Detroit Has a White Mayor and I Have a Dead Novel (Sort Of)
And really, this might be the best thing for me right now. I’ve mentioned here my problems bouncing between two projects. The first project is a cozy novel that I am in the first draft stage of and the second project is a Detroit crime novel I’ve been working on for over six years. Well it looks like Detroit’s election last night put a dagger temporarily in my work on the crime novel because that novel relies heavily on Detroit having a black mayor and a behind the scenes white power broker. Well, now the white power broker is the mayor and I need to rethink my novel.
I mentioned this on Facebook last night and got a nice round of encouraging comments from people telling me that I can still write the novel as is because it’s fiction, etc. and that is very true. The mayor in the book as it is is based on Kwame Kilpatrick and he left office in 2008. But what this latest development made me realize is that the biggest problem I’ve had with this book is that Detroit is too much of a character. It’s trying too hard to be a big social novel and not hard enough to just be a good novel. So now, instead of trying to keep up with the actual politics of the city, it seems I’ve freed myself up to concentrate on the characters and how the plot works with just them.
For the time being though, I’ve put that book aside to work completely on the cozy. And what’s funny is, without even trying, this silly book about a female-owned brewery has become the most socially conscious novel I’ve ever written.