So the case for writing about Covid: is a book realistic that's set in the contemporary world but that ignores the existence of the virus? After all, it's here, it's overwhelming all of us. I haven't been in a grocery store since March 11 - and while I know that I am a little more extreme than most, almost everyone has had their lives changed because of the pandemic. And in a lot of ways, I feel we're being tested by this virus- our fortitude, our endurance, our love for each other, our senses of self - and humor. A thriller by definition challenges the characters to react to extreme situations. Wouldn't readers want to see how these characters react to the same challenge that all of us are enduring? Would readers have a problem relating to characters who don't have to social distance or wear masks?
The case against writing about Covid: my books are international thrillers. If my characters have to restrict travel, social distance etc - would the situations I've created even work? How do you write an international thriller when no one is traveling? Also, are readers possibly tired of Covid? By next summer, will they want to read an international thriller where the characters are forced to do all the stuff we're presently doing to keep safe? Would readers prefer to escape from the presence of Covid into a world where there are threats that have nothing to do with risking your life from a microscopic virus every time you go to the doctor or the grocery store? I know some people are reading Camus, The Plague, or Stephen King, The Stand, or watching pandemic movies on Netflix or Prime. Not me. I can't stand watching or reading anything about plagues or pandemics - and my preferred genre is thrillers. It's bad enough living in this reality. I don't want to experience it in fictional version.
So maybe I've answered my own question. After all, writing a novel is a huge investment in time. Between now and November, I envision dividing my time between writing the new book and promoting Trojan Horse, which is debuting on October 16 - with a small break for the High Holy Days. If I can't even stand to watch a two hour movie about a pandemic, do I really want to spend all that time writing about the real one that we're all experiencing?
What about you? If you're a writer working on a book, are you including anything about Covid? If you're a reader, do you want to read about it? Inquiring minds want to know.