In Blue Dawn, the government is overthrown at the beginning of the book and the the event itself essentially creates the characters of the novel. The characters are a byproduct of the progressive coup d’etat that takes down America and all of its institutions. Taking down the USA means replacing it with Newmerica. The thugs that seized power, ANTIFA, become Social Enforcers, a new generation of brown shirts. Any ‘radicals’ (i.e. conservatives) are rounded up and their leaders sent off to Social Quarantine camps – under the auspices that it is for their own good. The book takes place five years after this violent change, where almost all traces of old America are erased. Our flag, our money, our history, our anthem…they are all thrown aside for symbols representing a true woke state. The characters are forced to react to all of this change, and in many ways, that defines them. More importantly, many of them lead the fight to reboot the nation and bring back America.
Good books have plots and stories, but ultimately are about characters. Those in Blue Dawn are diverse and provide a glimpse into the setting where their stories take place. Blue Dawn is not about a single character, but an ensemble of interesting people. Given the breadth of the story, it was necessary to tell it from a number of angles.
The characters are what drive their individual stories. Their stories are intertwined, allowing for some interesting combinations.
While the events create the characters, it is the characters that drive the story. So here’s my take on the key characters:
Andy. Andy is everyman. The core of this character is that he is a loyal son. His father was a rebel, of sorts, and paid a price for that independent streak. Like so many of us, there is a part of him that wants to be like his father, but can’t find that path in life. Also, like many people, Andy doesn’t want to see or deal with the big picture issues of Newmerica. It is easier to look the other way or pretend things are not happening. Bit by bit, he is drawn into the anguish of trying to survive in this rebranded nation. Andy comes to grips not only with his father’s past, but his own destiny. His sister Karen, well, she’s a piece of work. In many respects, this novel is his story first and foremost. Andy is all of us at one point or another. I always pictured John Krasinski playing Andy.
Charli. Charli carries a burden that unfolds in the novel. She was assigned to protect the President and in many ways, failed; though it isn’t until late in the book that the reader understands what really happened. She has been living in the shadows ever since the Fall. She has to come out of that hiding essentially to protect Andy – and in the end her arc brings her back to where she started. In my mind, if anyone was to play her part in a film, it would be Ronda Rousey – though she would be a great fit for Caylee as well.
Raul. On the surface the Youth Corps sounds like a wonderful thing. Raul joins and is idealistic. Like so many people he sees Newmerica as a good thing. As a writer I had to address a different perspective of Newmerica – and Raul is that vehicle. His attitude remains that way until circumstances change. Once he is impacted, once his life is threatened, his perspective changes. He is thrust into a set of circumstances far beyond his grasp. His actions start riots. He morphs into a very different person, which is a wonderful character arc. Raul represents the masses who buy what the media and the government tell them, hook, line, and sinker.
Caylee. As an NSF operative, she is beyond the law. Operatives do the dirty work of the Newmerican government. There is a formality with her, almost a politeness, even as she is kicking ass. Her world is binary, as is her thinking. When the Secretary turns on her, making her a target, for Caylee there is only one way to go. Caylee is the flip side of the same coin that Charli is cast from. The difference is in the motivation. Caylee is fairly linear in her thinking – things are not gray but are black and white. If she isn’t fighting against you, she is fighting for you; she’s that simple. The person I would cast for her role is Gina Carano.
Jack. Jack, like Charli, has some extreme baggage from the night of the Fall. It took a while, but Jack is all about turning the tables on the people that took everything from him. It has taken years, but he finally has all of his pieces right where he wants them on the game board. Jack is playing the long game. Jack is badly damaged by the events that took place. The difference is that where most people would have wallowed in self-pity, Jack is a person that converts that inner rage into action. Since he can’t have his family back, he’ll setting for getting his country back. I always thought Kevin Costner would be cool playing him.
Karen. Okay, her names says it all. It was too hard to pass up. Karen was willing to throw her father and brother under the bus for her own gain. She represents the woke people out there, without using that term. She reflects everything in her life in terms of how it impacts her. The damage done to others, that means nothing to Karen. Her values are so flexible, they practically don’t exist. She is a person that sees Newmerica as recognizing and elevating her stature in the world, and that makes her a true believer. Newmerica gave her something she craved – power and authority. Like the people on the internet that spend their days attacking others, her sense of being and validation is solely based on the havoc she causes. Her arc is not complicated, and in the end, oddly satisfying.
Some characters, like the President, Vice President, and NSF Secretary are archetypes of real people. I thought it would be distracting to use their names and would only sour people to the story. Having them remain nameless is part of the Newmerica model, where people are depersonalized. These are people you know from the real world. It isn’t necessary to say their names in the book. Besides, the Newmerica government is all about labels, so their names, after five years, have become unimportant. Newmerica packages human lives like products that they position and market to an unsuspecting or uncaring public. These are my high-level perspective of these characters. They are near and dear to my heart.