Monday, May 3, 2021

Pandemic, What Pandemic?

 Q: We are living in interesting times. How has the social unrest and societal perception shifts changed your work?

-from Susan


I’m old enough to say I have been alive for more than one interesting time, and that whatever’s going on sort of drifts into my work like smoke under a closed door. My protagonists try to see people as individuals, even if a few are individual villains. I’m not above writing a bad cop (MIXED UP WITH MURDER) or a tone-deaf me-firster (LOVE & DEATH IN BURGUNDY). Before I realized I had work to do on my own perceptions, I created a Black woman nicknamed Teeni for my Dani series (MURDER IN THE ABSTRACT). She is smart, well-educated, ambitious, and a work friend of Dani’s. I didn’t do too badly, I guess, because I was invited to speak to a book club of smart, well-educated, ambitious Black women and they thought she was pretty great. 


As to today’s horrific, staggering, tragic environment, I have to steel myself to read the daily stories of Black men, women, and children being shot to death by a cadre of uniformed police officers who (unlike most cops, I know) seem to have been transported from earlier, vicious times. I don’t write crime fiction dark enough to permit characters who behave half as ugly as some of the the real life people I read about. 


A few of us were talking about whether or not we intended to write this pandemic, even a smidgeon of it, into our current books. I’m not. I’m going to give myself and my readers the luxury of escaping reality for the time they spend with this book. We need a break as a reward for wearing masks, washing hands twenty times a day, and staying six feet away from the people we love the most for over a year.

Check out the American music producer in LOVE & DEATH. 




Dietrich Kalteis said...

I'm with you there, Susan. Give readers the luxury of escaping present-day reality, at least for the time they spend with a book.

Rick Homan said...

I'm not including it. It wouldn't be integral to my story.

Josh Stallings said...

The Image of the world slipping in under the door like smoke is spot perfect. As for the Pandemic, I’m too selfish to spend a year living in as writer. Maybe a short story some day.