D. E. Johnson, a graduate of Central Michigan University, is a history buff who has been writing fiction since childhood. He comes by his interest in automotive history through his grandfather, who was the vice president of Checker Motors. Johnson's books include The Detroit Electric Scheme, Motor City Shakedown, and Detroit Breakdown.
Johnson's latest novel is Detroit Shuffle, the fourth volume of his Detroit Mysteries.
From his Q & A at the Michigan 101 blog:
Out of all the topics and eras about which you could have written, why did you choose early-twentieth-century Detroit? What was it about the city and the auto industry that inspired you?Visit D.E. Johnson's website and blog.
The biggest draw to me is the early 20th century. It was such an explosive time in this country. We were coming of age as a world power, immigrants were flooding in by the millions, completely changing the social dynamic of the cities, the rich were incredibly wealthy and the poor were incredibly poor, and all this was held in the most tenuous balance. It was a time of turmoil in almost every way imaginable, which makes it an interesting time to write about.
I chose Detroit because it's a city that has always fascinated me. During my entire lifetime, it's been in decline. I was never able to experience the greatness and vitality of the city as it was, and I wanted to try to recreate that city, both for myself and for readers.
As far as the cars are concerned, that was really secondary. When I started researching 'The Detroit Electric Scheme' [the first book in the series], I was looking for a historical backdrop that was interesting and was representative of the city during the time period. Cars of course were a topic that came to mind, so I started there. When I came across all the information about ...[read on]
Read D.E. “Dan” Johnson's interview with J. Kingston Pierce at The Rap Sheet.
The Page 69 Test: Motor City Shakedown.
Writers Read: D.E. Johnson (September 2012).
The Page 69 Test: Detroit Breakdown.
My Book, The Movie: Detroit Breakdown.
The Page 69 Test: Detroit Shuffle.