NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments! and often have guest bloggers.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!


Julie Moffet . Clare London . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A. Miller . Marcelle Dube . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson

Friday, October 10, 2014

Sex and Politics

Like a lot of writers, I write with an agenda.


Because I write about gay men falling in love, my agenda might appear more transparent than most. When I first began writing gay fiction, my focus was simply on showing how absolutely UNextraordinary such relationships were. Normal was my catchword. Because when I first found a publisher for these stories, most of my mainstream readers and writing friends still found gay mysteries unusual, surprising, and occasionally uncomfortable. They were most certainly -- and correctly at that time -- viewed as non-commercial.


Aside from the sexual orientation of my characters, I've mostly tried to avoid getting political in books. I don't like to be preached to, and neither do readers. This isn't to say that my characters don't have political or religious affiliations. They do. The things that we believe in, trust in, have faith in, think are worth fighting for define us. So a well-drawn character should have views on religion and politics and, yes, sex. Because it is rare to find a human who doesn't.


Fair Play is the first really political story I've written. It's difficult to write about a former radical on the run from his past -- or to discuss the 1960s -- without getting somewhat political. The story is a mystery-romance, so politics aren't the focus, but it's still feels a lot more political -- and personal -- to me. Just the mention of Vietnam riles up people in my family, so I imagine it will rile up a few readers.


Or maybe not. It was a long time ago, after all. I'll be interested to see if there is a reaction or not. Anyway, Fair Play comes out November 10th, but you can preorder it now through Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble.

So what do you think? Do you write with an agenda? Or if you're a reader, do you find a noticeable agenda off-putting?


Fifty years ago, Roland Mills belonged to a violent activist group. Now, someone is willing to kill to prevent him from publishing his memoirs.


When ex-FBI agent Elliot Mills is called out to examine the charred ruins of his childhood home, he quickly identifies the fire for what it is—arson. A knee injury may have forced Elliot out of the Bureau, but it’s not going to stop him from bringing the man who wants his father dead to justice.
Agent Tucker Lance is still working to find the serial killer who’s obsessed with Elliot and can’t bear the thought of his lover putting himself in additional danger. Straightlaced Tucker has never agreed with radical Roland on much—“opposing political viewpoints” is an understatement—but they’re united on this: Elliot needs to leave the case alone. Now.


Tucker would do nearly anything for the man he loves, but he won’t be used to gain Elliot access to the FBI’s resources. When the past comes back to play and everything both men had known to be true is questioned, their fragile relationship is left hanging in the balance.















7 comments:

Anne Marie Becker said...

"The things that we believe in, trust in, have faith in, think are worth fighting for define us." <== So true!

The upcoming release sounds great!

Aliera said...

All that define everyone of us. In different levels. You weren't the first m/m writer I read from, but you're certainly the reason I fell in love with the genre. I love that your characters know who they are, feel mostly conformable in their skins, aren't usually discovering then they are gay. That is a fact in their life and their stories go accordingly. Because there is no awkwardness in you books, I never felt awkward about anything in them. I'm sure this next will be wonderful. I'm still savoring H&M the third, and loving it. Thank you for your work and interest.

Toni Anderson said...

Excellent post, Josh. I think it's important not to dive too much into politics (my most political book was my last one and that was international politics and I was aware some people might mistakenly the beliefs of the characters were my beliefs). But some stories just 'go there'. The cover looks fabulous for your new book!

Sylvia reads said...

I'm very curious to see how the politics will affect my reading experience. I think I'm naturally inclined to read books that reflect my own believes.

A story about/with politics doesn't have to be preachy and it can provide a lot of interesting tension between MC's.

In the end I think the plot and the quality of the writing will determine my enjoyment so I'm not worried :)

Rita said...

Good for you! There are times when it needs to be said. I really enjoy getting a view that may be different from my own. But I want it presented reasonably with facts.
wishing you many sales.

J Wachowski said...

Sounds really interesting, josh. I love a bit of politics bubbling under the surface, influencing a story. Can't wait to read the new book!

KC said...

Depends on the agenda, but usually in the books i read these days, i don't remember (at least not right now) coming across a message that bothered me. I think it's important to have the characters have opinions, makes them more rounded, but it has to feel part of their world, rather than the writer preaching to the reader.

Politics-wise, i'm a bit sensitive to people having non-fact-based strong opinions, but i do want to know how people felt about certain events, especially when they were party to them in some way. And i like the stories that people have to tell.

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