No, that’s not a beach in the photo. It’s Wadi Rum in Jordan. I went looking for desert pictures and I couldn’t resist this one.
What a beauty. It’s much more interesting than it should be to illustrate my theme, which is that the middle months of 2020 will be a world-wide literary desert.
I have a theory — which could be completely wrong becauseI have done my usual zero research — that books are set in any particular historical period in proportion to the number written at that time. Thousands and thousands of books pop up on Amazon every day, most of them set in the recent past. Millions more will be written next year and the year after, but I reckon very few will be set about now.
There will be heaps of new pandemic books. Brave, misunderstood scientists and medical professionals will take on ignorant administrators intent on saving money at the cost of innocent sufferers, so all with the same basic premise as every pandemic saga written since Day of the Triffids. Heaps will be great. Fantasies and sci-fi will power on, sure, but those books don’t take place in the here and now, do they?
What else will there be for the six-month COVID hiatus? Not much, says I, because there’s a basic problem for writers.
Perhaps there’s a tsunami of tales in the pipeline where the hero and all the minor characters suddenly stop what they’re doing and go home for three months to watch Netflix, home school their rugrats and yearn for a night at the pub. Writers more talented than I may be working up storylines where the players deal with their challenges and personal conflicts via Zoom. That story might already been told, by the way. Remember the Hitchcock movie Rear Window where Jimmy Stewart solves a murder from his apartment with nothing to look at but the view across a courtyard to the units opposite? Come to think of it, Jimmy was a peeping Tom!
I reckon a whole heap of popular series will finish before coronavirus strikes, take a six-month break and pick up when the heroes emerge from lockdown.
I have an idea for a lockdown novella. It involves the main protagonists in my Hollins & Haring series, which I haven’t shown you yet. Haring’s mother gets COVID and is in hospital. Her husband is working away on the mines, so she turns to Hollins for support. To distract Haring from worrying about her mum, Hollins finally tells her the secrets of his mysterious past.
What do you think?
Whether it’s a good idea or not, it supports my theory about books set in 2020. A fraction of that story will happen in lockdown. The meat will be flashbacks to Hollins’ previous life.
You see my point?
I will probably put up some sample chapters of the first Hollins and Haring hardboiled mystery within the next month or so. It’s called Gunshy. I have some issues with the opening chapters to work out before I share it beyond my fellow-writer friends who critique my new stuff.
Right now, I’m concentrating on the July 17 release of Meet Me Under Brooklyn Bridge where Stella and Sean from Meet Me at the Hanging Tree take their turn in the spotlight. It’s available here for pre-order now on Amazon at the special introductory price of $1.42 (US$0.99).
Or read it for free. Click here for an Advanced Review Copy.
If you use that link you’ll have to join Booksprout (it’s free) and promise to review the book, but a line or two is fine, and reviews help MASSIVELY to increase the book’s visibility on Amazon. So, I’ll probably be even happier if you take a free review copy instead of paying for a pre-order. After all, you’re all my mates.