Someone told me last night that they have no interest in reading novels that are about issues. I had explained that the book I'm working on is about fracking, frac-sand mining, and also about a mixed-race, mixed-religion high school couple. He said that didn't interest him in the least.
However, he has read my current-trying-to-get-out-in-the-world novel, Slider's Son, and loved it. That book is loaded with issues: Native American relationships with whites in the 1930s, Germans' reactions to Hitler in the same period, the winding down of the Great Depression, poverty, history, etc.
So....not sure if that means he's only interested in story, or if maybe I have enough story going on that he didn't realize there were imbedded issues. Of course, I started out to write a good story, not to make it an issue book, and the issues just sort fell into it.
Maybe that's the key: the story has to carry everything. But we know that as writers. It's the readers who need to be cajoled into reading by saying "it's about...." the story, not the issues. Just pondering.
AND, my agent as asked me to find a Native American writer who would be willing to read my MS. He's scared to market it without a stamp of approval that it is not insulting, and treats the Native people in the story with respect.
So that's my quest. If by ANY chance, you can help me with that one, let me know, please.