A Writer’s Dilemma

There is nothing new under the sun. I and every other writer knows this to be true. Sitting in front of a blank screen is not because there is a lack of input, it’s about what bits and pieces to pull out of the ether and mold into a story worth telling.

For me, while my short pieces cover many genres, my novels are political thrillers. I can’t tell you why, it just happened.

One weekend in the summer of 2009, while dog-sitting in the middle of nowhere, I read a book filled with stories of contemporary women writers. One honored her grandmother who had borne the yoke of slavery. In addition to the prose, she adorned her grandmother’s picture with lace, ribbons, and pearls, honoring the woman for her true status, not the one forced upon her. The realization and the impact of this act of love, truth, and defiance took my breath away.

Later the same day, I penned a poem about never forgetting. Untold numbers of families, including mine, have suffered genocide and slavery from the dawn of time. It happens over and over because we forget the tragedy and human toll. Each time, the leaders say, “This time it will be different.” It’s not.

Before I went to bed, I asked myself, “If it could be different, how would it look?”

The next morning, I answered, “Death without sorrow. What happens if a traumatized character wanted to make sure killers did not go unpunished and their family did not suffer for it.”

My note-taking began. I would get an idea and write it down. Months later, I had back surgery. My recovery would take four months. Perfect. I could write a novel in four months. No problem. In reality, I wrote my first draft. It took five years and nine revisions to finish and publish.

The 2009-2010 news carried stories about campus rape and college officials sweeping it “under the carpet;” relief food and materials for the people of Haiti, ravage by a fierce hurricane, sitting on the docks because the “stamps,” which I interpreted as graft, needed to move each shipment changed daily; and the ongoing conflict and war-refugees, upheaval and deprivation, between Ethiopia and its neighbors. These real-life crisis situations formed the basic themes of Seduction. Other headlines have found their place in the entire series.

I write every book like it’s my last. Whatever ticks me off during development often influences the book. The anger fuels my passion and I pass that onto my characters whose behavior, reactive and proactive, drives the story.

Seduction. Why that name?

The initial reporting on the first US-Iraq War mentioned ordnances – a lot. Being normal, I had no idea what they were talking about. One day, a reporter used the word “bombs” and “ordnance” equivalently. I had been listening to bombing reports. The armed forces, in conjunction with the government, with intent, used an unfamiliar term to disguise brutal assaults and “collateral damage” to minimize civilian deaths.

Seduction initially referred to murder, invoking the method the vigilante used. However, as I kept writing, it expanded to “gaslighting”, consenting and non-consensual sexual behavior, and persuasion, where the arguments dilute, manipulate, or omit the truth. I condensed this broad definition down to the tag line: Love. Loss. Leverage. Murder.

Thank you for starting my blog journey with me.

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