What current issues are important to you?
Today’s Round Robin topic is what current social and global issues are important to me and do they show up in my writing. There are a number of current issues that I feel very passionate about. But, as a writer, knowing that more than half my audience is probably in the other camp on any given issue, I try very hard to keep that passion off my social media and out of my books. If I didn’t care so much about those issues that really touch home, it would be easy to take a middle ground approach, but more often than not, because I do care passionately, keeping my opinions to myself is the only way to avoid alienating half my readers. I do love a getting involved in a debate with people who take the time to understand the issues and who are able to weigh all sides of the argument, but far too often today people are driven by the media, have done little or no real reading or research and don’t really understand the ramifications of their own views never mind, keeping their mind open to the possibility that they might be wrong or that the opposing view might have some legitimate points to be considered. And in the social media of the internet, not much thoughtful debate takes place, so I do my best to stay out of it.
That said, there are a number of issues I feel deserve serious thought: Immigration, the economy, unsustainable debt and entitlements, the threat of terrorism, and a political process that has begun to fail the promise this country began with, thrived and grew strong on. But what most distresses me today is the disintegration of the moral fabric of our society. Every time there is another horrific shooting, the media goes crazy with talk of gun control, completely ignoring such facts as the city with the toughest gun control laws in our country has the highest gun death rate. Clearly gun control does not work there and it seems to clear to me that making new laws that will be kept only by people who aren’t about to commit a crime anyway is not going to change anything yet the clamor to create these new laws completely overshadows all the other aspects of what is driving this problem. When I was growing up everyone in my neighborhood (and I didn’t live in Texas) had a gun of some kind. Just about every man had been in uniform in WWII and some of them surely were suffering from PTSD. We had our neighborhood bully and kids had far less supervision out of school than they do now. There were killings now and then, but nothing like what we are experiencing today. So what has changed? That’s what I wish people would start getting serious about. Personally, I feel that a lack of discipline and respect is a big factor. The notoriety a disgruntled person can gain from perpetrating mayhem via the media circus is certainly another aspect. Maybe violent video games and movies and TV are partly to blame. Maybe we don’t have the right approach to mental illness. Maybe, as a society, we have turned so far away from God and having any kind of moral compass in our lives that evil has mushroomed. And just maybe it’s partly due to having created a populace that has come to expect certain entitlements. Instead of the work ethic of 50 or 100 years ago, far too many people grow up feeling like they are owed something they don’t have to work for and when they don’t get it someone somewhere is to blame. And someone needs to pay. Our country was founded on the principle of life, liberty and the “pursuit” of happiness - but not the guarantee of anything we weren’t willing to work for.
But do I put this passion into my novels? Sometimes. My first book, Whatever It Takes, includes a peek at some of the issues of our day and I was pretty even handed in my treatment of them. It is mainstream fiction: Blurb: The photo caught Matt Steele off guard, jerking him back to a time he’d done everything to forget, to emotions he never wanted to relive. In the midst of a hotly contested three-way race for the White House, the photo and the man who brought it will challenge everything Matt thought he knew about himself. The choice he faces to put honor on the line could change the outcome of the election and the fate of a nation. Considering the background is a presidential election, it was imperative to include some of the major issues of our day, from gay lifestyles, to immigration, to the economy and the US at war.
In my Camerons of Tide’s Way series, which is contemporary romance, the social issues are not as prominent, but they do appear. In Loving Meg, my heroine is a female Marine returning from a year in a combat zone, struggling with the issues so many of our veterans experience. Similar issues facing our military men and women is a major theme in the current book in progress, this time a career Marine who has been injured and is facing the possible loss of his career and the only life he’s known as an adult. While not as divisive as gun control or immigration, our veterans and the way we support and care for them is one of the issues I am passionate about. So much so that 50% of my proceeds from Loving Meg goes to a non-profit (K-9s for Warriors in Ponte Vedra, FL) that provides service dogs to veterans who are struggling with their re-entry into civilian life.
Maybe someday I’ll get brave, or really fired up and tackle a major social issue in a major way in a novel. But for now, amidst the turmoil of our times, most people read fiction to escape and readers want the good guys to win, so I’ll continue to write happy-ever-after stories and try to avoid writing about issues that divide us as a nation instead of uniting us.
Take a hop on over to some of these other blogs to see how other authors feel about the social issues of our day and how they handle the inclusion of them in their writing.
A.J. Maguire http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Margaret Fieland http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/
Marci Baun http://marcibaun.com/blog/
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.webs.com/
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Bob Rich http://wp.me/p3Xihq-vQ
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Helena Fairfax http://helenafairfax.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/