Friday, June 03, 2011

BOM: How the Idea Germinated

I remember the moment clearly when the idea for
The Justice hit me. I was sitting at my bathroom vanity, getting ready for church and watching the CBS morning news from the corner of my eye. (Multi-tasking, as always). We were coming up to a national election, and the commentator said that whoever won would have an incredible opportunity to influence the direction of the Supreme Court by making judicial appointments.

That's all it took. I started to think what might happen if a man appointed someone to the court and that someone later became a Christian. And then what if that person, because of his Christian stance, refused to go along with the President?

Then I laughed, because in that moment I realized I'd inadvertently put together the true story of Henry II and Sir Thomas Beckett.

So then I thought maybe I could switch the genders around . . . which would make the tie to Beckett seem a little less obvious. In fact, I could make it male/female--wait! Why not make it the first female president? Unique angle. And they were former lovers. Unique conflict.

And that was it. The story pretty much unfolded logically from that point. I was sure that someone was going to get the Beckett connection, but to this date, no one has mentioned it.

(An oversimplified reminder: Henry II was having trouble with the Catholic Church--he needed money, and he wanted them to pay taxes on their holdings. So Henry appointed his pal, Thomas Beckett, to be Archbishop of Canterbury, thinking he'd have Thomas in his back pocket. But in becoming an archbishop, Thomas had a real encounter with God. Later, when Henry asked Thomas to pay up, Thomas refused. Thomas had to flee the country, and, after many years and much wrangling, Henry complained to a group of his knights, "Oh, who will rid me of this troublesome priest?"

His knights, reading between the lines, went to Canterbury and killed Thomas as he knelt in prayer.)

I also added a couple of other threads to the story, just to keep things interesting: a crazy madman who sees the first woman president, Daryn Austin, as the Whore of Babylon, and an issue being debated before the Supreme Court: the link between abortion and breast cancer.

Stir them all together, and you have a book! One that may not be everyone's taste, but I liked it. :-)

~~Angie

5 comments:

K-Mac said...

I really enjoyed this book, it was actually one of the first ones I read of yours.
And the crazy guy was really scary :)
It's always interesting to see where ideas come from, one of my ideas came from something I saw on the side of the highway...I think it had something to do with the sewer.
~Katie

P.S. Yay for comments working!

Kari said...

I loved this book! I actually read it right before the show "Commander and Chief" came out. The show with Geena Davis who also became president after the president dies.

Catherine said...

Yes, I was wondering if Commander and Chief got their idea from your book. Any comment on that Angie?

Catherine said...

adding to my last comment. Last year I saw a young man do a dramatic interpretation of Beckett's story. I thought it was fiction. His interpretation was so compelling it brought me to tears. This young man went on to win first place as it was a National competition, not only did he win first in that particular speech but he was the overall National Sweepstakes winning Speaker (there were over 500 high school competitors), best in the country.
I think you would have loved it.

Anonymous said...

Another one of my favorites ... one that elicited a second reading. The interweaving plots and the mysterious twists lead me to assert again that you may yet become Bookdom's latest Agatha Christie. Clyde