There’s always something rather good about being able to feature an author you’ve actually met, and it was pure chance that David Videcette and I happened to be at the same event in Birmingham on Saturday for bloggers and authors. As is always the way with such events, we didn’t get very much opportunity to talk, but touching base makes it even more of a pleasure to feature him today.
Just in case you’ve been living in a remote cave for the last few months, David’s debut thriller, The Theseus Paradox, set against the backdrop of the 7/7 London bombings, was voted in the top ten books of the year by five independent review websites. It became a number one bestseller in its Amazon category within a month of launch and the truth behind the fiction has since been investigated by The Sunday Telegraph, The Mirror, The Sun, Sky and ITV News.
Appropriately, I’m delighted to welcome David to Being Anne to talk some more about “the truth”…
“I want the truth!”
“You can’t handle the truth!”
Those lines are from one of my favourite films, A Few Good Men, in which Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise battle it out in a courtroom drama over the court-martial of two U.S. Marines charged with the murder of a fellow Marine.
And sometimes I feel like repeating those famous lines to fiction fans, because sometimes the truth is a bitter pill to swallow.
My novel, The Theseus Paradox, deals with a real life case – the investigation following the 7/7 bombings in London. It tells the story of a police detective who has some very real problems during the investigation. I leave it up to the reader to decide how much truth there is in the story…
And therein the problems start.
You see, what I have found is this: while many are fascinated by the concept of ‘could this actually be true?’ – there are others that simply can’t handle that it might be.
Many readers immerse themselves in crime fiction purely for the escapism factor. They are very happy to watch or read about fictional characters committing crimes as long as it ‘isn’t real’. Contacts within the publishing industry have confirmed that there is currently a trend towards exceedingly grisly and gruesome criminal scenes in mainstream books. Bodies mutilated and stitched back together for crime fantasy is fine, apparently, because it is all made up…
But when it comes to reality; when what they are reading might be true; when it comes to dealing with real emotions in a real situation – that’s when some readers become confused, scared and upset.
And then there’s the issue of Jake, the detective in The Theseus Paradox. Jake is based on me and my five years spent working on the 7/7 investigation. So, in many respects he is very real too. Jake is driven, he’s one of a kind, he’s the type of police officer you’d want investigating your crime because he stops at nothing to get the answers – but he is also stupid, reckless and sometimes very unpleasant. Often he bends the rules and sometimes even the law.
The vast majority of readers love Jake, but some, the same group that enjoy pure escapism in their books and don’t want their fiction ‘real’, find the concept of a real policeman, really breaking the rules, in a real situation, because he really wants to find out the truth himself – repugnant. They simply can’t handle it – it is simply too real for them.
In A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholson’s character, Colonel Jessup, isn’t a very nice man. As Jack says to the prosecution, ‘You have that luxury of not knowing what I know. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it.’
But he is the man we would want ‘standing on that wall with a gun’, isn’t he?
How many of us are willing to admit that we need Jack Nicholson’s type of character in the real world, defending us?
Coincidently, the writer behind A Few Good Men got his inspiration from phone conversations with his sister who was actually going to Guantanamo Bay to defend a group of Marines who came close to killing another in a hazing ordered by a superior officer. The writer took that information and wrote much of his story on cocktail napkins while bartending.
So the next time I see A Few Good Men – I will know that Jack Nicholson’s character is right.
The truth is, many people can’t actually handle the truth, and some don’t even want to know what the truth is…
Are you the type that wants your fiction ‘real’ or do you want pure fantasy?
It’s a tough question.
Can you handle the truth?
Still contemplating that one… thank you David! The Theseus Paradox is available to buy for Kindle or in paperback at Amazon, through Waterstones online or Blackwell’s Bookshop online or via The Book Depository.
You can connect with David Videcette via Facebook, Twitter and his website.