Darian Wilk recently posted a wonderful review of Painted Black, and also gave me an opportunity to write a guest post for her blog. In it, I explore what it was about the streets of Chicago and the people who live there that inspired me to tell this story. I hope you will click the link to read the whole article.
There is also a week left to WIN A FREE COPY of Painted Black by entering the giveaway on her site.
I have always felt an affinity for the disenfranchised, the outcast, the underdog. Volunteer work with the homeless seemed a natural outlet for this calling. Fully intending to pursue this option, I researched before relocating and discovered The Night Ministry in Chicago had a mission statement that spoke to me. Their goal is to build relationships that empower people to meet their own needs. They do that while “recognizing the uniqueness, dignity, and value of each person.”
This was exactly what I wanted to do: to “be” there when someone needed to talk, laugh or share their tears. To try to feed their hunger, physical and otherwise.
I’m not good at preaching, debating social issues, or advocating political change, although there is a place for all of those. I am good at writing. Storytelling. And the alienated and overlooked in our society are filled with stories that deserve to be heard.
The problem is no one wants to listen. Not to them, not to anyone standing on a soapbox trying to make everyone listen. There are many reasons why people want the homeless to remain mute and invisible. Most commonly it is because it makes us uncomfortable to think something as horrible as homelessness could happen to good people. It’s so much easier to think a homeless person is there simply due to some deficiency on their part: mental illness, addiction, lack of ambition. Those issues are often factors but the person who is homeless is in many ways, at some level, no different from anyone else.
So my effort to tell the important tales, to spread the lessons I learned on my journey, needed to find a voice that people could hear without being reminded of their own vulnerability. For me that voice is found in fiction, and in this particular case, suspense fiction. ….read more
via Darian Wilk.