As I’ve discussed before, one of the best advantages of self-publishing is the ability to write about anything you want. Even if it’s not, from an agent’s standpoint, very “marketable” (and that’s a highly subjective term). If you’ve been following this blog for a while, or if you’ve read any of my books, you’ve probably figured out that I lean more toward the dark and the serious. In particular, religious turmoil (like this book and this one) and the real hardballs like consent.
That last topic is huge: no one book can adequately do it justice. Which is why that subject will appear again in my next book, tentatively titled SHADES OF DOUBT. Unlike Someone You Already Know, which focuses on the victims of abuse, this book takes a different spin by focusing on the accused perp himself, and the girlfriend who wants to defend him.
Why does this subject matter so much to me? Because I used to be that girlfriend. Only the assault I tried to excuse and justify was my own.
Crime reports show again and again that most victims are assaulted by someone they know. And whatever you think a rapist is “supposed” to look like, the majority of them don’t come across that way. Too often, they are popular, well-liked, respected pillars of their communities. They often have good jobs and loving families. They are, quite frankly, the last people you’d expect to be accused of something like rape.
Which is why so many accused rapists never see a day in jail, much less the inside of a court room.
You may have heard the expression “gray rape.” It’s a favorite of defense attorneys and politicians who try to explain away rape accusations with little evidence by claiming they are the result of misunderstandings. He wanted it; she didn’t; he read into the situation one way; she says something completely different.
This is a book that will explore the personality, relationship history, and family background of one accused “gray rapist” in an attempt to understand how he turned out the way that he is. What complicates matters even more, both in the book and in real life, is that plenty of men commit acts of rape and don’t see themselves as rapists. There are people who genuinely believe that saying yes to sex once means saying yes to sex at all other times. There are people who believe that sex is something they are “owed” after a nice date. And the women who suffer as a result are often brushed off with, “Well, you know how men are.”
I want this book to be an instigator in the discussion of why we say such things. I want readers to come away with an understanding that rape is not the black-and-white issue many of us think it is, even though it should be. I don’t expect all readers to agree with me. But the important thing is to start talking.
You can read the first chapter here. Also, here is the full synopsis (no release date yet, but stay tuned!):
Adelaide Scott is a 25-year-old relationship advice columnist for Stunning! Magazine. Her new boyfriend, Jordan Johnson, is a renowned photographer for Sports Unlimited. On the surface, he is everything a woman should want: Good-looking, hilarious, and charismatic. Their relationship seems perfect…until an ex-girlfriend confronts him, and publicly accuses him of raping her.
Jordan swears he did nothing wrong. In fact, he’s so confident in his innocence, he draws up a list of all his ex-girlfriends for Addie to “interview” in order to prove he’s a good man. Desperate to believe he’s telling the truth, Addie complies with his request, using the magazine she writes for as her cover: She will pretend to undergo research for a future column about sexual assault, in which the former girlfriends will be anonymous participants. But what if the women don’t want to talk? Or worse – what if Addie doesn’t like what they have to say?
It doesn’t help that her best friend and editor, Kiersten Sharp, sees rape as a black-and-white issue, with no shades of doubt. Addie is about to discover that the truth – in all its forms – is complicated, and not at all what she expects.