Hello, out there in Tiki-Land! I’m travelling over from my normal home at Sugar and Spice and Bodies on Ice as part of my blog tour for the release of my debut thriller, Chain of Command, about a reporter who discovers that the simultaneous assassinations of the president and vice president of the U.S. may be a plot to rocket the Speaker of the House—a woman—into the presidency.
Releasing a novel about presidential assassinations can get tricky, what with the worrying the FBI will come to knock down your door after some odd Google searches or those people sitting in the corner quietly judging you, assuming that if you write about such a travesty, it must be what you really want to happen. Another tricky aspect of writing a thriller? The profanity.
Now, don’t get worried, because I’m keeping this one clean, but let’s just say that when you’re writing a Navy SEAL character, sometimes his language isn’t exactly going to be fit for an episode of Sesame Street (brought to you by the letter F!). But I’ll tell you the truth the same way I told my Baptist minister father, my prim high school English teacher, and my uninterested mailman. The last didn’t really care whether I cursed in my writing or not, but I forced him to sit and listen to my spiel so I could practice before delivering it to the previous two: I think I do the book and the characters an injustice if I have them speak in a way that doesn’t feel “real.” And yet, I didn’t want to cuss like a sailor (pun entirely intended) throughout the book. So, how did I get around it, you ask?
Well, I found Jesus. Yep, Jesus Christ helped out, though maybe not in the way you might think.
Lieutenant Noah Hutchins, one of Chain of Command’s major characters, is a Navy SEAL who would, for all practical purposes, have a mouth so filthy not even a fifth of bourbon and a gallon of bleach could disinfect it. So, during the writing of his character, I decided he would have a little quirk that could stand in for the cussing any time he needed an expletive, and good ole Jesus, always the martyr, saved the day.
Throughout the writing of the book, Noah’s “special relationship” with Jesus became both one of my favorite aspects of his character to develop as well as some of my favorite little moments to read in the final copy. Noah refers to Jesus in interesting situations a total of fifteen times throughout the book in lieu of a string of words that would make your grandmother blush. My personal favorites include, “Jesus Christ and Sting in concert,” and “Christ swinging from a chandelier.”
And while some people might think the Jesus references are disrespectful, I like to think the Man himself, if he was around, might understand and find humor in the situation—maybe even be proud I used his name to avoid some other foul language I’d have needed to use to keep the character real. Instead, I like to think Noah’s quirk made him even more real.
What about you? What character have you read with a quirk that made you adore him or her? And if you were going to use a Noah-esque Jesus reference, for the love of Jesus’ red velour track suit, what would it be?
CHAIN OF COMMAND is currently available on
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Directly from the publisher, Stairway Press
Also available on Kobo, iBooks, Sony, and others.
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