I’ve struggled the last week-plus with what to say regarding current events. Not that anyone’s chomping at the bit to hear what I have to say about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and every other black person who has lost their life due to police brutality — but I feel I have an obligation to speak out, both as an author who writes fiction involving police and as a white person.
Black voices are the most important, and they should be listened to and amplified, but white people have a responsibility as well — not just because historically, we’ve been responsible for the violence that is now front and center, but also because we have the platform, the societal clout, to atone for our collective past and forge a new way forward.
I’m well aware this post might cost me some fans. My last newsletter that even sniffed of politics resulted in a lot of people unsubscribing from my newsletter. And you know what? That’s fine. If this sort of thing makes you mad, then chances are, you wouldn’t like my work. And to paraphrase the late Kurt Cobain, I don’t want racists and sexists and homophobes as fans anyway.
Behind the Badge (Jill Andersen #3), in large part, because of the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore several years ago, and the epidemic of race-inspired police brutality that surrounded it. It mattered to me that my fictional cops took a stand. In real life, the good cops don’t stand up to the bad cops. In Behind the Badge, they did just that.
But now I see that’s not enough.
That’s not to say the series is ending. It’s not; I have plenty of Jill Andersen stories to tell, and I wouldn’t be a writer if current events didn’t inspire them to some degree. Jill is, for better or worse, the muse through which I work through issues like this, and don’t be surprised if that manifests within the next several books in the series.
But for now… Black Lives Matter. They just do. Not matter more than, not matter instead of… just matter. They matter. And the people tasked with protecting us are killing them indiscriminately.
It feels weird promoting the Jill Andersen series in the current climate — I mean, come on, how tone-deaf would it be to tell people to buy my detective mystery series while everyone’s screaming to either eliminate or transform police? But I think fiction still has a role to play here, and I’m committing to pledge my next three months’ worth of royalties to organizations and charities supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement.
So if you decide to buy my books, you know where your money’s going. It’s up to you how you feel about that. But the reality stays the same, regardless of whether you believe in the movement or not.
About J.D. Cunegan
J.D. Cunegan is known for his unique writing style, a mixture of murder mystery and superhero epic that introduces the reader to his comic book-inspired storytelling and fast-paced prose. A 2006 graduate of Old Dominion University, Cunegan has an extensive background in journalism, a lengthy career in media relations, and a lifelong love for writing. Cunegan lives in Hampton, Virginia, and next to books and art, his big passion in life in auto racing. When not hunched in front of a keyboard, scratching a pencil over a piece of paper, or with his nose stuck in a book, Cunegan can probably be found at a race track or watching a race on TV.