Mark Hunter (ozma914) wrote,
Mark Hunter

The Writing Process: The Influence of John Adams

Coming Attractions is a romantic comedy set in modern Indiana, so naturally there's an appearance by John Adams, second President of the United States.

I don't recall exactly how that happened, but I can guess. I've been fascinated by John Adams ever since I went on a class trip to see the movie musical 1776, in 1972.

Why they didn't release it in 1976, I don't know.

I'm also not sure which came first: Adams, who's closely connected to Boston, Massachussetts … spell that three times fast … or having my book's heroine, Maddie, be a Bostonian herself. Knowing my interest in Adams and his times, I suspect I put Boston in Maddie's background just to have an excuse to drop in quotes by and mentions of Adams.

"What do you think of my new hair style? Jefferson will be so jealous."

It worked out pretty well. John Adams is a hero to Maddie, because of his dedication and his willingness to do the unpopular thing, if it's the right thing. Adams was also our first one-term President, and famously described himself as obnoxious and unpopular. He seldom cared if he hurt the feelings of others, and spoke the truth as he saw it regardless of how it made others feel. By the time we first meet Maddie, an attorney as Adams was, she's starting to question whether she's also becoming obnoxious and unpopular, and whether it might be for less worthy reasons. She feels she's being pushed to do the wrong thing by her boss--who happens to be a descendant of the Adams family. (Not the Addams Family--different story.)

As the story goes on it becomes something of an in-joke that she likes to quote Adams, to the bemusement of our Hoosier hero Logan Chandler. But she's using those quotes to voice her own conscience, and steer her in what she hopes is the right direction. To her John Adams is the voice of not just reason, but determination--and one reason why she begins to question her own direction.

Just to be clear, there's no singing, and no appearance by Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin. I don't think a musical would translate well into a novel.

Oh, did I mention you can find Coming Attractions, and all our books, here?

I'll bet I did.

But wouldn't it be better with singing?

Tags: 1776, coming attractions, history, john adams, the writing process, writing

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