The editing process went fairly well, but I do remember one thing that came up: my editor, who lives in Chicago, questioned a couple of incidents in the book. Racism is one of many themes in the story, and she found it hard to believe that a policeman would hassle a mixed race couple on the street in our time. And she wondered about the reasons behind McLane’s father’s mindset–where did his attitude come from?
I’m sure her bewilderment was genuine, but so was mine. The incident with the cop and the couple came from my own daughter’s experience (she’s Asian and she was dating an African-American man). But they were in an urban area where perhaps police are familiar with women being hassled by all kinds of men. Many times we assume a situation is racist when it’s not.
On the other hand, who can say where racism comes from? We don’t have to be taught to prefer people who look and think like us. That’s a natural human tendency. (In fact, I found an online quiz that demonstrates this–take the test if you like and see if you have ingrained preferences. )
I asked some writer friends if racism was alive and well in their communities, and boy, did I get affirmative answers and anecdotes, one of which I used in the novel. Bottom line: racism is alive and well in this country, but political correctness has driven it underground. We’re all a lot more sensitive, but racism hasn’t gone away.
So I did some work to clarify my points . . . and the final result was, I think, a better book.
Tomorrow: Results and reader reaction. And don’t forget–if you have a question, please leave it in the comments box! I’ll collect them all for “comments” day!