Politics-free zones? Um… (Brenda Hiatt)

Several other authors have already addressed the subject of book banning (for the record, I’m vehemently against it), so I’ll talk about a slightly different controversy: authors broadcasting their political views in public. 

Some people feel very strongly that authors (and other artists like actors and singers) should keep their political opinions strictly to themselves. That their job is to entertain, not to “preach.” Others feel just as strongly that anyone with a large public platform is obligated to use it to spread their political views…at least if they happen to agree with that public figure’s views. Personally, I feel that’s a decision every author—and artist—has to make for themselves. 

I know authors who are very “out there” with their political opinions, posting stridently about them on social media, while their actual books may or may not be political. Others are extremely secretive about their politics, terrified of alienating readers who might not agree with their views. I can respect both approaches. As I said, it’s their decision, not mine. 

For myself, I very rarely voice my political views when in my author persona. In other words, I stay mostly away from politics or controversial topics when posting as my author-self on social media or during public appearances as an author. Still, anyone who knows me (or pays close attention to the few things I let slip while playing author) can probably figure out where I stand on most issues.

When it comes to my books, however, I’m more than willing to inject my political opinions…but I’m sneaky about it. The fact that I write science fiction (and historical romance) makes this easier, since I’m not writing about current, “real world” politics. Oh, but the parallels I can draw! 

I’ve always believed that it’s easier to persuade people to your way of thinking if you can entertain them along the way. I think they’re much more likely to absorb the ideas you want to impart while they’re a step removed from real-world (divisive) politics. Yes, when I write a book, my number one goal is to engage and entertain my readers. But hey, if I can nudge them into a better way of thinking at the same time? Double win!

Brenda Hiatt is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the award-winning
Starstruck series, each book packed with sparkling romantic adventure…and sneaky politics.


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