Guest post: Ellen Holiday, Inside the Beltway

My good friend Ellen Holiday has a new book out that I’m incredibly excited about. From the first time I laid my eyes on her words I’ve loved Ellen’s writing. She has a way of getting inside a character’s feelings and motivations that is absolutely captivating.

Some of you may remember her from Coming Home, the story we co-wrote for the Love is Always Write event.

Ellen kindly accepted my invitation to guest post; here’s what she had to say.

Inside the Beltway – Politics and Passion

They say that when you come to Washington, D.C., it’s only a matter of time before you’re hooked on politics. For me it was practically Day One. I started to listen to C-SPAN in the morning, and from there it was a long, quick slide into being absolutely fascinated.

Maybe that means I’ve succumbed to inside-the-Beltway thinking. But the whole world of politics is so interesting to me. Money, power games, scandals and back-room deals. The austere, antiquated rules of Congress in the crazy jungle of the Internet age. And a game with the highest stakes in the world: the world itself, people’s lives, health and jobs and war and peace. I have forgotten how it’s possible to think of it all as boring. Sure, the procedure drags sometimes, but lives and livelihoods are literally on the line every time. I can’t look away.

One of the things that interests me is the anatomy of a scandal. What makes the world blow up? Shifty use of money? Personal lives gone public? Hypocrisy? And no matter what the scandal, the playbook is so standard. First you deny, then you hem and haw, then you tearfully admit your mistake but pledge to go on fighting for your constituents, then you resign because it’s a distraction. Sometimes the scandal ends before one of these steps — just see Charlie Rangel or David Vitter for examples of politicians who are scandal-tainted and still kicking around. But this is how it always goes, every single time.

I wanted to turn that on its head. And I wanted to explore what happens when a politician finds himself to be a human. And that’s why I wrote Inside the Beltway.

Davis Hudson is ready to make a name for himself. He already was a name in local politics, but the climate is right and he’s ambitious, so he makes a barnstorming speech on the floor of the Senate – the kind that gets you noticed. And he gets noticed, and invited to CNN, where he meets a makeup artist named Kurt Lamb who instantly fascinates him.

Davis, who was married once but hasn’t cared much for romantic attachments since then, finds himself falling hard. He tries to fight his feelings, and to concentrate on his career, but he can’t help himself — he’s madly in love.

As if a lover, and rumors swirling about his running for president, aren’t enough, Davis has personal and professional enemies, and when his secret gets out he has to face the typical Washington scandal. The question is, can he avoid the typical Washington response — and still be able to pursue his ambitions?

Inside the Beltway is available in ebook and paperback from Dreamspinner press. I hope you have a chance to read and enjoy it!