It gives me great pleasure to welcome David Bethel, author of Blood Moon to Linda’s Book Bag today to answer a few questions I had about truth and fiction as David’s writing mixes real life situations and total fiction.
On a hot, steamy afternoon in Miami, Cuban-American businessman Recidio Suarez is brutally beaten and abducted. Handcuffed, shackled and blindfolded, he has no idea why he has been targeted. What he discovers is heart-stopping. What he endures during almost a month of captivity compares only to the most horrendous stories of prisoners of war. He is tortured, and under the threat of death, and worse – the rape of his wife and torture of his children – Suarez is forced to hand over his multi-million dollar holdings to his captors.
Suarez survives and then spends the next few months staying one step ahead of the murderous pack. During this time, he and his lawyer, Nolan Stevens – a former Special Agent in Charge of the Miami Office of the FBI – are having difficulties convincing the Miami-Dade Police Department that a crime has been committed. Their efforts are complicated by Steven’s difficult history with the head of the MDPD Special Investigations Division, who is not interested in pursuing the case.
Truth is Stranger than Fiction
A Guest Post by David Bethel
David, what draws you to writing fiction as well as non-fiction?
A good story draws me to writing fiction. That story can be either one based on fact, as is my novel Blood Moon, or one conjured up entirely by my imagination, as is my novel Evil Town.
In both instances, the story is so compelling that it draws me to the keyboard and won’t let me loose until I complete telling the tale.
In general, writing non-fiction is more an intellectual exercise. I become intrigued with a bit of information and find myself drawn to researching the issue…person, place or thing. If what I find is interesting to me, I usually decide it would be so to others, and I share it.
What do you think an aspiring writer could gain from fictionalizing factual events?
In the case of Blood Moon I found that translating this true crime story into fiction forced me to tap into a dark side of myself that I usually do not mine in such depth. In the process, I discovered that I had the ability to describe aspects of this disturbing story in a way that most have found believable, and by “believable” I mean readers find the story unsettling.
That said, being in control – being the creator of this world – allowed me to bring justice (some will see it as vigilantism) to the psychopaths who ruined the lives of a number of good people.
What can an aspiring writer gain? Another perspective on events and polishing their talent to bring that perspective to life.
Which is likely to be more shocking – fact or fiction in your view?
Without the true events that informed Blood Moon, I might never have been able to conjure up such a situation, but without my imagination, which allowed me to take the tale to another level, the novel might not have been quite so appealing to many readers.
In the end, there is probably nothing truly “new” on the face of the earth. All writers borrow from our experiences to create, shocking and otherwise. Bottom line I suppose, without fact there would be no fiction.
Have you had to rein in your fiction because of your background, or has it been a rich source of material?
To write Evil Town I mined 30-plus years in politics to deliver a world that is believable and compelling to the reader – or so I’ve been told — and accurate in all aspects that relate to how the system works in Washington. Far from reining in anything, I have embellished on what I know and what I have experienced.
There are writers who are so blessed with talent that they can produce works of fiction merely by conjuring up stories and worlds without having the benefit of life experience. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote This Side of Paradise when he was only 21 and had yet to fully experience many of emotions he so skillfully wove into this classic novel.
Unlike Fitzgerald, and some others, I am not so gifted. I use every bit of my “background” to write. Without it, I would be barren.
Well I think your books look fascinating, David so thank you for explaining a bit more about them.
About David Bethel
John David Bethel spent a career in politics and government. He currently lives in Miami with his wife and two very spoiled dogs and writes novels, the first of which, Evil Town, was also published by Tell- Tale Publishing.