My A-Z theme this year is a guide to my trilogy of novels called ‘The State Trilogy’. Set in an unnamed island country known only as ‘The State’, in the imagined near future, the books follow the intertwining stories of a number of characters, principally a State police detective named Danny Samson and an assassin, Gabriella Marino, over a period of six years. It begins with the assassination of an elected official and spirals into revolution and civil war. Part political thriller, action story, war story and dystopian science fiction, the trilogy took three years to complete and the books are available to read now – you can find links to purchase them HERE
In The State Trilogy, ‘J’ stands for:
Journalism: The theme of the second novel, ‘State Of Denial’. I’m a sucker for investigative journalist stories, especially the superb ‘All the President’s Men,’ and others like ‘Spotlight,’ ‘Zodiac,’ and conspiracy thrillers like ‘The Parallax View’, or even Oliver Stone’s ‘J.F.K.’ These were the sort of tones and ideas I had in mind for the book, including starting with a scene in a dark underground car park. From there I started to look at journalism in the context of a dictatorial State where freedoms were under pressure, and to dissent was to be put in danger. The State has shut down any plurality in the media by taking control of most outlets, allowing them to control the news and information flow. As the novels go on to show, that can never be a good thing. At the same time, journalists and the media also share the burden of responsibility in accurate and unbiased reporting, something which is sadly lacking in our current societies around the globe.
Jai Li: An elder in the village in the wilderness. I particularly wanted to draw attention to her name and ethnic background, bringing into focus immigration issues and the treatment of foreign nationals by a nationalistic government. Sadly, due to length and plot focus, I don’t think I really explored her character as much as I could have, or perhaps should have in the books, but the idea was there, and she still serves that purpose of hopefully making the reader think about some of those issues.
Jarrod and Jonas: Foot soldiers of the Independents, lieutenants of the engineer Giesler and experts in explosives and diving. They are selected to help carry out Phillips’s final throw of the dice in ‘State Of War’.
Julius: A member of Xavier’s crew on the people smuggling boat who provides vital information to Danny and Gabriella. His name was another deliberate nod towards the influence of the Roman era on the trilogy (see ‘R’ entry: Rome).
Jenny: Befriended by Lucas in the hospital orphanage, she becomes an adopted big sister to him and helps with his medical treatment. Missing an arm since birth and abandoned by her parents because of this, she symbolises the debate around genetic engineering. Part of that debate is what would happen to those with disabilities in a society where 99% of people are genetically ‘perfect’ (for want of a better word). She is about to become an adult and will no longer be able to stay at the orphanage, when the civil war breaks out. Her chances of receiving State help in terms of housing and income are lost because of the war. She decides to escape with Lucas when the chance presents itself, and attempt to flee the State.
John Curran: A veteran journalist who has taken Maxine Aubert under his wing in ‘State Of Denial’. In the end, it is Max who shows Curran the error of his ways, reminding him of what it means to be a journalist and to use his position to hold those in power to account. Originally from Central City, Curran has made his career in the Capital. Once a diligent and respected journalist, he is past his prime and spends his time dutifully covering the State Chancellor’s press conferences.
Johnathan Sadiq: A minor minister in the Central Alliance Party government, who is chosen to stand against incumbent State Chancellor Lucinda Románes in the election. He is a puppet candidate who knows he will not win, but stands to gain further credit within the party in the hope of future promotion. He stands to maintain the illusion of a challenge to the Chancellor, to maintain the illusion of democracy, when there is in fact none.
Janette Michaels: Danny Samson’s commanding officer in the Central City State Police, head of the detective unit. While revealed as not complicit in the scandal that Danny uncovers, she chooses to remain loyal to the State and is promoted as a reward, moving on to the Capital City police in future novels.
All the entries in the A-Z of ‘The State Trilogy’ can be found HERE
The books are available from a wide selection of online retailers, including AMAZON