Hillary Clinton, Whitney Fairchild, and the “Woman Card”

Many readers have asked me whether the character, Senator Whitney Fairchild, in Don’t Speak is based on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In my novel, Whitney, a beautiful, charismatic Democrat from Missouri, is running for president of the United States in a hotly contested Democratic primary against a good ol’ boy senator from Nebraska.

In real life, presidential candidate Donald Trump recently accused Sec. Clinton of playing the “woman card,” meaning either her path to president is easier because she is a woman or her womanhood is her only qualification for the job or the only reason a woman would vote for her is because of her gender or she only cares about “women’s issues” or some combination thereof. Whatever he meant, his statement was offensive, not only to Sec. Clinton, but to all women.

Any woman knows there are few things in life that are easier because you are a woman. More women than men graduate from college, but only 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. A woman in some cases must work twice as hard as a man to be recognized (and sometimes paid less) for the same work. Women in the workplace put up with stereotypical comments that are seen as positive traits in men, i.e., a woman is a “bitch,” a man is “demanding.”

Clinton’s accomplishments as an attorney, First Lady, senator, and Secretary of State, making her one of—if not the—most accomplished women ever in the history of US politics—speak for themselves. The only position she attained because she was a woman was First Lady, and even then she reshaped the role forever by her efforts to reform health care and creation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which now provides health care to eight million children. In addition, to helping children, she helped first responders impacted by 9/11, negotiated a cease fire in the Middle East, and orchestrated the killing of Osama Bin Laden. These are not your grandmother’s women’s issues.

As for women only voting for women, women make up 51% of the population and more of them vote than men, but still only 20% of US senators are women. As an aside, during a recent snowstorm, every female senator—Republican and Democrat—showed up for work. None of the men did.

Maybe Donald Trump needs a “woman card” to “get stuff done.”

Whitney Fairchild is based on extensive research I conducted for the novel, studying the lives and works of many great Democratic female senators. Not only Hillary Clinton of New York, but also Barbara Boxer of California, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, and Dianne Feinstein of California.

Although Hillary Clinton is poised to shatter the ultimate glass ceiling—and become the first woman president of the United States of America—Whitney Fairchild is her own person, with her own personality, history, and life and work experiences.

But don’t be mistaken…Whitney aims to break some glass of her own.

DON'T SPEAK - The Journey

I started this journey back in October 2010. At dinner one evening, my wife, Audi, said, “You’ve read your entire life and always have a book in your hand. Sometimes two. You have a passion for reading. You should write a book.” I looked at her in surprise and in my best Michael Jackson voice responded, “I’m a reader not a writer.” [In “The Girl is Mine,” Michael sang “I’m a lover not a fighter.”]

That night, I dreamed the original plot for Don’t Speak. When I woke up the next morning, I researched online how to write a novel. I wrote for school and work, but rarely wrote for pleasure. The Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson resonated with the analytical side of me. I recorded my dream on paper and began outlining my novel. Over the next year, I woke up at four a.m. every day and wrote for two hours before work. And I am not a morning person. At all. But I found my passion. Writing awakened the creative side of me. I realized I had a story to tell.

It’s been a long road. I learned a lot on this incredible journey, about writing and myself. Writing is not a linear endeavor, but more like a stock market graph; there can be amazing highs and gut-wrenching lows. I met many people in person and online who supported, motivated, and cheered me on, and let me know I was not alone.

I put the manuscript on hold for months at a time as life got in the way. There have been major revisions. But the main characters—Jade, Whitney, Cole, and the killer—were born in my dream that night long ago and have taken on a life of their own. And now Don’t Speak allows me to share them with you.

I hope you enjoy reading my novel as much as I enjoyed writing it.