My novel BLAQUE takes place in the present day (give or take a year or two), as the Korean War That Never Really Ended continues. My hope is that the novel entertains first, but also sheds light on a conflict that a lot of us Westerners dismiss as not affecting us (SPOILER: It does).
Here’s the problem…or maybe situation…with writing a fiction novel that depicts some real world events: the real world events change. Alliances get broken. Countries go rogue. Leaders go even more batshit insane than they already were. The U.S. tries to go save the day again (sorry, my bias is coming through). Things happen.
If you are trying to keep at least some realism in your novel, this can get annoying. I was on vacation in the Caribbean when I found out about Kim Jong-il passing away. This wasn’t my big concern in reference to the novel. Nope, my worry was about the regime change itself. How would this change relations between the North and the South? Would something drastic take place that would basically reduce my novel to a fairy tale or a pipe dream?
My screenwriter friend, who was on vacation with me, got the brunt of my worry. She was trying to sleep, and she finally rolled over and glared at me from the other bed. “Just write the damn novel,” she grumbled before turning back over.
I glared at her back for a moment, but then I thought about it. She was right. If I sat back and hung on every little thing that happened in the Korean conflict, waiting to adjust my novel, the poor book would never get finished. Score one for the screenwriter.
I still pay close attention to what happens between the Koreas, and some of what I learn is folded into the book. It is still my book, though. It is a work of fiction, so I am treating it as such…a work of fiction inspired by the real world rather than dictated by it.