As a storyteller I am often asked how I arrive at the subject matter of my novels. The answer may be as simple as something popping up in my mind which I immediately recognize as a topic that would make an interesting book. As per the quote on my website, authors do not choose a story to write, the story chooses us.
At other times, it is more complex and many elements come into play. It can be because of an overheard conversation or a bit of news heard or read. A combination of the latter is somewhat how the petroleum industry became the subject of The Hell of It All.
Many years ago, a young man told me that he knew of someone who had invented an amazing car engine that ran without gas, and that the patent and prototype had been bought by a large oil company. I wasn’t sure if that were true, but the premise was intriguing to me and I kept it somewhere in the back of my mind. As the price of oil and gas continued to escalate, I began to wonder if petroleum companies were protecting their interests at all costs, including doing all they could to prevent competition in the form of new engines, electric or otherwise. From there, I saw that integrating that element within a family saga would be a most interesting project. And it certainly was for me.
So, is the story based on facts or is it pure fiction, I was asked recently. Somewhat tricky question to answer because while The Hell of It All is fiction, I am aware that like most writers my work is influenced to some degree by my beliefs. In this case, my conviction that we have an urgent need to reduce our dependence on oil.However, I think my novel is garnering great reviews because the characters show their humanity through their flaws in their interactions, something we can all relate to. Their vision may not be above reproach, but to them it is the only road to follow even if they don’t always win. How it all comes together makes the story.