This seems to be the week of hosting other authors on my blog – but that’s okay. It’s fun and interesting to meet new people and hear about their world and about the thing that makes them part of my bigger family – the family of those of us who write.
Today, I have Katie Hamstead’s here to tell us a little bit about writing on a controversial subject and how she managed to create balance in her novel, Branded.
Take it away Katie.
Writing About Sensitive Issues
Branded touches on controversial issues, but I never intended it be a statement of any kind. While planning who the invaders could be, I wanted to make it something believable. With the way the world is, I had one clear option; extremist Muslim terrorist groups. Now I am far from a person who hates groups of people from any race, religion, or culture. I believe every group has unique individuals who are good as well as bad. So I didn’t want it coming across as Muslim hate.
When you first meet the antagonist, the General, he is hard and brutal, justifying all his actions by what he believes as centuries of persecution. I knew if I wanted to make him the “big bad guy” I needed someone who could counter that and create a balance.
Enter Nick. Nick is a Muslim, a gentle, peaceful Muslim. He doesn’t believe in the invaders’ cause, but goes along with it so he and his family don’t get killed. But he helps Ali and doesn’t want to kill anyone because he had non-Muslim friends growing up. Nick is meant to be everything the General isn’t, creating balance in the story. Because of him, Ali doesn’t learn to hate anyone except the General. Nick shows her that groups of people vary widely and individuals have the ability to make things better and can oppose the greater force.
I believe, when touching on sensitive issues like this, it is important to create this counter balance. I don’t want to provoke controversy or hate, so characters like Nick are crucial to adding an honest depth.
Thanks for that, Katie. It’s a very intersting perspective on a hard topic to encompass and I wish you all the best with your new novel.
About the Branded:
Terrorists have invaded Sydney, and Allison King barely escapes her brother’s wedding reception alive. She and her siblings flee, but their parents are killed by firing squad.
Now Ali’s on the run and terrified. While searching for other survivors, she is captured by the General who leads the invasion. He’s smitten by Ali, and when she refuses to submit to his whims, he brands her for death. In a wild act of defiance, she snatches the branding rod and sears the mark onto his face. Marking not only him but also sealing her fate. Ali manages to escape and flees into the bush once more where she finds a group in hiding. Even with the scars left by the General, Ali learns to love and falls in love with the young man who found her—Damien Rogers.
But the General is hunting her. When he discovers their location, and finds her with another man—Damien—his wrath is kindled and his obsession is inflamed. Ali must put herself on the line or the General could kill her family, those who help her, and most significantly, the man she loves.
Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.
After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dog.
She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing. She is currently at school studying English and Creative Writing.
Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She now works as a Clerk with a lien company in Arizona to help support her family and her schooling. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.