging of time and place in those two words.”
While both of Laura McBride’s novels take place in Las Vegas, they are radically different books. McBride attributes these differences to point of view. “It’s funny because I don’t think of the books as similar at all,” says McBride. “My first book was written in four first-person voices and all the action takes place over eight months. It felt like a different kind of story than ’Round Midnight.”
One of McBride’s favorite aspects of being an author is seeing how locals interpret her books. “Sometimes people approach me or these books as if I’ve written them to send a message, and I haven’t,” says McBride. “For me, a novel is a form of entertainment. My books might not exactly be beach reads, but my intention always is for the readers to have a great experience.”
McBride has plans for a third novel but won’t start writing until after her book launch and tour, because her writing process requires intense focus. The author’s cross-country journey is bringing her to The Writer’s Block in Downtown Las Vegas on May 4.
Laura McBride: Reading and Book Signing
May 4, 7 p.m., The Writer’s Block, 1020 Fremont St., thewritersblock.org