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Writing a “Sequel

November 22, 2020

My first novel, “Coda,” was written for production as a film distributed via the Internet.  “Streaming media” is an opportunity for aspiring novelists to write for films without a “release” in theaters. And a growing industry of streaming media providers are satisfying former theater goers with “movies” accessed from Netflix, Roku, Disney, HBO and other venues.

Writers write about what they know. 

Allen Drury’s first novel Advise and Consent, a 700-page bombshell about American politics won a Pulitzer and spent more than 100 weeks on the “Best Seller” list of The New York Times. Drury followed  Advise and Consent with A Shade of Difference (1962), set in the year after Advise and Consent, and Drury followed that with two books about Presidential politics in Capable of Honor (1966) and Preserve and Protect (1968).

Herman Wouk’s first novel, The Caine Mutiny, also won a Pulitzer. He followed that success with The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, historical novels about World War II.

Like Allen Drury’s novels, I read all of Herman Wouk’s novels at a time I was living in Miami, Florida and attending Friday Shabbat services with my Jewish high school classmates. Herman Wouk was serious about Judaism and my friend Arthur Finkelstein was serious about Israel.

As I struggle for examples of other novels like “Coda,” I think of Tom Clancy and The Hunt for Red October (1984), Patriot Games (1987), Clear and Present Danger (1989), and The Sum of All Fears (1991).

In some ways, these are all “political” novels, a subject I know best, though apart from election as a Republican Committeeman in Tarrytown, New York, I never sought a political career. I was fortunate to encounter great European émigré political philosophers in graduate school and aspired to become a political theorist. You can’t “do” political theory and campaign for public office.

As I struggle to find other novelists who write about American politics from the perspective of a Bill Buckley or Russell Kirk, I’m pretty much on my own. So the sequel to “Coda” continues Sen. Bob Hill’s quest to become President of the United States. But now, after November 4, 2020, his campaign must deal with a new President, Joe Biden, a vindictive ex-President, Donald Trump, and a RINO John Kasich look-alike from Ohio whose pollster ordered a “hit” on Sen. Hill that killed Sen. Bob Hill’s wife, Mary Hill.

Lurking in foreign capitols are enemies willing to pursue their interests at the risk of war. Sen. Hill knew that was possible and prepared for that by long study.

Wish him and me luck!

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