Putting the Corona Virus in My Next Book

Many have asked writers whether or not they were going to do it–include the virus in their next work of fiction. My answer at first was no, and I started writing my next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery to be right after Christmas. But as I was writing, I realized at some point in this series I’d have to mention the virus–after all it is affecting all of us.

Another thing I considered is the fact that the virus and what it has caused may be with us for a long, long time.  It is far too big a happening to be ignored and everyone is being affected by it in many ways.

I began thinking about my ongoing characters and how they would feel about what was going on, the new rules and the restrictions. Like in the real world, because they all have different personalities, they all have different reactions. And, oh, my goodness, there is a wealth of  varied beliefs and feelings in my own family as well as on Facebook to pique my imagination as to what each of my characters might be thinking.

When I started doing that, I realized what great fun I might have. Will my police officers be good about wearing their masks when working? How do they feel about it? Who are willingly staying home? Who are resisting in a mild way, and are they a few who are completely rebellious?

Intertwining all this will whatever crimes are happening in Rocky Bluff will not only be fun to write, but a challenge as well. Do I know my characters well enough to know how they will react in certain situations complicated by the virus? I certainly hope so.

At least this is distracting me enough not to be too sad about missing all the in-person events I’d planned to go to before they were cancelled. My hope is that everything will change enough for us to see a more normal 2021, but I’m not making any bets.

Share you thoughts about all this, won’t you?

Marilyn who writes the Rocky Bluff P.D. series as F. M. Meredith




13 thoughts on “Putting the Corona Virus in My Next Book

  1. Marilyn, I like how you are visualizing how your characters would react. Because I live so rural and it has little impact on me, I wonder if I could create the same “frenzy” that I’ve witnessed on Facebook. My only real link with it all. From what you said, I think it will enhance the way your characters interact and work at solving the murder.


    1. Paty, we are in the thick of it here in Silicon Valley and I may have mentioned my husband lost his sister to the disease in early April. If this virus keeps marching at the speed it’s marching, it will probably impact everybody one way or another, if it hasn’t already. I still don’t think I will put it in my books, but who knows what the future holds?


  2. Well, you’ve certainly given me food for thought, Marilyn. My latest book, Casting Call for a Corpse, debuts August 1, and it was beyond adding anything about the virus in it by the time of the outbreak, thank God! But this has preyed on my mind for my next book. Unless I start a book in my series that takes place during WWII, it is something I will have to think about. Does it automatically date the book if COVID19 is included? What if they do come out with a vaccine and the disease is relegated to something similar to influenza? I go in and periodically update certain things in my books to keep them fresh. Would this be one of them? Or moving forward, do I just add that everyone is practicing safer sanitary methods, a little beyond the practices done previously? Could I just have one of the characters say, “Don’t forget your mask” to another character and get on with the story? Is alluding to the pandemic enough? I write cozies for the most part. How real do I want them to be? How read does the reader want them to be? Yikes! Time for another cup of coffee. Maybe with a little whiskey in it. But thanks, Marilyn, for bringing this up. It is for sure something we all have to think about and do what we are comfortable with doing.


  3. Not including it in my books. Don’t want to read about it either, especially since we have no way of knowing how it’s going to play out. That’s why it’s FICTION.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Terry, I love the certainty of your remarks. And you make a very good point. I feel better. No whiskey in my morning coffee. Frankly, I don’t want to read about it in my fiction, either. I get enough on the pandemic with the news.


    2. I couldn’t think of anyway not to mention it. It is fiction, but it would have to be science fiction to work in my police procedural.


      1. My police procedurals take place in fictitious towns, where I make the rules. I’ve never mentioned major political figures, or even the year the books take place. I like to think I’m providing my readers an escape from reality” and I don’t think I’ll change it. My unofficial surveys show most people don’t want to read about the pandemic, at least not now. But it all depends on who you ask, so my results won’t necessarily match up with anyone else’s.


  4. Saralyn, I really couldn’t see how I could avoid writing about it. We have no idea how long it’s going to last or how it’s going to affect our future.


  5. I just wrapped up one series (Penningtons Investigate) and am planning a new series set in the same vicinity; some characters will show up in the new books. One character happened to be in Italy when the virus hit (I didn’t know until the book was done what dire consequences that could carry). So the new series will start sometime in fictional 2021 with hope and relief, acknowledge the holes, pick up the pieces, and move forward. I kind of think that’s what many of us will be doing in 2021. In the meantime the universe has allowed me to regain my rights to the series that preceded the Penningtons and I am working hard on revisions (I had no idea what I was doing and didn’t get much editing support). While each series has its own arc and personality, I believe they will flow together in a continuum similar to … was it Jon Kabat Zin who called it “full catastrophe living?” 🙂


    1. I’ve re-published everyone of my books and was amazed at all the mistakes I found event thought each one was edited several times through the years.


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