Posted by: Kathleen Mix | July 2, 2013

Ripped from the Headlines

A traitor with a top-secret security clearance downloads and steals sensitive information in my July 2012 release, Deadly Memories. My hero is a cyber-security expert who must find the culprit before government secrets end up in the hands of our enemies.
My villain is not named Snowden. And my book was written and published long before the recent headlines.
But in light of the current focus on top-secret information and the people trusted with insider knowledge, other novels about security breaches and protagonists rushing to reclaim our country’s secrets are probably being written at this very moment. Some will deal with a traitor stealing secrets, some will feature government agencies run amok and a hero who risks all for the good of his fellow citizens, some will feature a man without a country wandering for the rest of his life, never able to trust or stop looking over his shoulder.
Another group of authors are probably working on books about murder trials. Some are about an innocent man unjustly accused of murder, some are about a guilty man trying to escape justice, some are tragedies about racial profiling and end with a young life cut short.
An author somewhere may be writing about a young girl who received a life saving lung transplant and went on to become President. Someone else is writing about how stress destroys or strengthens the family of a critically ill child. Someone is writing about a lawyer who fights for a sick child to get an organ transplant and, through his selfless pro bono efforts, wins the love of a woman who finally sees past his outer shell to the sensitive man he is inside.
The wonderful thing about books written in response to a headline is that no two will be alike. In the last three years, I’ve read four books about charismatic cult leaders who live in secluded compounds, practice polygamy, and marry under-aged girls. That one thread runs through each, but the stories are far from alike. Every author made the subject their own and took readers on a unique journey. A cult leader who made headlines may have sparked the ideas, but how each author expanded their idea into a story depended on that person’s interpretation of events, the way they view the people involved, and their individual beliefs and values.
If you want to write and are developing a plot catalyzed by a headline, go for it. If the topic excited reporters and held the public’s interest, then stretch your imagination and give it a unique spin. The book you write may be a best seller and part of a new headline.

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