Having named our current series “Miss-Information Technology Mysteries,” we’ve created a certain amount of pressure on ourselves to stay au courant with technology. This presents a problem, inasmuch as at least one of us is technophilic, or perhaps “technobarfic” would be more accurate, on account of having experienced (within a week, no less) her hard drive croaking, her digital phone going to bit heaven, and all the contacts on her iPhone mysteriously vanishing. She attributes this bad byte karma to her abject failure to appease Karapola (pronounced “CRAPOLA”), the Hawaiian technology god, on her last trip to Hawai’i. She should have wrapped a microchip in a ti leaf and left it on the wall of the nearest heiau (temple) as a sacred offering of appeasement.
Back to our topic du bloggy jour, the conventional wisdom among fiction writers is to avoid mentioning issues or circumstances that might date one’s book. Perhaps this maxim arose because of the length of the traditional publishing model: a year to write a book, two years for the editing, marketing and publication work before the book launch, then six months to being remaindered. Ouch. Perhaps some writers, aspiring to write great literature, confuse timelessness with the setting in time of a novel. Since we’ve chosen to self-publish and are clearly NOT writing literature – our characters do not have enough angst for that and in fact probably don’t know how to pronounce ‘angst’ – we’re free to toss ye olde conventional wisdom down the privy hole. (Those who know us realize we’re not much given to following conventional wisdom, anyway.)
So how much of a role does the latest and (not-so) greatest technology play in our stories? We’ll let you be the judge. Certainly we have a plot, character development and actions that are not technology dependent. However, the use and misuse (should we say “miss-use?”) of technology provide a nearly inexhaustible supply of humor. Edvard, introduced in Outsourcing Murder and returning for book three, is a consultant with a decidedly paranoid view of the world. How could Edvard not be aware and react to the fact that the NSA wants to read our minds while drones are counting the hairs on our heads? (Oop, another five grey ones today, or were before one of us plucked them. The other one relies on “better living through chemicals” to erase the predations of the Grey Hair Fairy.) Does that date the book? Yes and no. Edvard’s paranoia is an enduring feature; it does not depend on technology, but does feed on technological innovations as used in the invasion of privacy.
Similarly, our short story, “Heartfelt”, uses technology as a novel method of murder. Yet, the theme, revenge of the weak, is enduring. Were the story set in the 1890s, the killing might have been accomplished through an “accidental” application of a cattle prod. Move the story to France in the 2nd century AD and a screw wine press might by the weapon of choice. Once the author decides the victim needs to die a painful death (and trust us, our protagonist’s rotten ex-husband deserved everything he got and then some – literarily speaking, of course), technology in any age can provide the answer.
Since we’re not writing historical fiction, you won’t see cattle prods, screw wine presses, AOL accounts or Dell computers in our stories. (Okay, we’re only 98% sure on that last one.) You might find Google glasses, Recon Jets (Google glasses for athletes (1)), smart watches, drones and iPod toilet dock (“Did your predecessor flush? There’s an app for that!”) “
We should mention that “Heartfelt” has been accepted into Broken, an anthology of short stories to be published by Static Movement. We’ll let you know when the book is out. Also, and in the category of further embracing technology – even if keeping it at arm’s length seems safer and wiser – we’ve established maddidavidson.com as a domain name and you can email us at that address (email@example.com).
Lastly, in a momentous decision that may alter the orbit of earth and eliminate the scourge of climate change, we’ve also decided on a title for the third book. We’ve departed from the technology-inspired titles, as we realized that if we planned to write 20-30 books, we’d have trouble finding that many technological terms to match. So, say hello to With Murder You Get Sushi. As for its publication date … we’re not there, yet. All we can say is it will not be in 2013. Unless the gray hair fairy gets offed by our Muse, and the remaining 30,000 words or so all get delivered by a really, really cute FedEx guy, gift wrapped for Christmas. Good luck with that one!