One thing that has surprised me in the new millennium has been the commercialisation of victimhood. Newspapers have always carried the odd sensationalist story of ‘My Ordeal,’ where someone, (preferably a celebrity for guaranteed ratings), has suffered and survived a situation that the rest of us breathe a sigh of relief about and say, ‘thank god that was not me.’ These stories are addictive and TV companies and magazines have competed for decades to find ever more harrowing confessions. The new century had thrown the internet into the mix, so viewers can now watch their heros daily battle with their demons.
My wife is a fan of woman’s weekly magazines, where knitting patterns and patronising articles on parenting advice have been replaced by stories of real life ordeals. Some may be ridiculous eg, ‘My Turkish Toy Boy made me, my mum and my daughter pregnant.’ Others carry much more disturbing tales of life and death.
I wondered if I could write one of these true confessions without straying into melodrama. It is a fine line. I liked the notion of a good person being driven to do bad things because they felt they had no option. It was a while before I came up with a wife’s reaction to her husbands PTSD as the story engine. Not an expected driver for erotic fiction, but who is to say it can’t be? Having the story unfold in confessional letters from beyond the grave, gives it that magazine feel.
Despite the awful things that happen to Jessica, I think Devotion and Duty is a redemptive love story. The power of love and sacrifice to heal the hurts of humans and the inhuman hurts of war. See what you think.