Today I am very happy to welcome Lloyd Otis to Liz Loves Books talking about Contemporary or Historical settings as part of the Dead Lands Blog tour. Information on the book follows.
Dead Lands: contemporary or historical settings? LLoyd Otis
Does your story work better in a contemporary setting? In crime fiction the protagonist may need access to the internet, a mobile phone, or the police investigating team may need to use GPS data or CCTV footage. Technology can help the villain commit the crime, and it can equally lead to their downfall. Alternatively, your story may work better if set in the past. The existence of technology may be incompatible with the time period. e.g. there were no computers in the 17th Century, no cars either. So it’s really about the environment that the author wants to build. They may want a more simplistic setting perhaps, where the tech doesn’t dictate the story. There could be many other reasons too.
If we think of the decade of the 70s we think of Concorde being introduced, a time when men showboated super-thick moustaches and sideburns, and women wore Joni Mitchell style Kaftans and Diane von Furstenberg’s wrap dresses. Or we might think of the unusual as in Ziggy Stardust. If we think of politics, then it’s the pivotal movements in the country like the three-day week and the emergence of petrol hoarders on the back on the nation’s energy crisis. We had what we’d now describe as bad hair moments, ones we thought were hip, and it was the time of platform shoes and shirt collars so wide they could be mistaken for wings. Poor race relations and discrimination separated the police from the communities, people took sides, robust attitudes were aired, sexism was rife. Disco music brought in a little fun and hippy culture from the 60s still flourished.
There was a lot going on and the 70s looked like the best place for detectives such as DI Breck and DS Kearns to roam. Kearns is a mother, estranged from her daughter, while Breck is trying to make up for not being there for his partner when she needed him most. Real problems that everyday people still experience, and will always probably experience. What makes their story compelling is that Breck and Kearns attempt to figure it all out slap bang in the middle of the UK punk movement amidst the time of the Clash, the Sex Pistols, and places like the Roxy Club.
There was a certain cool associated with the 70s and it built its own identity to the extent that if someone walked down the road in full 70s attire today, you’d be able to place the time period immediately.
With Dead Lands, having the ‘march’ in the background, was the foundation for the story’s social climate. Yes, I could have Breck and Kearns slotted into a contemporary setting but there’d be quite a few things that would have to change. Attitudes, Breck’s particular type of Florsheim leather loafers, and other more intricate things which would in effect, change parts of the characters.
This dive into the past gave Breck and Kearns plenty to play with. It enabled me to attach them to many different unique retro situations and have them meet a variety of interesting characters. Quite frankly, there was a lot going on in this time period, and it was just a case of choosing the right parts to focus on.
About The Book:
Dead Lands is a thrilling crime story set in the 1970s. When a woman’s body is found a special team is called in to investigate and prime suspect Alex Troy is arrested for the murder. Desperate to remain a free man, Troy protests his innocence, but refuses to use his alibi. Trying to protect the woman he loves becomes a dangerous game – questions are asked and suspicions deepen. When the prime suspect completes a daring escape from custody, DI Breck and DS Kearns begin the hunt. Breck wants out of the force while Kearns has her own agenda and seeks revenge. Breck has his suspicions and she wants to keep it from him, and a right-wing march provides an explosive backdrop to their hunt for Troy. Lloyd Otis brings a startling account of the past back to life over a burgeoning ’70s landscape, and delivers a thrilling piece of crime fiction that will excite any fan of the genre.
Follow the Tour!