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Thursday, July 10, 2014

What's It About?

Whenever I tell someone I've written a novel, their first response is almost always, "What's it about?" Most authors are ready with a simple answer to this question; however when I tell people Brute Heart is about a young veterinarian who's deciding whether to euthanize her terminally ill father, I can't seem to stop with that. I think it's because I'm afraid of horrifying potential readers, notably those who love their fathers. 

So I yammer away, adding details such as:
  • Her father is an alcoholic. (He's not the perfect father.)
  • He's been mentally and physically abusive to her and her family. (far from perfect)
  • I usually add, "not sexually abusive." (No salacious details in this story.)
 If what I've said so far still produces a blank expression, I might add:
  • The father can't understand why his daughter won't do for him what she does for an old or wounded animal.
  • Then I feel compelled to mention the young woman had to work her way through college and veterinary school, and if she were caught she would lose her hard-won license and end up in prison.
Soon whatever interest this person may have had is replaced by a polite nod once in a while followed by a reason they have to leave. As usual, I've said too much, and it still wasn't enough.

If you've read Brute Heart, what would you say if a person asked you, "What's it about?"

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