Colby doesn't mind controversy and she sometimes breaks a few rules. But I'll let her tell you more about this. Enjoy the post and be sure to check out the book trailer at the bottom of the post.
And now, Colby:
Hello, my name is Colby, and I have a problem with following rules.
*waits for chorus of, “Hi, Colby!”*
In thrillers and plenty of other genres, a lot of authors try their hardest to avoid controversial subjects. My issue tends to be that there’s almost nowhere I won’t go if it pops into my head, makes the story work, and most importantly, keeps the story real. Believe it or not, a double assassination of the president and vice president isn’t the most controversial thing I wrote in Chain of Command. (Nope, sorry. Can’t tell you here, but believe me, you’ll know what it is when you read it!) Everything I do in a story, I do it for a good reason.
That said, there is one rule no thriller author should ever break unless they want their own break…in their neck. It’s the one plot twist that can make an angry mob form outside your house at three a.m. the morning of a book release, the most avid reader attack you on Twitter, and your own grandmother not only disinherit you, but disown you all together…and legally change her name so the angry mob doesn’t come after her.
Politics? Sexual orientation? Religion? Nope. As far as I know, though the Catholic Church may’ve tried to pray the Dan Brown away, that backlash was nothing compared to what happens when an author breaks the cardinal rule.
An author cannot kill a dog.
Readers might tolerate human torture, but if you put a puppy in peril, you’d better watch the outcome. Because if that pooch goes down, so will you. For example I met a famous female thriller writer who once killed off a canine in a book, and years later, she still hears about it from readers angry she’d do such a thing. It actually caused some fans to swear off her books forever. They were that against reading canine cruelty happening to a pup character they’d come to love.
Other than that, thriller writers are pretty much free to explore any plot concept and push that envelope as far as they want to push it if they think they can do so and safely keep their fan bases reading. (Unless they want to skin kittens alive. That would probably be a deal breaker for some fans, too.)
How about you? In books, movies, or television is there any plot devise or character type that bothers you enough that you’ll put down the book, walk out of the movie, or turn the channel? What line won’t you cross? Or is anything that happens in reality fair game in entertainment?
Writer by day, ballroom dancer and choreographer by night, Colby Marshall is a contributing columnist for a local magazine and a proud member of International Thriller Writers as well as Sisters in Crime. She's active in local theatres as an actress and choreographer. She lives in Georgia with her family where she is hard at work on her new thriller.