Saturday, 21 January 2017

Writing Ahead

Dark Network and Faithless Elector examine and distill an important moment
I am finishing work on Dark Network, the sequel to Faithless Elector.

Working on the draft has had a strange Sliding Doors/alternate universe feel as I near writing the end of book two because the events are taking place RIGHT NOW! Or rather, the dates coincide.

In fact, I find that I am now behind for the first time since I started writing this series. In the world of the book Dark Network it's January 17, 2017; whereas as I write this post, it's January 21, and Donald J Trump is president of the United States.
Faithless Elector was published in March, 2016, and it rode a wave of enthusiasm and interest right up to the true election, the Electoral College vote on December 19. Sales remain good, but they have cooled.

Until this week, when the dates I was writing about fell behind reality, I felt a little like I was writing SciFi. I was editing Faithless Elector in the winter of 2015-16, too early to include real-life candidates and events.   The events were in the future (albeit the immediate future).

I regard the non-specifics as a strength.  The books examine and distill an important point in time, speak to the issues of that time: a hostile, suspicious, divided electorate; eroding trust in institutions and norms; the sclerotic power of elites.

They are works of fiction, novels. Novels are not reporting. The book I wrote and the one I am finishing were never meant to be prophecy, and they certainly weren't meant as polemics.  It is worth noting, however, how much of the fictional plot came into play in the real world:  fake news, vote-rigging allegations, a shadow power ruthlessly, secretly attempting to manipulate the process to their own ends all play a part.

I've blogged earlier here and here about the enduring themes of literature and what I take to be the true business of writing:  telling a good story, creating a believable world in which character is revealed through action.  The immediacy of the stories, then, is not disposable "ripped from the headlines" reportage, not after-the-fact diagnosis, nor snooty punditry.

They are thrillers.

And though the books are set against powerful, inscrutable forces, the message is that people--ordinary people--still care, and can still make a difference.

I've been pleased by the reactions and overwhelmingly positive reviews for Faithless Elector. It's been quite a journey, and I am hopeful it is not near ending.

 James McCrone is the author of Faithless Elector, a suspense-thriller, that
Publishers Weekly calls a “fast-moving topical thriller.”  Its “surprising twists add up to a highly suspenseful read.” The sequel, Dark Network, is coming soon.

Faithless Elector, by James McCrone is available through Amazon.
If you live in Philadelphia, pick up a copy at Head House Books -or- Penn Book Center

NOTE: Charles Johnson has recently published The Way of the Writer: Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling.  Check it out!

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