First to rise from the ashes

The 1906 San Francisco earthquake is one of the hooks that led me to write the novel Cakewalk: an historical novel about the unsung creators of jazz music.
As I mentioned in my first book signing at Marcus Books exactly one year ago, it was quite compelling to learn that an African-American Pullman porter had built one of the first buildings reconstructed after the quake.
That tells one a lot about Louis Purcell and Sam King, the dominant figures in Cakewalk.
For five years before the quake, they had gradually become the most important entertainment enterpreneurs in the International District, as the waterfront area was known.
After the quake, Purcells became nationally known as the home of the “animal dances” such as the turkey trot, Texas tommy and grizzly bear.
James Reese Europe, among others, credited Purcells with the origin of those dances.
I won’t spoil the story with more details, but those who have enjoyed Cakewalk for the past year will swear that it is a very good read.

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