I’m a political animal. I constantly listen to, watch, or read political news. It’s an especially exciting time as our presidential elections are occurring, but, for me, it is also a frustrating one. The back-and-forth name-calling, accusations, lies, and, frankly, some childish behavior, is an embarrassment for our country, considering these candidates are running for the highest office in the land. During difficult times, personal or otherwise, reading fiction is an escape for me. I can enter make-believe worlds and get to know make-believe people. However, one type of fiction I mostly avoid is the political story. I rarely read political novels, perhaps because the stories can seem too real, too close to reality to allow for escape.
When I was in school, I read the classics, The Last Hurrah, The Ninth Wave, and 1984, all grim stories of the political world. Perhaps that’s when I decided I would avoid this particular genre. More recently I read Atlas Shrugged after perusing a newspaper article that surveyed individuals about their favorite books. The most oft-mentioned title was Atlas Shrugged. Curious, I had to read it to find out why people love this book. I was disappointed. I found it dull and preachy, with paper-thin characters.
So, then . . . Why on earth did I write a novel with political overtones? Hmm. Good question. A few years ago a political scandal was exposed in the city of Bell, California. The electorate of that city was cheated out of funds that should have gone to projects that would benefit the public, but instead were greedily sucked up by the politicians. The story left a bad taste in my mouth and stirred up my anger. I decided to channel my emotions into a story. The politics do not comprise the major storyline of my novel. The theme concerns duplicity, how we all keep secrets, big and small, from those we love or from strangers, and how these secrets can ruin our relationships and even ourselves. Politics seemed like the perfect platform on which to build the plot for my novel. After all, what’s more duplicitous than politics?