Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Patriotism and Literature

There comes a time when an author's perspective on life must be confronted. It usually happens around the same time they realize their work carries certain themes they didn't recognize. For me, it was around the time that I first saw my cover for "Stark Knight." I was totally blown away by how different my vision of the book (Indiana Jones meets Lara Croft) was from what the publisher saw (Sydney Bristow meets Sum of All Fears.)

Looking through some of the other books I've written and ones I'm working on now, I discovered a certain parallel to something that's very important to me and my family: Patriotism.

Now, lately, that word has gotten a bad rap because of all the bickering in Washington these days. It's often used when "nationalism" would work better. I't not, "My country right or wrong" (that's nationalism) it is, "The country I love." Period.

Having kids gives a person perspective on this. I would never say, "My kids, right or wrong." To do so would creat sociopaths. It's "I love my kids." This entails being caretakers of their development--in every aspect. Their mental, physical and spiritual needs.

How does this play into my stories? In nearly every single book I've written, the lead characters are challenged to do what's hardest--the right thing. Often that "right" thing is obscured by temptation, fear, or the heartache of sacrifice. Sometimes all three.

The 'government'--as an entity--in my novel (when it's a player) is never wholly good nor is it wholly evil. Life is too complex for such cardboard charicatures--in real life and in fiction.

In "Stark Knight" the trick is figuring out which people in government can be trusted--and which ones need to be held accountable. Not because America is bad, or corrupt--but because Sara and Drake (and I) love America and, as Patriots, they wish to caretake their country, to protect Americans from those who wish it harm.

I think one of the things I'm most proud of in Stark Knight was that I didn't resort to what has become a steretype in terrorism--Middle Eastern bad guys with big bombs. Instead, I used what is described in intelligence communites, "Watshington's Achilles heel." Congress is still debating what can be done about this very real threat, despite the lack of publicity and attention its received from the media and the American people.

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but epxloring the possibilites in fiction, sharing those possibilities with my readers, is one way (to me) that I can be a true patriot.

Silent Knight, the sequel, ended up having some very difficult eleents. The question of a woman's dominion over her own body (sans the abortions issue, you'll have to read the book to see what I mean ;)) and the conflicts of interest inherent in our healthcare system. Oh, of coure there's all the bad 'shadow' government elements and plenty of bullets flying, explosions and a wonderfully fun to write cold-water diving scene.

In the end, I think that patriotism, or love of country, can come through in an author's work, no matter how angry they are with an administration or the state of affairs they find their country in during any given time.

And, too--it's all so very exciting when the good guys save the day :)


Anonymous said...

Your site is on top of my favourites - Great work I like it.

Anonymous said...

Really amazing! Useful information. All the best.