Black Oil, Red Blood hit the shelves, I found myself on the receiving end of some pretty nasty comments from people who shall remain nameless. Specifically, people accused me of writing a book about the oil spill in an attempt to profit at the expense of Gulf Coast residents.
THIS BOOK IS NOT ABOUT THE OIL SPILL. This book is a novel that was fully plotted and more than halfway written before the oil spill even occurred, so it couldn't possibly have been conceived as an attempt to profit from the spill.
Rather, here's how the book came to be:
I am an attorney, and I used to work for a firm that sued Big Oil for wrongful death and personal injury due to benzene exposure. (Benzene is a chemical component of crude oil and gasoline.) Most of my firm's clients worked at oil refineries or were exposed to jet fuel or worked on oil tankers. Part of my job involved reviewing medical records of people who were suffering and who had died as a result of working with and around oil. My experience at the firm was the inspiration behind this FICTIONAL book.
I have wanted to be a professional novelist my whole life. In 2008, I developed a severe chronic illness and could no longer practice law. I decided maybe the illness was a blessing in disguise because it gave me the opportunity to write. When I started developing the plot for this book, my first intention was to tell a good story. My second intention was to raise awareness about the dangers of oil (and also the politics of oil) through the medium of popular fiction. The book contains science on benzene as well as possible reasons the price of gasoline has gotten so high lately.
The book is about a wrongful death attorney named Chloe Taylor whose expert witness is murdered right before a key hearing. She believes the defendant in the case, big oil industry giant PetroPlex, is responsible for the killing. As Chloe tries to proceed with her law suit, she gets in over her head and finds herself in the middle of a secret plot to manipulate the energy market, artificially inflate the price of gasoline, and generally cause riots, chaos, death, and destruction on a global scale.
You'll notice there's nothing in that plot description about an oil spill. But there is plenty about what oil and the politics of oil are doing to our country today.
Here's the Truth. Take it or Leave it.
The truth is, it has never been my intention to trick you or use you. If I have mentioned you in this blog or linked to your site or otherwise embedded material you have licensed for share on YouTube or Facebook, it is not because I'm trying to use your work to sell books. It's because I'm trying to raise awareness about the dangers of oil. I'm trying to help you reach a larger audience than just Facebook or Twitter members. I'm trying to help get the word out.
I care so deeply about this cause that I'm donating ten percent of the 2012 proceeds of this book to Gulf People Helping People.
Folks have said to me, "If you really cared, you'd donate 100% of the proceeds." Well, sure. In a perfect world, we'd all work for free because money would never be an issue. But my reality is, I am chronically ill and can't even get out of bed on some days. Meanwhile, I have six figures in law school student loans (with a minimum payment of $1,000 a month) and medical bills of about $700 a month. I'm not whining about that. Those are just the facts. One way or another, I've got to pay those bills, and I'm just trying to make a living like everyone else in America.
So to the haters out there, you're entitled to your opinion about me and my reasons for writing the book, and I will not personally attack you for it. But I'm telling you and everyone else that your opinion is unfounded.
A note on discord
As I became involved on Facebook and connected with other activists, I have been shocked at the amount of discord and in-fighting among people who really should all be on the same side. A house divided against itself cannot stand. This was true two thousand years ago, and it's still true today.
We're all fellow activists. We all care about the planet and its people. We are all fighting for the same thing against an entity that is much, much bigger and richer than any of us.
I call on you to STAND TOGETHER to make a difference. If we don't, we will never be able to create change.
It is possible to disagree about the facts and causation of the Deepwater Horizon disaster without being a complete and total jerk.
That is all. Thank you for listening.
As soon as