The other day, I saw a post on Facebook where an author asked if anyone else in the group happened to refer to Covid in their current work. The responses ran the gamut from “Of course, it makes it timely” to “Hell no!”. The discussion was interesting for several reasons: the thought processes of different writers on why they have or have not referred to Covid, the way the thread managed to avoid politics (on the whole), to how those who have referred to it have wound it into their various genres. It got me to thinking about my own writing and books I’ve been reading and how authors do sometimes pull in current events to add “flavor” to their work.
I’ll be honest. I haven’t read anything that refers directly to Covid-19 yet but I know it’s out there. I’ve seen a couple of books advertised on FB that reference it. Those ads brought me up short when I’ve seen them. Not so much because of the use of Covid as a plot device but because my first thought was “Nope, not gonna read it.”.
And that is something I’d worry about as an author if I was writing a book about a pandemic of any sort right now. My knee-jerk reaction basically came down to being tired of the restrictions, tired of the scolding (from both sides) over masks, tired of the politicization of the issue, etc. Why would I want to read fiction, which is my escape, that focuses on something that has had such a huge impact on my life this past year plus? (Especially if that fiction is depressing.)
It’s funny. I don’t mind reading about the bad guys using bioterrorism against the good guys. I love John Ringo’s Black Tide Rising series. In my Honor & Duty series, the bad guys have a biotoxin that is potentially a planet killer. I have no issue with writing–or reading–about such things. I just don’t want to have it called “Covid”.
That’s my knee-jerk reaction. My step-back-and-think-about-it reaction is to wonder how well it would age. The book might resonate today with readers but what about a year down the road? Two years? Five years? Will readers understand the panic Covid caused or the reaction (or over-reaction) of the government? Or will it simply age the book so that it won’t have legs as time passes?
This is something writers wanting to go the traditional route have to consider given how long it takes to go from writing the book to getting an agent to shopping the book around to publication. As indies, we don’t have to worry about that aging factor right off the bat, but it is still something we need to look at long-term. At least we do if we want our books to continue selling down the road.
So, do you want to read books that use the current Covid situation as a plot device? I’m really interested in what your thoughts are on the matter.
Now, onto the business end of being a writer. Victory from Ashes (Honor & Duty 7) comes out Sept. 21.
War is hell. No battle plan survives the opening salvo. When the enemy is set on the total destruction of your homeworld, how far will you go to protect it and those you love?
This war has already cost Col. Ashlyn Shaw too much. She has lost friends and family to an enemy that doesn’t know the meaning of honor. Marines under her command have died doing their duty. Her enemies at home conspired and brought her up on charges, sending her and members of her command to the Tarsus military penal colony. But they didn’t win then and she won’t let them win now. She is a Marine, a Devil Dog, and they can’t take that away from her.
Ashlyn is determined to do all she can to protect her homeworld and end the war. She will lead her Marines against the enemy, knowing that if they fail, Fuercon will fall. But will it be enough and will those who have conspired behind the scenes to destroy her and all she stands for finally be brought to justice?
Duty and honor. Corps and family. That is what matters. It is all that matters.
Now it’s time to get back to work. Until later!