The themes in my novel, The Kosher Delhi include the issues of racism and homophobia, the need to stand up to bigotry. And so I wrote my book with scenes and storylines which try to show how wrong they are. I won’t write any spoilers here by saying exactly what happens, whether or not the wrongdoer(s) get their comeuppance and so on, but either way, I am trying to make the reader agree/understand that people shouldn’t be racist or homophobic.
But herein lies my problem: are most of my readers already going to believe that anyway? In which case, why do I bother? Am I writing for the choir or for the nonbelievers?
On the one hand, if I am writing for the choir, for those who already think like me, then so what? That’s fine. I hope those readers still enjoy the book, and they might even be able to get some inspiration from it; to continue any battles they already fight to try to eradicate such problems. Maybe they will give a copy to someone else who they think could learn something from it. But even if they simply nod gravely to themselves and say, yes, that character is a bad person, and then get on with their lives, then that’s fine too. My number one aim is to write a good story. To make people want to know what happens next. Regardless of whether character X is a racist. But if I can also add some social or political commentary, then great.
But if I did discover that someone read my book who maybe hadn’t considered these issues before, or had come at them from a different background, or point blank didn’t like gay people, but, who, after reading it, found that they had to question some of their thoughts, then that would be fantastic. And yes, I know I sound a bit self-righteous by saying all this, and if so, well, so be it. If I’m breaching this subject then it’s not always easy to write about this without sounding that way. Not in a brief blog post anyway. (And okay, yes, one could argue that maybe I shouldn’t try in that case, but hey, I wanted to say this).
So even if The Kosher Delhi causes just one person to consider just one aspect of racism/homophobia/similar bigotry so that they might think differently in future, then I’d be happy. Surely that would have a potentially bigger impact than simply preaching to the choir.