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You don't need to know everything about an author. In fact, oft times, people don't even want to. They just want to read a book and not have even a picture of an author to colour their thoughts.
But I wanted to say a couple of things because it has been playing on my mind.
The handsome young man on the left is my son. He passed away near a couple of years ago at the age of 25. Not in combat, but certainly doing his duty. For a very long time I couldn't write at all.
The reason i bring this up is actually kinda funny. For a bit of fun I entered a competition for 'first lines', and it was merely a bit of fun, honing the craft so to speak. And one thing I noticed immediately was how many people opened their novels with death.
I'm afraid you join a special club when you lose someone close to you, especially someone so young and who is your son. Yes, I write about death, too, but for most (thank goodness) it belongs in the realms of fiction.
I remember years ago a kid at my youngest son's school, when Richard, in the picture above, went to speak to the children about being a soldier. Inevitably the first question a kid asks is, "Have you killed anyone?" because the misconception is that this is what soldiers do. And it is a misconception. A soldier defends his country. If he must lift his gun to do it, he will, but it certainly isn't his first priority.
And within the realms of fiction there are heroes who do just that. They defend what they believe in, and sometimes that results in a death. Although it is fiction, if that doesn't touch you, then you shouldn't be writing it. It doesn't matter at what age a person dies. It hurts. And I saw so many times in those opening lines that people really didn't understand that. They saw it as drama, as shock value, as a way to pull people in. Instead of being an integral part of the story.
I guess with all the vampires and zombies people often don't see death as real. And maybe it is because I have another perspective that I even see this at all. Maybe other people won't even care about what I care about. But, death is a last resort, not an opening salvo. It is when all other avenues have been walked down. So when writing about it, feel it, don't trivialise it.

 


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