Friday, November 30, 2012

politics in my books

Although I think all of my books express a life view which can be thought of as political, I only have a couple where politics is a plot element along with the romance. An example is Sky Daughter which delves into politics and the paranormal.  When I began writing it, I debated whether it would have a real mystical aspect. I could have written the whole story without it. We can do a lot of imagining something is there when it's not. But what about when it is? I liked that approach better and so it became.


The political side to Sky Daughter is when a small, mountain community is being taken over by a fascist type group. Talk radio is the tool to convince the citizens that they are about to be invaded by the United Nations. A local radio personality becomes a dominating influence. The man uses fear of the 'other' presenting himself as their chance for safety as he builds his power.

My demagogue is modeled after those I have heard when traveling through the area where the story is set. While they are simply spouting off on the radio, this guy has a bigger plan. When I listened to the spiel and heard the fear in the callers, an idea for a book began to germinate. I began writing it in 2002. I don't define what year the story is set as this kind of thing has happened again and again in history. I consider the issue, of such ideologues who seek power, to be timeless which is the best way to use political thinking in a romance.

My heroine has come to to her grandfather's mountain home to emotionally recover from a series of losses. For awhile she's oblivious to what is happening and then she begins to see a difference in the people, how they are being influenced to fear the outside world as they are trained to defend their world. The brainwashing techniques use fear and a sense of patriotism to build up their paranoia.

The hero is Jewish, born to a Jewish mother, Puerto Rican father and has seen such abuses in the past but he finds something up in the mountains that he hadn't seen before. Besides the political power grab,  there is a religious aspect as wicca is part of the story. I don't have my witches flying on broomsticks, but they do have a concept of how power can be used. At first my heroine is edgy at what she is learning about her deceased grandmother until she comes to realize the world is not as she thought.

When I wrote this story, I knew the condemnation of right wing political thinking would turn off some readers, but I also knew that the region where I was placing the action was actually seeing some of this-- if not taken as far as I did in the story.

Likely a writer does lose some potential readers when they add a political element which might please some but will turn off others. For me part of writing is being able to project ideas that I believe are part of a healthy life and I like to use my characters and their situations, when possible, to illustrate those truths. The way the heroine learns to combat the unknown is something we can all learn to do-- even when we don't have a monster to combat.


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