I got a bunch of paper copies of BLIND JUSTICE in the mail recently, and it prompted me to start thinking about the book and why I wrote it.
First of all, obviously, I wrote it because Ed Greenwood asked me to. He was launching a new series of novels through Onder Librum/The Ed Greenwood Group, and I was honored and thrilled to be a part of it (BLIND JUSTICE is the third TEGG book released). But Ed had nothing to do with the subject material of the book or its direction or any of that. That was all me. So why?
I guess the short answer is, I was angry.
I wrote BLIND JUSTICE from a place of anger. Of rage and of outrage. For years, I have watched story after news story about rapists, murderers, and other abusers escape justice, and always through casting aspersions on their victims. Questioning what they were wearing, obfuscating their lack of consent, singing about blurred lines. (Oh yeah, I *HATE* that song with a burning passion.) The events and characters in the novel are all created for the book and not based on anything or anyone from real life, but they *could be.* Easily. And that’s the point.
I purposefully set out to look at the evil that men do (yes, men–not all men, but it doesn’t take that many), and that’s what the book is about: human evil in our modern world. Evil that we turn a blind eye to, and the bigoted, ignorant, or selfish reasons we do.
Seraph the Justicar is a manifestation of humanity’s urge for vengeance. Unbridled. Unrestrained. Unchecked.
And Maria Ruiz–my human lead? She represents the human need to temper such violence with justice.
It is no accident that throughout the novel, Ruiz wonders not only whether she can stop Seraph, but whether she should. The daemon goes around killing people without trial–holding them accountable using only her own (generally perfect) judgment–and humans just can’t do that. But at the same time, perhaps she is doing us all a favor by doing what she does.
This informs the ultimate confrontation. Don’t worry, though–I won’t spoil it. 🙂
All of my books are about two things, ultimately: 1) the tension between justice and vengeance, and 2) identity, and this book is no exception.
Ruiz’s ethnic/cultural identity and orientation is not causative in the book–she could have had a different identity and the book still would have happened the way it does–but it’s extremely important. She resides at the intersection of numerous vectors of hate in the book, and she could be a target (not victim–target) of a number of the novel’s villains. She *is* targeted with their harassment on many occasions, and the way she deflects, deals, and/or copes with it is meant to shed light on how those dynamics often play out in real life. However much she wants to lash out and attack her harassers and oppressors, she usually doesn’t, because she recognizes that won’t always help and might very well make things worse.
And lest I be misunderstood here, I am not attempting to explain anything to anyone of those identity vectors I don’t share–female, POC, non-straight. You already know how life is and are experiencing it every day. I’ve got nothing to tell you on this point.
This is me attempting to explain something to people who share my identity vectors–male, white, straight. To folks like me: while I don’t know everything about issues of race, gender, and sexuality, I have some awareness of it, and I want to invite you along the same path. We’re all learning. It’s an ongoing conversation.
To an extent, Seraph’s identity also informs the book. Her sexual orientation is unclear, but her human form is a WOC, and that is purposeful. Not only because her raison d’etre is to punish the abusers of people who look like her, but because too easily people who look like me (a straight cis white man) see themselves as the saviors of the oppressed, rather than (at-best) allies in their struggle. And that is what they are–at best–in this book.
And most of us in this book? We’re the villains.
No, we don’t get to pretend we’re the plucky heroes. We don’t get to imagine we’re Marty McFly while acting like Biff. We don’t get to vote for fascists and call ourselves the real Americans. We don’t get to imagine that just because we’re white and male, we’re good or noble.
If we want to help, we have to *earn* it, and that means taking a hard look at the awful things we let happen, because we don’t step up to stop them.
There is no white male savior in this novel–no square-jawed cowboy with a white hat–nor will there be in the sequel. I am not rushing to the rescue. I am not in this book at all.
BLIND JUSTICE is not mine. It never was.
I mean, I wrote it, but I didn’t just write it for myself.
I want to help. I need to help.
And to those who look like me–who have the influence or privilege or whatever you want to call it that I have–I want you to want that as well.