Domestic Violence, Heros, Fiction and Real Life

I finally finished my latest project “The Release – Escape From Torment.” (On Amazon, Paperback and Kindle) I have to say that completing it is a bittersweet moment. On the one hand it’s good to be finished with it and have it published, but on the other hand, I had grown to love the book. Taking the main character, Carrie, from giving up hope and resigning herself to dying to having the hope of everlasting life through Jesus Christ gave me a sense of fulfillment you don’t often have when writing. (I created a video trailer for the book here)

The book itself seemed to have taken a life of its own. I’ve read the final book a couple of times even after all the edits, and I find that I’m amazed that it was me that wrote those words. I still find myself tearing up in several places. It truely is some of my best work.

Before the final book went to press I had Denise Moore, Board Secretary of the Van Buren Domestic Violence Coalition read a prerelease copy of the book. Here’s what she wrote about it:

“This story is captivating from beginning to end. The author presents a realistic case of a woman trying to escape the man that abused her, something we see happen all too often. At one point I was so caught up in the story I had tears in my eyes for Carrie, and a few times I had to remind myself that this was fiction! The story goes on to show us how big our God is and how big His mercy and grace are.
I can hardly recommend this book enough.”

That is quite the recommendation and one I’m most proud of.

Domestic violence is one of those things that are difficult for people like me to think about. Writing about a victim of domestic abuse forced me to think about things I’d rather not. The pain, the grief, the loss. And as an example, why do women stay in an abusive relationship? There are many answers to that question, one of which is that they have nowhere else to go. When I spoke with Denise Moore, I discovered that there are no shelters in my county for abused women to go. In the book, I wrote that there was, but the truth is there isn’t. So where is a woman to go? Denise told me that their vision is to create a place that can shelter women and their children right here in the city where I live. But all that takes more resources than is available at the moment. So women and children suffer. It’s a hard thing to think about, but it’s also something that must be addressed.

In the book, I introduce a character named Chi (pronounced Chai, as in the tea). Chi has a lot of secrets that are hinted at, but one thing for certain is that he’s a stone cold killer trained by the military. He struggles to reconcile that fact with his Christian beliefs. He resists carrying a weapon even though he is specifically requested to by local police. There’s a dark history with Chi that I never fully explain in the book. In the end, he his approached by a representative of a secret government agency. Having recently been married, Chi rejects the attempts to recruit him, but the appeal to his patriotism and the fact that his actions will ultimately save lives is a powerful incentive. In the end, I leave the reader hanging a bit as to what he’s going to do.

I came to love the character, Chi. I wrote a lot of myself into him. When I needed to understand what Chi would do under certain circumstances, I asked myself what I would do. I know that under physical attacks I would do exactly what he did. Perhaps not as badly as he did but still, it would not be pretty. But what about pulling a trigger? I don’t know if I could do that or not. I’m just not ‘that guy.’

Now I have to decide if I’m going to take Chi further. Does a secretive government agency recruit him? Do I take him on adventures that are thrust upon him? Or do I simply let the character go and never tell the rest of his story? I’m still thinking that through. Hopefully, I’ll have some feedback from readers. What would you like me to do with Chi?

Ralph Nelson Willett
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