The D. C. Angle
February 19, 2012
I am a career-long Washington bureaucrat. I’m also the daughter, sister, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of bureaucrats. The first in this line, my German immigrant great-grandfather, was a friend and colleague of Teddy Roosevelt. D. C. is in my bones. It’s hardly surprising that my novels Secretarial Wars and Let’s Play Ball are set in and around the nation’s capital.
I’m also a fan of chicklit. I particularly enjoy stories that feature strong women in conflict with one another, or not-so-strong women struggling to survive. At the risk of losing IQ points, I follow all of the Real Housewives franchises on Bravo TV. I love catfights; the dumber, the better. Chicklit and politics are two threads that seem to combine in my own stories. But how well do they really mix?
There’s nothing like a good Washington scandal. To be worth its salt, it must lead all the way to the top, to the Oval Office. Watergate still takes the prize, owing to its complexity and the numerous threads that took years to unravel. But it would’ve been spicier if it had featured more women in starring rather than peripheral roles. On the other hand, the Clinton-Lewinsky affair had enough sex and sleaze for anyone, but in the end that’s all it was. Not enough threads to make for a really compelling tapestry.
My stories have been criticized on plausibility grounds. How likely is it that a mere secretary (in Secretarial Wars) or the twin sister of a sportswriter (in Let’s Play Ball) could use their positions to roil the White House and help to bring down a President? Well, it gets complicated, but that’s why they call it fiction. If you’re going to build fantasy worlds, they might as well be fantastic.