Sunday, 24 November 2013
Drama in an Engineering Firm
With The Reckless Engineer I wanted to create an engineering hero and a series about an engineering firm. The only hero in fiction I can think of who is an engineer is Barney from the Mission Impossible TV series. There is Q from the Bond series, but he is an old and geeky supporting character working from a bunker. There are so many legal and medical dramas, but where are the dramas centred on engineering firms? I wanted to bring an engineering drama to life, treated for an audience not familiar with the profession the same way that legal and medical dramas are.
The environment of an engineering firm in reality is just like in the book, so much so that this could be non-fiction but for the murder set in the middle of it. The characters are very realistic. Jack Connor, for instance, is of a somewhat smaller physique and tries to over-compensate for it by going after glamorous women. Women are somehow attracted to his brilliance and confidence at his work and well as the security and the respectability society assigns him because of his profession. Then there are people like Alan, Jack and Jeremy's boss at Marine Electronics, who make it to management positions because they have more people skills, are extrovert, and are better looking. Jeremy's character is still coming into its own and is in transition through the book and the series. He is emerging as a manager and a leader from the subordinate position he has been in so far. And then you have the super rich owners of these engineering businesses like the McAllens. There is also the occasional female engineer like Sally who is very introverted, outmanoeuvred at every opportunity by the much more glamorous and outgoing Michelle. These characters are a cross section of people you would get in an engineering firm in reality.
One important reason I wanted to create a hero like Jeremy was to attract youngsters to the field. I have deemed this particular story to be for an 18+ audience because it deals with infidelity in the plot. The future books in the series, however, will be very YA friendly. I want young adults to know how entertaining, satisfying, powerful, and glamorous the engineering field is so that they will be attracted to the profession.
An engineer would make a very strong amateur detective. They have brilliant, sharp, and analytical minds that are trained to absorb minute details in the environment. They are strong problem solvers and solution creators; solution creation to difficult problems is what engineers do in their day to day work. If you put a problem or a question before an engineer his mind will switch into solution seeking gear and the question will bug him until he can find an answer, until he comes up with a solution that will surprise those around him. An electronics engineer also has the means and the skills to build gadgets like hidden miniature cameras, miniature microphones, and other electronics surveillance equipment. They are mechanically good with their hands and can, for example, work mechanical locks as well as electronic ones. They have the capacity to hack into anything via software. This is why Jeremy is going to be a super amateur sleuth.