by Meredith Cole
I am not a big gun fan. I don't own a gun, I don't regularly shoot guns, and I really know very little about them. I think there's far too many guns in America, and too many crazy people can get a hold of them too easily.
But I also grew up in the south where people drive around with gun racks on their pick-up trucks, and kids were pulled out of school for the first day of hunting season. Hunting means the difference between a freezer full of food and lean winter months in many households, and it has an added benefit of keeping the deer population down. As a gardener, I'm in favor of anything that keeps the deer population in check.
I also grew up with a gun in the house. I was raised on a farm, and the gun (which I saw only once or twice and still don't know where it's kept) was brought out to deal with such things as rabid animals threatening the safety of people or animals, or a predator that had managed to get inside the hen house or was slaughtering sheep. My peace loving parents preferred to use a have-a-heart trap whenever possible, but I guess they realized early on that some situations needed more deadly measures.
With guns, though, I generally use the same technique to write about them that I do with other things I know very little about: avoid them. That doesn't mean that guns are never in my books, just that they don't play a very large role. And you'll never hear me mouthing off about the technical characteristics of this gun or that. I know that's a sure fire way to get myself in hot water.
Not to change the subject or anything, but The Virginia Festival of the Book is all next week in Charlottesville, and I'll be moderating two panels at Crime Wave on March 23rd. The festival is a lot of fun, and I enjoy having so many talented writers come hang out in my hometown for the week!