Callie is probably the most complex character in Virtual Silence. She has to go on a long journey to find herself, to discovery who she really is. And when she comes to some conclusions about herself, she takes an even longer journey back home; gets lost, faces a monster, and gets rescued by a pistol-packing older lady.
Harry Bones thinks Callie is his girlfriend, but Callie isn’t even sure she’s straight. She mixes drinks at a sleazy bar in Oakland, but somehow feels at home there, at least temporarily.
The novel is about human beings finding their spot in a difficult world, but Callie’s story is perhaps the fractal microcosm of the bigger story. Too bad about her parents being total drug snorfs. Doink that!
Simon was the first character I imagined for this book. In fact, the dream he has toward the end of the story is from a dream I had years ago.
Simon is the Key Screening Person (HR Director) for the Amalgamate United Corporate, which does so many things, for some many people (yada yada yada). He does the hiring, orientation, personnel reviews and firings. It’s his job to hold everyone’s professional fate in his hands and stand aloof, like he could not care less. But that’s just not his personality.
He’s also in love with Morgan Vale, but too scared to say anything, in case she thinks he’s gross or evil. Or worse, she could discover that he really does like Air Supply and Neil Diamond.
Harry Bones (pronounced Bonus) is the innocent young savage in Virtual Silence. He’s worked fast food and grocery stores. Now it’s time for a grown up job in a Brave New World, where the unemployed are shipped off to be slaves in Mexico.
The love of his life is Cally, who is far away in California now, as Harry starts his first day at work at The Amalgamate United Corporation, which does so many things, for so many people; All at Once.
Harry just wants a paycheck. And he doesn’t speak Spanish.
Someone once said that all of our fictional characters are really just small parts (or big ones) of the writer’s psyche. If so, then Harry is that part we try so hard to hide when we’re older: I was never that naive!
Yes, you were.
Art is that young, single, clean-shaven, flat-topped up-and-comer with an MBA who got stuck taking notes for the wrong boss. He watches everything. He notices everyone and what they are doing. It’s not because he’s an eagle-eyed opportunist. It’s because his job is to write down everything Tim Dank says on a yellow legal pad from the moment Dank arrives in the morning until he goes home at night. It is also his job to write down everything anyone says to Dank on a yellow legal pad all day.
But at home he is an artist, a painter, a story teller. Unfortunately, his mutt dog Proletariat is his only audience.
Art has two important “Come to Jesus” moments in the book. I like him so much, I am putting him in another of my novels. But we’ll talk about that later.
Morgan is a strong female character in my novel, Virtual Silence. She is the Facility Material Resources Supervisor, in charge of requisition and stores for such daily-use items as paperclips, staples and paper, for the Amalgamate United Corporation, which does so many things, for so many people; All at Once.
She is also the leader of an anti-technology, anti-corporate-conglomerate group called The Virtual Silence Brigade. They want people to unplug from the TV, the internet, their mindless jobs, and smell the petunias for once.
Morgan is in love with the Key Screening Person, Simon De Mont; a mousy man with the heart of a lion. But she’s afraid that telling him might open a can of worms that could devour her little protest group, and change her life not entirely for the better.
Morgan’s copy of the company’s employee handbook is in pristine condition, having sat on her cubicle desk untouched for 15 years.
I was listening to Fresh Air on National Public Radio yesterday, and Terry Gross spoke with Jeremy Denk, a fantastic pianist. I thought his name was Dank until I looked him up online.
I was, of course, disappointed.
Tim Dank is the villain in my new novel, Virtual Silence. He is the boss from hell. While he tells you that you’re part of a great team, he is planning your demise, just in case he needs to rub you out (from the employment roster, mind you). He isn’t just the “Coffee is for closers” type. He worships his employer; even has an altar to it in his office. He would take a bullet for the firm. He lies, cheats and steals for the sake of the company.
He is like the printer from Office Space. If you could, you’d . . . well, you’d swear at him.
He’s the guy who thinks Portal of Wisdom is a great name for his office doorway, and Collaboration Education is a great name for the daily pep talk.
And he sleeps with the wrong woman, who writes down everything he says while he talks in his sleep. Hmm, she’d make a good secretary.