“And I said, ‘Who the f**k uses, a pay phone?”
The Arkells “Leather Jacket”
In response to the question posed in my favorite Arkells song: ALL THE PEOPLE WHO LIVED BEFORE THE TIME OF CELL PHONES!
One thing freeing about writing historical fiction is there is no concern about how to incorporate social media and cell phones into a book. I’ve read contemporary novels where I feel cell phone usage overtakes the novel and while it might be true that teens are glued to their phones, it’s just not that interesting to read sometimes, especially if it is a pages long texting conversations. (Do teens even text anymore? I heard it’s all messenger or FaceTime.) There also several books I’ve read that alluded to social media by using versions the author made up and it rings false to me. That said, there are books written several years ago that did choose to use the names of real social media sites and those sites are either not very popular anymore or not used by teens very much. It’s hard to keep up and even harder to figure out how to use social media effectively in a book (at least for me). In historical fiction, no such problems exist! In my next book, The War on All Fronts, a college freshman has to wait to use the community pay phone in his dorm. Imagine the conflict if he can’t find a dime or someone is using the phone! In order to communicate with his secret boyfriend overseas, he has to write letters. Yes, writing historical fiction has its challenges. There is so much you have to get right! Alas, social media and all the problems that come with it is not something you have to worry about.