The novels I wrote while I lived in Miami were loosely based on the McGee novels. All of MacDonald's McGee novels were based on a color. “The Deep Blue Goodbye: was his first. “The Green Ripper, Lonely Silver Rain and others followed. MacDonald was supposedly working on a “Black” novel in which Travis McGee died. He used that threat in negotiations with his publisher.
My novels started out with my character, originally called Trevor McGee Hamilton being born to Molly Bee, a woman Travis slept with in the “Deep Blue Goodbye.” My first book, with a future segment written a few years after I thought I had completed it, was “One Bloody Alabaster Eye”. The future segment sets the stage for the next few books. I called the second “Deadly Flashes of Silver”. The third novel will be titled “White Gold”. I figured I would use Minerals instead of colors.
Some people in Miami accused me of writing myself into my Trevor Cameron character. My answer was pat, “Nope! My character is younger, stronger, faster, got more money and killed more people that I have.”
I took my 28 foot 1966 Hatteras sport fisherman, the “SeaDueced” to a MacDonald conference to meet John D's son Maynard held at the Bahi Mar resort where one slip is graced with a plaque that proclaimed it as the fictional location of McGee's boat, the “Busted Flush”. I docked my boat there.
One of the events required us to come as one of the characters MacDonald had created for the series. I came as me. When Maynard MacDonald, flown in from his home in New Zealand saw me, he asked who I had come as. I smiled and told him I came as Trevor McGee.
“Who is Trevor McGee?”he asked.
“The son Travis never knew about,” I blithely said. It took less than a week before MacDonald's lawyers were sending me letters demanding I destroy my manuscripts even before the publication of the two I had completed in the series.
I sent the lawyers copies of my manuscripts. Once they read them, they wrote me back told me, “You write just like John D! We are sending copies of these to Maynard” Maynard returned the package unopened.
I never heard from them again. All of my writing is original except for some historical notations. You cannot copy write the name McGee. Or maybe my threat of suing them for child support might have had an effect. Just for safety's sake I changed the name of my character to Trevor Cameron Hamilton and that of his father to Shannon Cameron. My character does speculate that John D. might have met his father Shannon and based the character of Travis on my character's father Shannon. The books were printed and are for sale. If any fan of MacDonald read my books they would see the connection instantly. Both of those books are for sale now at www.shop.freeamerican.com