The Rockville 8
is thrilled to host the Agatha Award-winning author of the Rachel Goddard mysteries, Sandra Parshall.
Sandra's fifth book, Bleeding Through, was published September 4.
She lives in
with her husband and two cats. McLean, VA
Visit her website at http://www.sandraparshall.com and read her Wednesday blog at http://www.poesdeadlydaughters.blogspot.com. But first, Sandra visits the Eight and spills the beans about her writing life and living near the nation's capital. Take it away, Sandra.
Someday I’ll write that political thriller… or not
by Sandra Parshall
Sometimes I feel as if I’m wasting my own personal setting.
I’ve lived in or just outside Washington, DC, for half my life, but except for my first book, The Heat of the Moon, and a couple of scenes in Disturbing the Dead and Bleeding Through, I’ve never set a book here. More specifically, I’ve never tried to write a
You know the kind of books I mean. How could you not know, when you see them in every bookstore and every drugstore and supermarket book rack? Often they have flags on the cover, or a portentous image of the White House or the Capitol. Shadowy figures running for their lives from unseen pursuers are also popular cover art for Washington-centered novels. Within the pages of these books, you’ll find plots to destroy
, plots to take over the
world, plots to take down a single politician by digging up (literally, in some
cases) a hidden scandal. Since The Da
Vinci Code, an increasing number of authors have introduced ancient
documents and such into their very modern political thrillers. Many people die.
Lives are ruined. Everybody is sadder but not the least bit wiser at the end. America
Why can’t I write this sort of book and cash in on the trend? I live here. Inspiration is all around me. Members of Congress shop at the same supermarket and hardware store I patronize. My husband is a longtime
(now retired from a newsmagazine) who could give me lots of juicy details to
work into my plots. And I care about politics. I think a citizen would have to
be crazy these days to be indifferent to what’s happening in DC. So I should
dream up a plot, sit down at my computer, and get started on my future
bestseller, right? Washington
The only problem: I couldn’t do it if you put a gun to my head.
I’m not disparaging the people who write and read political thrillers, but I can’t do either. If a book cover has a picture of the
flag or a federal government building, I steer clear of it and leave it for the
true fans of the subgenre. Real politics makes me anxious enough without having
fictional scenarios added. U.S.
I didn’t even let Rachel stay in
In the second book, I moved her to the mountains, far from the taint of
national politics. I’m happy writing about a small community in the Blue Ridge. I find much more drama there, on a human
scale, than I would in the Situation Room or a campaign headquarters.