Coming in just a few months’ time (27 July 2021) is my first political thriller, Blue Dawn. I’m quite excited about this book for many reasons. First, it is timely – this takes place five years from now in an alternate history. Second, current events drive a great deal of the plot and setting for this story. Third, as a historian, the concept of a second American Civil War is both horrifying and fascinating. Fourth, I have been working on some parts of this novel for over six years and to see it reach a satisfying fruition is exciting. Fifth, this kicks off a setting for future novels to carry the storyline forward. I have mapped out a lot of wonderful stories and characters in this new universe.
The short version: It is fiction with hard ties to the real world…the core of any good political thriller.
I have been wanting to tell this kind of story, the impetus of a new civil war, for a long time. Initially it was hard to articulate. As a published military historian, I find such conflicts compelling from a storytelling perspective, though I have no desire for such a war to start. After all, a new conflict would not look at all like the last civil war, where the dividing line was state borders. This is more like the American Revolution in the south, where you have loyalists and colonists fighting each other in their own communities. People forget that part of the America Revolution, when Americans faced off against each other, but I found it to be a good anchor concept for writing about a new civil war. Also, our culture is different, as is the kindling that would potentially kick off a conflict. We saw things this last year happen so fast that people could not wrap their heads around them – which was something I wanted to capture as well in the novel. I knew I couldn’t write this book until I personally had a firm grasp on how things might look, in an alternate-reality setting. That took a while to germinate my thinking.
Last summer, with the pandemic, the rioting and looting that took place, the civil and social unrest, the draconian influence of Big Tech (and the mainstream media,) and the overreach of authority by government – the story finally started to come together. History was providing me the perfect platform for the novel. Forced isolation, thanks to the ‘spicy virus’ (as my nurse/daughter calls it) gave me the time I needed to crack open all of the old ideas I had and pull them into a cohesive set of stories and characters. I had almost three dozen pages of ideas and notes that would ultimately find its way into this book, or others that will follow on in future novels.
Another big driver for me was the entire cancel culture and woke movements. It is nothing less than digital mob violence and attempts to impose censorship with threats and intimidation; striking me as anti-American on many levels. More on this in later blog posts, but suffice it to say, I felt highly motivated to ensure this book was published and I found the right publisher to do it with Defiance Press.
I finished the last draft of Blue Dawn just before the 2020 election. Strangely, some of the events that followed were already in the novel, to the point where I contacted my publisher to assure them that the attack on the Capitol was not some publicity stunt on my part. Let’s just say, there are ‘similarities,’ though the context and outcomes are quite different.
It has an ensemble and diverse cast of characters. While elements of this setting are dystopian, I would say that they are less that and more ‘dark and gritty.’ This novel is less about the setting as it is the characters. These characters drive the story…hard and fast. These are some of my favorite characters that I have created, especially two of the female characters – Kara and Caylee. This is the story of individuals who are thrust into circumstances that are often beyond their control. All of them must cope with the strains of living in a world that was thrust upon them. It is akin to what many readers may feel about the inflicted change being forced on them as well.
This book is NOT for everyone. I will state up-front I’m a proud conservative and this book is a political thriller, so if you are not conservative, it probably isn’t going to be your fare. If you remotely think you might not like it, simply don’t buy it. That system has worked for centuries. I’m willing to bet that at least 47% of the country will find it captivating. If you are terminally woke and are purchasing it to deliberately get offended, I suggest purchasing multiple copies to really get yourself fired up. Multiply your anger, fear and frustration with bulk buying! Cha-ching!
In the coming months, I’ll be writing a lot about the book in my blog, including some additional pieces of short fiction. Feel free to follow my blog if you want to keep up. There will be a book signing or two, and some other events I’m batting around after the book comes out. In the meantime, here’s a link to the publisher’s description and cover…enjoy, and get ready. With this book, I’m bringing the fight to you.