18 April 2015
P is for Politics and POV
I begin the Morristown Murder Mystery series in 2007, the year Barack Obama is avidly campaigning for president. This plops my mostly liberal book characters smack into the middle of conservative rural Colorado the year before the Democratic party comes into power in Washington. That scenario creates a lot of tension, controversy, and misunderstanding in my story. I witnessed this local shake-up first-hand as I had also recently moved to a small rural community.
Writing eight years after-the-fact opened up some serious plotting opportunities. It's almost as though I have a crystal ball into the future, because I've already lived through some interesting changes in American society. On the one hand, the events are fairly fresh in my memory. On the other hand, I can still imagine my characters making decisions and acting in ways that made sense back then, even though facts might later change their points of view. This time-frame gives me tremendous writing flexibility.
For example, I never consciously planned to include characters strongly impacted by the Middle East wars. As the writing progresses, at least four of them are directly or indirectly affected by the military or personal experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Many of my point-of-view changes occur because they make sense for the characters. As I mentioned in a previous post, my main character, J. Lindsay Calhoun, isn't quite the liberal I thought he would be. As he shows his libertarian leanings, he'll prove to be the bridge between opposing views over the course of several books. The times, and changes in politics, will impact all the protagonists and antagonists, and perhaps create more opportunity for murder and mayhem.