Happy release day, A Stunning Accusation!
You know that song by Rachel Platten, “Fight Song,” that you probably find yourself belting out alone in your car (or is that just me)?
Well, A Stunning Accusation is my “Fight Book” (“Take back my life” book, “prove I’m all right” book…). It is my favorite work I’ve fiction I’ve written so far, precisely because it’s the one that took the most out of me – emotionally and physically. It’s hard work to make an accused rapist look like a good person to keep readers guessing. It’s hard work to write characters that represent multiple facets of rape culture, and write dialogue that brings back hurtful memories of when I heard similar sentiments from people I know in real life.
But I think it came together to tell a story that is at once provocative, insightful, and hopefully full of mystery. I love this story because I forced myself to set aside my personal biases to play different roles: there’s no agenda in this book like there was in my first novel. I think it’s honest and raw, but above all, it’s real – and I hope it reaches the hands of readers who need this story most.
“So I met with another one of Jordan’s exes today.”
“Oh, that’s right. So is JJ still not a rapist?”
Talk about a loaded question. Holding my wine glass by the stem, I spin it on my knee, contemplating how to answer. “Long story short, he tried some kinky things she didn’t like, so she asked him to stop, and he likened it to a second-grader pulling a girl’s hair to tell her he likes her.”
Kiersten’s eyes bulged as she held her glass close to her lips, as if anticipating shocking news that would require an emergency pump of alcohol to face. “That’s it?”
“Uh, yup. That’s what she said.”
That’s what she said. Ha, ha.
“Wow.” Kiersten sets the glass roughly on the table, causing the Merlot inside to vehemently swish. “Jordan’s dated some pretty weird women, if that’s their definition of assault.”
“Well remember, they weren’t the ones who accused him. Only Samantha did.”
“Right. Why don’t you just forget the whole ‘interview’ thing and get the information you want straight from the horse’s mouth? Quit wasting your time with his exes and just talk to Samantha already.”
I had considered doing that. Funny how Jordan didn’t recommend I do that in the first place. Unless she’s just too volatile, too fragile to confront. Not to mention, I could never use a fake identity with her. She’d know exactly who I am and what I’d want from her.
“Maybe I will later,” I say. “This is still worthwhile, though. I’m too intrigued to give up now, especially when there are still two more names left. I’m halfway done already.”
Kier shakes her head. “Allow me to give you my unsolicited opinion, since I’m your best friend. You aren’t getting anything useful from them. At all. They sound like lonely, jilted women who saw an opportunity to dress up the story of their failed relationships to get sympathy, and you know what? It’s working. Don’t you see? Maybe they’ve seen through your little charade and are just playing you.”
“I don’t think that’s what–”
“They’re cobbling together stories to put doubts in your head so you’ll dump Jordan! That’s what they want! They hate him for not wanting to get serious, so this is their payback. Not the best kind that I’ve seen, but still ruthless in its own way.”
“And what could they possibly have to gain from this? Wouldn’t falsely accusing someone only come back to bite them in the ass?”
Kiersten seems to consider this. “You would think. But who says Jordan dates smart women?”
It only took a few seconds to realize her mistake. “Oh, shit, Addie, I didn’t mean…”
“You meant to say that Jordan only dated bimbos before he met me,” I clarify for her. “Thanks to me he’s raising his standards.”
“Exactly what I meant. Cheers?”
We clink our glasses.