Apologies for having a rather truncated blog post this week – owing to a kitchen knife injury to a finger requiring stitches I’m a little less ‘keyboard able’ than usual….Although there’s always the craziness of the dreaded ‘P’ word to keep me distracted…and by that, of course, I mean politics.
As a general rule I can’t avoid at least some politics in my writing – history tends to be enmeshed in the politics of the day, but as another general rule I tend to leave out (overtly at least) my own political ideals and opinions in my books (I figure readers don’t want to hear them but would rather immerse themselves in a historical period). But politics shapes indirectly (and sometimes very directly) all the characters in my work – which can be a challenge when many of the political ideas espoused in early 20th century England are an anathema to modern sensibilities. However, I believe that well-crafted characters, placed in an appropriately explained historical situation, help illuminate the politics of an era far more so that a non-fiction history book ever could.
That being said, I’m sure many writers try to avoid injecting obvious ‘politics’ in their novels. No one wants to alienate a sizable portion of their readership after all, and usually a book’s characters can display a range of values and attitudes to encompass contemporary (as well as historical) political thought. It’s hard at the moment, however, to avoid the dreaded ‘P’ word as the current election cycle is on our news 24/7 (or so it seems!).
So I thought I’d check in with the TKZ community to see how you tackle politics in your writing – do you avoid injecting your own political views and opinions in your books? Do you consider a character’s politics during their developmental stage? I find it both interesting and challenging to explore a range of opinions and political/social beliefs when creating my characters, but obviously, as a historical writer, I also have to reflect the times I’m writing about. There are many social issues that were viewed quite differently in Edwardian and WW1 England for instance and I try to respect the era by making sure I encapsulate (as best I can) the mood, politics and social conditions of the time. What about you? what’s your view and experience of the dreaded ‘P’ word in your mysteries (both as a reader and a writer)?