The Spectrum Between “Good” And “Bad”

E. A. Coe
E. A. Coe Author Interview

The Other Side of Good follows a police officer and a criminal ring leader as they work together to try to put a stop to human trafficking in the city. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

😊 Denton (Ten Ton) Jones was a support character in the first book I wrote (Full Count). He was so popular with the readers of that book (about a small college baseball team) that I wanted him in a lead role as a grown-up in TOSOG. In Full Count, he was from Cincinnati … so I was sort of “stuck” with Cincy. In another lifetime, I worked in the dinner-boat industry and had some familiarity with Cincinnati as well as good contacts there. Like many large cities, Cincinnati has several rough neighborhoods, and in Full Count, Denton came from one of those. Since I wanted to write a thoughtful novel exploring the spectrum between “good” and “bad,” it was easy to presume Denton might have had a friend growing up who didn’t take the same path as himself.

Denton Jones has to determine what is good and bad in a situation where the good guys are not always what they seem, this causes conflict in him as he has tried to be on the right side of the law and morality.

What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

That, absent perspective, “good” and “bad” are just labels. Even as we develop laws to try to define the boundaries, they continue to evolve, often changing the boundaries. I used examples in the book, like slavery, which was perfectly legal in most of the country 170 years ago; marijuana, once outlawed everywhere in the states, is now legal in some form in all but a few.

To determine right and wrong, sometimes we must depend on our personal moral compass in the context of an existing environment. Denton, (at times naively wearing his white hat) must relax his prejudices about his former friend’s illegal practices to assist him in stopping something worse than drug-dealing. Theo (wearing the black hat as an intelligent criminal) rationalizes his illegal activities, but readers recognize solid decency in some of his opinions/choices.

Without trying to influence reader opinions one way or the other, I hoped they might recognize a little of Denton and a little of Theo in themselves. Beyond the totally “black” of trafficking and the totally “white” of assisting underprivileged children … most of us live somewhere in the gray areas between.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

  1. Without being “preachy” … the importance, depths, and degrees of friendship.
  2. That spiritual beliefs, like laws, also evolve and that we should keep our minds open to where they converge in our world.
  3. The danger of stereotypes
  4. Our slow but steady march toward ethnic homogenization
  5. The perspectives of poverty versus privilege for children growing up in our country

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Tentatively titled, Pedaling West, the book follows the cross-country route (Virginia Beach to Mendocino) of a female bicyclist who lost her job and her boyfriend during the beginning weeks of the COVID-19 crisis. She decides to “reset her life” with the biking journey, unaware she has information that might expose her former (corrupt) employer to severe criminal charges. It’s part travelogue, part drama, with a little romance thrown in.

My wife and I took the exact route of the biker (only rural roads, no interstates) for fun in November. We went in a nice car, stayed at good motels, and had a blast! The trip changed the book, too!

Depending on a variety of factors, I think the book might be finished by late spring.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

When reputed criminal Theo Jackson proposes a donation to the city for a new youth center, the mayor sends Theo’s childhood friend, police officer Denton Jones, to negotiate the terms.
Denton’s efforts inexplicably make him a target for a corrupt city official, but a dishonest bureaucrat is the least of the city’s problems. Theo uncovers evidence of an international criminal organization facilitating human trafficking in the city. Repulsed by the crime, Theo enlists an unlikely coalition of clergy, law enforcement, and criminals to try to stop it. 
Follow the characters to the uncomfortable gray areas of life where the wrong thing sometimes seems a better choice than the right thing; where a little bad turns into almost good; and where dark white and light black become the same color.

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The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on February 12, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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