Further to yesterday’s post: At the same time Gene, the protagonist of Secretocracy, is struggling with the presidential administration, his private life is problems on steroids. He has been separated for more than two years, but his wife refuses to cooperate on a divorce. A woman he has been seeing rejects his attempts to break off the affair, and his college-age son is told that the older woman he has been sleeping with is pregnant.
Gene lives in the attic of a palatial mansion in northwest Washington. His housemates include his landlord and two other renters. The house and Gene’s experiences there are drawn from my own history after my marriage failed following the fall of Saigon. When my wife and I separated, I lived in the attic of a shared house in an exclusive part of Washington because I was so poor—I still had to support my wife and four children and somehow manage to have a place to live. Life in a large house with other single men showed me a rough and colorful side of life I didn’t even know existed.
Part of the challenge of Secretocracy is bringing together the professional and private lives of the protagonist. Once the book is published, I’ll find out from readers how successful I’ve been.
Another challenge is splicing in the new scandals of the Trump administration as they occur. Just as I think I’ve finished a section of the book, something new breaks. I’m currently adding references to the Helsinki summit and the backtracking by the North Korean government. Yesterday, I worked in the president’s intent to withdraw security clearances from his critics. Today I’ll look for places to stitch in the president’s decision to withhold from the public information about his telephone calls with foreign leaders.
So far, I’ve never used the president’s name in the text. I hope I can keep it that way.