Negative Space (Sutton Mills Book 5)
Negative Space was inevitable.
Not in the vein of a portent or prophecy, but simply because I've spent the majority of my working life in an office, so it was only a matter of time before I put Sutton in one too. Though the similarity ends there - neither location, industry, job role or characters were the same - the model was. Working offices anywhere are the same throughout the world, I imagine, simply because they're based on the same set of variables: people forced to work and interact in a contained environment with people who are neither family nor friends.
Of course, a working office is a lot more complex than what I've portrayed in Negative Space. Sutton is forced to wear a suit for less than a week; it's almost impossible to include all the subtle complexities in such a protracted period - of power, subjugation, petty jealousy, spite, recriminations, resentments - but I put a little bit in there. A taste, if you will.
That's not to say it's all bad. Friendships can be made, are made...but it's telling how few lasting friendships are forged in the workplace. Why is that? If you're anything like me, the number will be low. Humans are supposed to be gregarious by nature, but it's funny how few lasting bonds we really have outside of our own immediate circles.
I like the characters in Negative Space. I'm obviously predisposed to like them, but I think you, dear Reader, will like them too. For some, I have exaggerated their less reputable attributes for the sake of the story, but they are still believable nonetheless. BTR Energy was not based on any one business I have had the good fortune to visit, but I've certainly borrowed elements from those that I have seen.
So you could say that that this is a much more autobiographical novel than my other works...but of course they've all been, to a certain extent, autobiographical: experiences and observations, dragged to the surface like old cars from the bottom of a lake. From whence they came in my head, I couldn't tell you; if I had a different temperament, I might look upon such a thing with superstition. As I'm wholly pragmatic, I do not. But, like that disintegrating writer in the short story The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet, it's always wise to keep your Fornit happy and well fed. You know. In case the words dry up.
The Key Players
Sutton's sketches of the BTR Energy personnel