For our January Blog Hop, the question is:
How are you dealing with the COVID pandemic in your contemporary novels/short stories? Not as a political statement or polarizing pro/con mask stance, but the way the COVD virus effects the day-to-day lives of your characters and appears within the story’s plot line?
Since I haven’t missed a Round Robin Blog Hop post to date and didn’t want to start now, I’m here, but it’ll be short. Because I haven’t included Covid-19 in my stories. Partly this is due to the fact I’d already begun work on book two in my mystery series and the plot didn’t lend itself to including this monkey wrench in life. Partly because I was also plotting book 7 in my romance series and I think it would add a tremendous challenge to create a love story with all the isolation, masks and standing 6 feet apart going on.
But there’s another reason I chose not to include this in my newest effort. One of my best stories ever, a book that eventually won the Silver award in the Royal Palm Literary Awards a few years ago, was set in the early 1970s and a good portion of the conflict involved a Marine returning from Vietnam. I pitched it to an editor some years earlier and she loved the story and the characters but thought the Vietnam era would be a non-starter and she wanted me to move it up to the current wars in the Middle East. (I picture the woman wearing beads, flowers in her hair, protesting the war back in the day.) Anyway, as I pointed out to her, today we don’t treat our returning soldiers as disgracefully as we did in the 70s. I couldn’t just change the war without changing much of the book or the hero’s conflicts. Another editor who liked the book, the premise and the characters, felt that focusing on that war would date the book.
I have a feeling including Covid-19 with all the restrictions and fallout from the pandemic would meet a similar stone wall. Has anyone read and enjoyed a book set during the Flu pandemic of 1918-1919 that ended up killing over 50 million people world-wide? I certainly haven’t even though I do enjoy books set in historical times and even during earlier wartimes. Living with this pandemic as a part of our every-day life is troubling enough, and don’t we, in part, read to escape the same old, same old of daily life? So, I have chosen to ignore Covid-19 in my stories. Some of my books have had to fit into a timeline, but the ones I am currently writing do not so I’ve chosen not to anchor them to the troubling years of this pandemic.
But other authors probably have very different feelings about this so, why not drop in and see how they have dealt with the issue?
Dr. Bob Rich