Thursday, August 9, 2012

Reality TV: The Novel?

The book Panic Button is set around a Reality TV show. What? My thoughts exactly, so I just had to pick the author's mind and find out how did he get inpsired to write this interesting book.
First, here it is:
When Angie Specter won a slot on the Reality TV show, Panic Button: Lighthouse Island, she promised herself she wasn't going to be involved in a showmance. She’s a serious contestant and wants that $250,000 prize. Showmance contestants are weak and foolish, and Angie has no intention of being used by some handsome guy.

That is, until she meets Hank. Not only is Hank Cross very handsome, he's as strong and capable as Angie. When the show's crazy host begins using terror to drive contestants off the island, Angie and Hank quickly figure out that if they don't help each other, they may not live long enough to push their Panic Button
How did you get inspired to write a novel set around a Reality TV show?
We watch a lot of Reality TV in my family. Big Brother is the main event this summer, but we’re also addicted to Survivor, America’s Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars, American Idol and The Biggest Loser. We’ve been through Boot Camp and Charm School and raced around the world. We’ve witnessed triumph and defeat, loyalty and betrayal, romance and cheating, revenge and vindication. And just when we finally get so sick of a show that we’re certain we can never watch Reality TV again, a new season begins with a dozen more options to choose from.
What all of these shows have in common is a driving sense of competition propelling the players to push themselves to win the prize at the end of the season. They require physical strength, intelligence and an indomitable will to persevere. Most of the shows also depend heavily on social skills—the ability to form relationships with other players to foster your own chance of winning while convincing your competitors that helping you is the same as helping themselves.

These social skills add a psychological dimension not found in most shows and my family and I find it utterly fascinating. Why can’t people see who their real threats are in a game? Why can’t they band together to save themselves? Why do the nasty people so often reach the end game? And why do so many couples fall into the showmance in which one partner is so often and so obviously taking advantage of the other?

If you stop to think about it for a moment, the theoretically unscripted phenomenon that we call Reality TV is tightly packed with many of the elements necessary for a great story. There’s conflict, intriguing personalities, heroes, villains, trials, friendship and often a little touch of romance. I

It’s the perfect setting for a gripping story and when I noticed the call for submissions for the new Reality with a Twist story, I knew I had to try my hand at one.

Writing a novel in a Reality TV setting was a serious challenge and in its own way much more enjoyable than simply watching the shows. It wasn’t enough to develop a great show concept—eight individuals sent to a deserted island where their increasingly unstable host would attempt to drive them to quit the contest by pushing the panic buttons attached to their microphones. Every player had to be completely believable—people you could run into in your everyday life.

The challenges also needed to be credible—taxing and frightening but things a real show could get away with putting contestants through. And finally the dozens of human interactions—especially the blossoming romance between my heroine Angie and her competitor, Hank—had to feel one hundred percent genuine if the book was to hold itself together.

So welcome to Panic Button—the sort of Reality TV show I’d like to see on the air. I hope you’ll give it a try.

If you were one of the contestants would you have made it to the end to claim the prize?

Why don’t you leave a comment and let me know what you think?

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