A terrorist attack on the Texas border, attributed to Mexican drug cartels, coincides with the federal government’s passage of a sweeping amnesty bill. This becomes fodder for the Texas Legislator, which pressures a weak governor to create a Select Joint Committee on Immigration Reform.
A handsome, charismatic former rocker and poet, John David (JD) Dothan unexpectedly wins his district when the long term Republican candidate goes down in disgrace. The night of the election the representative-elect hires a youthful, inexperienced, Tryphena Taylor as his Chief of Staff.
Quickly befriended by the Vice-Chair of the new Select Joint Committee, the freshman representative finds himself sitting on this prestigious yet controversial body with his “first love,” Senator Rachel Logan. Together, JD and Rachael become the public face of the committee’s contentious legislation.
Through a maze of liars, deceivers, egos, and the weight of his own romantic emotions, Dothan must navigate. But he is being pulled not only towards the ugly reality of power, but his own redemption as well.
Targeted Age Group:: 25-65
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
For a long time I wanted to write an artist dropped into an anti-artistic environment. I began with a notion, or epigram: If the nature of art is a search for truth, the nature of politics is the concealment of it. I’m also interested in star-crossed love. Dump these things into the Cauldron and you get a poet in the legislature and his first love happens to be there as well.
I started tinkering with the Representative in February of 2011. I put the manuscript on hold till I had a tour of the Texas legislature. I picked it up again after the 83rd session and it took about seven months to complete.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
John David Dothan: Again, an artist in a snake pit. I referenced my background as a musician, and then gave him a background that would inhibit his natural instincts to rebel. In this case his father dying at the cusp of his adolescence. He has dilemmas and decisions that turn on this flaw, a flaw which acts as the fulcrum of his character.
Rachael Logan: A classical woman enamored of the arts. Her politics are the result of a personal tragedy that, given her role, renders it a dark secret. She loosely resembles a woman I once knew.
Tryphena: Tryphena is African-American. She comes from the lower strata and was born with two strikes against her. She refuses to accept this. She is based off of another woman I once knew who shared her name as well.
A swelling took place in Dothan’s face, a swelling of emotion. Tears began, which he could not control. It would be an overstatement to say he wept, but in so as much as the cowboy was capable, he did.
Twenty-five years is a long, long time. No one in the world knew what he had harbored. In many ways he had for himself, as Benet had so eloquently commented on General Lee, ‘kept his heart a secret to the end, safe from all the picklocks of biographers.’ Life had crushed him. But he wore his defeat quite well—for after all, he did have art. The scars looked good on him. But they were still scars. Scars that refused to surrender their story, until now. It would be an exaggeration to say the flame burned unwaveringly. It was more like an ache, something that recurs with a change in the barometric pressure: an old broken bone. But it was there. It was definitely there. And neither the cynics nor the businessmen could ever confiscate it from his possession. And now…? Now he had his chance to consummate the past.
In his few spare instances, Dothan expected Rachael to change her mind.
Rachael had no intention of changing her mind. If anything, she now, for reasons long directly associated with Dothan, considered herself a fallen woman. It was the only true thread that ran through her life. If she were a puppet, the strings were attached to John David. But she was not a puppet; she was an individual and responsible for her own actions.
Why can’t I resist this undertow? she asked herself.
Rachael was an intellectual woman. She had read everything from Romanticism and Consciousness to the Feminine Mystique; the bulk of her reading, independent of college curriculum, like Dothan, possessed that rarest of ethos: a passion for knowledge for the sake of knowledge. This was most un-American of them both. Her conservatism, though perhaps rooted in a regional bias, was to be found in a personal tragedy.
Rachael considered herself a fallen woman….Absolutely.
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