I have never had the pleasure of meeting Jody Lynn Nye but I have had the pleasure of reading and editing her in the past. Entertaining writer and consummate professional, Jody talks about how a painful reality was used as inspiration fodder for her book Myth-Quoted.
The frustration that gave rise to my novel, Myth-Quoted, started out long before the current election, though this one seemed to slot painfully well into the ongoing angst. Didn’t the rest of you feel as though the campaign was never going to end?
That’s how story ideas come into being. You feel passionate about something, and it begins to cause synapses in your brain to fire, and story ensues. In this case, I had become so frustrated that the previous presidential election seemed to have started three years before Election Day that I came to despise both parties and everything they did. Rather than affirming my pride in the democratic process, it made me yearn for something else, perhaps like the British system where, though voters vote for parties but not candidates, the campaign begins only three weeks before Election Day. Wouldn’t that have been nice? If I could just go about my business undisturbed for a few years, then pay reasonable attention to the candidates’ statements a couple of months before the election, I would be a lot happier. In the meanwhile, the elected officials can buckle down and do the darned job for which we elected them. I suspect I’m far from alone in my feelings. (The press is already beginning to speculate about 2016. Nooooo!)
So, the “What if?” that came into my mind was, “What if the election just never got around to happening? What if the campaign went on and on and on and ON until the posters clinging to the sides of buildings faded, and the candidates distributed copies of their speeches in advance to the press because they never had anything new to say? What if – and here’s the important part – what if Aahz, Skeeve, and the other characters of the Myth-Adventures series got caught up in trying to straighten out an endless campaign in (in this case) an openly corrupt election?” This is how Myth-Quoted evolved.
Once I got to make fun of the process, I began to enjoy the real-life drama a little. I watched news reports with an eye out for ridiculous things I could incorporate into the plot. There was plenty. Please let me say right here that none of my characters is based on any of the people who ran for office. I exaggerated and caricatured, employed antiquated clichés, and added a handful of absurd hoops that I sincerely hope no person with an ounce of pride would jump through, even to be elected to high office.
(My characters, of course, had no choice. They have to do what I make them. There’s no democracy in writing. I like to think of myself as a benign dictator, but it’s my way or the DELETE key.)
Naturally, the ending of my book was nothing like real life. After all, I have magik (yes, that’s the way we spell it in the Myth-Adventures), puns, running disasters and, of course, Aahz. It turned out to be a lot of fun, and let me blow off steam about the real situation in the process.
Jody Lynn Nye lists her main career activity as “spoiling cats.” She lives northwest of Chicago with one of the above and her husband, author and packager Bill Fawcett. She has published more than forty books, including seven contemporary fantasies, five SF novels, four novels in collaboration with Anne McCaffrey, including Crisis on Doona and Treaty at Doona; edited a humorous anthology about mothers, Don’t Forget Your Spacesuit, Dear!; and over a hundred short stories. Her latest books are Dragons Deal (Ace Books), the third in Robert Asprin’s Dragons series, View From the Imperium (Baen Books), and Myth-Quoted, nineteenth in Robert Asprin’s Myth-Adventures series. (Ace Books). Her website is www.jodynye.com.