Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Eagerly Awaiting New John Hart Novel

It has been more than three years since John Hart released his last novel, Iron House. His new one is due out soon. How soon? That's where the mystery exists. It is coming out in 2015, but no release date has been announced. I promise that I will be one of the first in line to buy a copy.

Hart is a brilliant author. Those who have read my blog know I hold John in high regard. I am rereading his The Last Child, which won the Edgar Award for the year's best mystery. Hart is a nice blueprint for a new author to follow. He nails character, plot, pace, tension. He is one of the few popular authors I know who delivers great opening lines, which was one of the key points made by noted literary agent Don Maass during his workshop I attended a couple of years ago. Very few popular authors have first lines hat pop. They don't have to. John doesn't need to, either, but he still delivers. The reader in me appreciates that.

I could go on, but I want to get back to reading The Last Child. And I will keep my eye open for that release date. Too bad it isn't being released early enough for my Christmas wish list. Maybe later, John. Thanks for giving us literature worth savoring.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Authors as God? That's an overstatement

I wrote in one of my earliest blogs that being an author was somewhat like being God. An author creates characters and situations, and is the great string-puller. The longer I live and write, though, I think my point reached too far. Humans are every bit as capable of doing things that keep other humans dancing like a puppet.

Think about the harsh words spoken to others. Certain series of words can drain the energy and emotion from a person or people, and it can even spark depression or another harmful state. A person with control over workers can shuttle one of his or her underlings into another position without any consultation. That move can even threaten that person's ability to hold a job. Managers and union members negotiate deals that can contain certain toxic results for those covered by that contract. A manager can be nice one minute, then turn around and rip an employee a few hours or minutes later.

You see, humans have that power. Many exercise it, and they don't care about the effects. That lack of empathy separates humans from God, by the way. God cares about his underlings. A human being doesn't have to, and in some circles it is advantageous if he or she doesn't.

So, I take back my earlier point, and I try to infuse my characters and situations with that knowledge. I guess that's part of learning to be a better writer. Of course, my situations are fiction, and my characters are imaginary. That separates me from the truly harmful ones among us.