When most people pick up the latest bestselling thriller or murder mystery, they are typically looking for some good entertainment. Makes sense, and with that expectation, they better get what they are seeking or there will be a let down. I've read quite a few murder mysteries and a short list of crime thrillers and that was my expectation too.
But the stories that linger in my imagination, repeat in my daydreams, and give me metaphors for life are not the usual genre fiction. I like to be wowed, but I like even more to be left thinking about characters, analyzing their plights, victories, and struggles. Many fast paced thrillers can only go so deep in a high speed pursuit of the plot.
I began writing The Nobleman years ago while my wife was slaving away on her masters degree. With no toddlers to chase, i.e time on my hands, I took a break from writing the fantasy series I'd been working on (The Reaper's Seed) to venture into a plot line that had been on my mind. I began with a new writing voice, and an idea that fit well into a murder mystery/thriller-like drama. At the same time I began writing this story, I had been doing a lot of thinking about "equality." Specifically one of the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence: ". . . that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator . . ." That next part about the government securing these rights was the political hot topic, but I was enamored (and still am) with the fundamental importance of the Creator part. To me it was, and still is, the keystone to a healthfully functioning American government.
Also around the same time, I had watched and greatly enjoyed a movie called "Crash." For some it was just an edgy, racially charged film, but to me it was inclusive in the way that it showed the ability for all sorts of people in all walks of life to make the right or wrong choice when faced with adversity. It felt to me to be a wonderful expression of equality: all equal in the the value given them by their Creator, but all broken to one degree or another. It resonated with me.
And so, getting back to The Nobleman, I found these thoughts and debates energizing my characters and the development of them. The Nobleman became a mixed-genre novel that is filled with people of various races, sexes, vocations, and economic status. Here's how they are all the same: they are all broken. But I took it a step further in this way - the characters in The Nobleman are all created in the image of God, their Creator, and . . . they are broken. This very much expresses how I see the world. Mankind is a very special part of creation, but we are a messed up species. The sheer volume of evil in this world is staggering. But that is not the end of it - we are capable of doing beautiful things. So what is it? Are we naturally bad with the ability to do good? Or are we naturally good with the ability to do bad? Can anyone actually be a noble person? Or is it that we only ever think we are doing the right thing, only to find that hindsight finds us as lacking? I would encourage you to ponder and puzzle out that question. My own answers to this complicated and very important question are rooted in my Christian faith.
Who fills the jacket? Who fills the trench coat? Who wears that hoodie? People are the point and the problem. I've definitely written The Nobleman to entertain, but I hope reader's will also find some depth where they may not have expected it.