Links Between BACK, New York University and Washington Square.
Above Photo: NYU students pose for graduation photos in Washington Square.
For my novel, BACK, I had to choose a location where my modern-day backpacking students were studying, and I quickly settled on New York University, and, more specifically, NYU Law School.
I did this partly because I really like the area around Washington Square (which is where many NYU and NYU Law buildings are to be found) from my own frequent visits to New York, and also its proximity to Greenwich Village, which is important in the plot of the novel too.
That’s why my backpacker characters are studying at NYU, and they all lived in a law residence in Mercer Street for their first year, before moving to their swanky apartment on Crosby Street (http://peteralanlloyd.com/back-part-1/back-locations-crosby-street-new-york/). Vanderbilt Hall, the powerhouse of the NYU Law Faculty, also gets a mention in BACK.
One student, Brad, an ex-Marine, is studying American History at NYU, which caused a diplomatic spat with a former CIA Case Officer from the Vietnam War, who also advised me on historical aspects of the novel.
He almost coughed up blood at the thought that someone from the military would ever consider studying at NYU, which he saw as a bastion of Liberalism (meant in the US pejorative sense, not the almost complimentary usage of the rest of the world).
That worked for the character, who wouldn’t wish to shirk from a few years of unarmed verbal combat, and whose Marines training becomes critical in Part 2 of the novel, in almost hopeless circumstances. The thought that he might have been put off studying at NYU because it was a bit left wing seemed preposterous.
Finally, I also chose New York and NYU because the characters can easily fly to Singapore from JFK, which takes them ever-closer to the dangers they encounter in the War-ravaged jungles of Asia.
I based some of the protagonists in Grafton, Vermont (http://peteralanlloyd.com/back-part-1/back-locations-grafton-vermont/) which is within easy reach of New York, the relevance of which becomes clear in the novel.
A Link Between the Book’s cover, NYU’s logo and the Statue of Liberty.
Funnily enough, one of the first drafts of the artwork for the BACK book cover included the face of the Statue of Liberty, as a nod to the modern-day story’s New York location, and to the fact that University’s logo is based on Liberty’s torch.
That idea got junked, but I kept the seven rays from her crown in the final version of the Part 1 book cover, although without my mentioning it, nobody would ever know what they were. (You can see them in the image below radiating out from the GI’s helmet).
Our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil. Set in the jungles of Laos and Vietnam, the film deals with the possible fate of US servicemen left behind after the US pulled out of the Vietnam War.
See the trailer for our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil.
For POWs left behind in Laos, see also:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
BACK Parts 1 and 2:
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