I was inspired to write my first novel Inside the Skin (formerly The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor) by life experiences I earned back in the late ’90s, early ’00s while working as a navy Equal Opportunity specialist, experiences the focus of which centered around the harassment, abuse, injury, and sometimes sadly even death as a result of the hatred for and confusion of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy which had recently been implemented throughout the military.
As an EO guy, I was right in the thick of the implementation, traveling around the Western Pacific training sailors on the new policy, investigating incidents of harassment and abuse, counseling those in need, among other things. To say the least, it was a job that at times could be very harrowing and stressful.
But it was a job that provided me the insight I needed to write Inside the Skin with an informed yet detached perspective, the type of perspective I did not have for the storyline of The Good Kill when setting out to write it back in July of 2017.
The Good Kill is a very dark, very violent story of many harrowing things, all of which center around sex trafficking, the buying and selling of humans for sex — adults, teens, children, babies. It is a subject of which I knew very little about at the time, but enough of which to generate the outrage needed within me to want to write a 400 page novel about it.
It’s not an easy subject to have to research. It was very hard thing for me to do, not just reading the news reporting and watching the documentaries focusing on the subject, but getting on the Tor browser and digging down deep into the Dark Web, as close as I dared to go to where the transactions are being made, to where the buying and selling of humans occur.
It isn’t nice and it’s quite indellible.
And then there are the other lesser but equally distressing storylines that I also needed to learn more about — PTSD, ISIS sex slaves, honor killings, the Syrian War, Russian assassins…
There are so many wonderful, beautiful things this pretty but petulant planet of ours has to offer and for us to celebrate…
However, just dig even a little bit under its bright, pretty surface and it gets dark and violent and ugly and very scary real fast.
Let us be kind…
Let us be careful.
Featured image courtesy of this joint.