Guest Post by Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross

{The below guest post was written by Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross, authors of the book “Mother”. The contents of the post have not been altered by us in any way (all the words are purely theirs and do not hold our personal views) except for the size of the title.}

Writing and Politics

In our new thriller, MOTHER, we gleefully explore an entire neighborhood full of disparate personalities with an eye toward seeing how they all get along. There are persons of every stripe living on Morning Glory Circle – where MOTHER takes place – and we were eager to see how they mixed. As things got tougher, would they form factions? Would there be “us versus them” issues? Who would become obnoxious? Who would compromise? The answers often surprised us and we came away seeing that some people can get along with just about anyone – and others can’t even agree with people on “their side.” Just like it is in the real world.

One of the most enjoyable things about writing this novel was the difference of opinions among the characters, especially when it came to politics and lifestyle choices. But outside of our novels, we avoid such delicate subjects, and for good reason.

Right now, it’s very hard to not get drawn into politics. It’s everywhere on social media and while we have opinions, we don’t give them because, as fiction writers, it is not our field of expertise, nor is it good for business. We don’t talk about religion either, for exactly the same reasons. Our business is exploring individual characters, not the national news.

The characters in our books are free to talk about politics and religion all they want, but our characters have minds of their own and many disagree with our own private opinions. We’re cool with that. In MOTHER, you will find liberals, conservatives, and abstainers, just as you will find pious priests, spiritual atheists, Tea Party Christians, LGBTs, straights, and lovers and haters of every stripe. As fiction writers, we must learn to see such topics from varying points of view, and to be honest, we love exploring how other people think. Whether we agree or disagree, it’s a learning experience. It’s what drives us to write. But we simply choose not to bring the hostile environment of politics into our personal lives and social pages. There are many reasons for this choice, but here is a list of our top ten.

1. We are not politicians. We leave the automobile fixes to the mechanic, the diagnoses to the doctors, and the politics to the politicians.

2. Readers aren’t interested in our political opinions. When we see a novel that catches our interest, it never occurs to us to wonder whether the author is a Democrat or a Republican, or who he or she will likely be voting for. We pick up novels based on our interest in the story and imagine that is what drives other readers as well.

3. This is not the place. While we agree that, as Americans, we all have an obligation to take stands and vote on important social issues, we don’t believe it belongs in our business. And writing is our business.

4. We’ve seen the damage it can do. And no thanks. By broadcasting your opinions, you’re alienating half of your potential audience, like it or not. Were we not interested in selling books, this wouldn’t be an issue, but as it is, we are very interested in selling books. It’s a requirement of our job, and alienating even one potential reader is counter-productive.

5. Let us entertain you. We aren’t interested in providing you with anything except a good read and respite from the woes of the real world. That’s why we remove political posts from our pages immediately, and block anyone who does it twice. Facebook pages are not democracies. Many choose to use their social media sites for such topics, but we don’t. As writers, we like to post about writing, reading, movies, cats, and humor. We don’t welcome hostility and bringing up politics is the quickest way to invite it in.

6. Why tell when you can show? The beauty of fiction is that you can go anywhere you’d like to go. You can create characters who stand for – or against – the issues you feel are important. We’ve found this a much more effective and constructive method of expressing ourselves than blasting our private opinions in public forums.

7. We don’t have time to argue. The first thing you’ll notice after posting a political statement is a slew of hostile arguers who demand explanations, justifications, and statistical proof of your statement. We work six days a week and simply don’t have time to prove points to those who don’t agree with our views.

8. We aren’t interested in changing minds. It takes all types of thought and philosophy to keep the world turning, and it doesn’t bother either of us when other people don’t agree with our views.  

9.  We respect mutual respect. And when it comes to our pages, we prefer that you do the same.

10. Again, we aren’t politicians. Nor are we political writers. Nor do we want to be. We are entertainers.  

We hope you enjoyed this first guest post of ours and do feel free to share your opinions with us down in the comments!

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