I set THE GNOSSIENNE MOMENT in the late sixties early seventies for two reasons. The first reason was because the sixties was a period of awakening for women. Where the fifties was all about women staying home and loving it, the sixties said get out there and discover. Discover your full potential as a woman. Discover work outside of the home and your place in that world. Discover the freedom of sex without guilt.
All the things I mentioned above are taken for granted today so writing a story about liberation and freedom, particularly where sex is concerned, would leave readers scratching their heads. They’d wonder why Charlie would tease Kimberly, telling her that “it’s not a sin anymore”. They’d wonder why the girls spent so much time talking about “waiting for the right one”. We’re fortunate today to be spared “the good girl/bad girl” take on sex, but sometimes that dynamic can add punch to a story as I feel it did in The Gnossienne Moment.
The second reason I picked sixties/seventies is because of technology. We all watch detective shows and read detective stories where the murder is solved most often with the help of technology. In fact, we don’t even think about the equipment and gadgets that help the law solves crimes.
In Chapter 36 of The Gnossienne Moment a telephone plays a pivotal role. Without a regular land-line phone and its connecting wire I couldn’t have written that chapter. But think about it, when was the last time you saw a telephone sitting on a desk? Bet you can’t remember. That’s because everybody uses a cell phone today. The 1968 movie Bullit with Steve McQueen brings home yesterday’s detective vs today’s detective nicely. In one scene where a cell phone would have been real handy, McQueen has to pull over and use a phone booth. Small thing, but so telling.
Is The Gnossienne Moment a period piece? Yeah, I suppose it is. The shaking up of old beliefs, the dawn of new inventions, women coming into their own, DNA ID just around the corner… What a time in our history it was, and for two country girls moving to the city it was a time like no other.