Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Finding the balance

November and the NaNoWriMo of it all forced me to finally put pen to paper- and fingers to keyboard- and start writing the fifth book of The New Pioneers series, The Golden Boy Returns. I've mentioned before that I'm introducing two new major characters (although you'll actually get a glimpse of one in Let's Move On, and another one has a connection to someone you've already met). What I don't think I mentioned is that I'm also introducing a new theme, and that theme is politics.

If you've read The Family You Choose, you know that I also talk about (or at least around) wealth and power. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that appearances and history are not what they seemed to be, at least not to my initial heroine Emily. I promise: all of the questions she- and the readers- have had since The Smartest Girl in the Room will be answered, and then some. As a reader, I appreciate a payoff.

Harrison Gray Otis, a Mayor of Boston and a Senator from Massachusetts- and an early example of corruption in American Politics.
However, I have not forgotten that the anchor relationship of the series- that between Emily and Zainab- got its start in the Student Government Organization of the university they attended. They both left, albeit for very different reasons, but politics was their initial shared interest (even if Emily's was a wee bit compromised by something else).

I've said before that there are pieces of me in all of my characters, and this interest is no exception. Anyone who follows my personal account on Facebook or my standard Twitter feed knows that I am passionate about politics. You've also probably figured that out I'm both deeply cynical and stubbornly optimistic, and my opinions have been known to run directly opposite of "the party line". I bring those orientations into my characters' dealings with politics, I assure you.

As much as I've been an observer of local and national politics since I was a little girl, my research for this book has been fascinating, and it only strengthens the direction I was going in. I'm having a ball writing this, but I'm very aware that while I think politics has always been the trashiest reality show ever, others might not agree. And the earnest citizen in me also knows that while it's incredibly entertaining to read about the powerful getting caught with their pants down, that isn't all of politics. Plenty of people enter that arena because they genuinely want to help, and many of them don't want a spotlight and stay in the background.

But do those people still want power? And if they do, when does it cross a line that compromises their work?

And that, dear readers, is the question, and that's why I'm determined to get this right.