There are plenty of writer memes alluding to our work (published or unpublished) as our children–“book babies.” Sometimes, delivering them feels a bit like pregnancy and childbirth: You’re nauseated at the thought of the whole process, you can’t sleep, everything about what you’re writing feels uncomfortable, you get writer constipation, you just want it to be over, and then comes the pain of bringing that book into the world. Much like with your child, once you hold that first real copy of your book, all the trauma goes away, and you’re ready to do it all again.
How’s that for a simile?
Believe it or not, three years ago this month, my series A Perfect Hatred–the work that took me 20+ years to deliver–got its start with the publication of book one, End Times.
It Can’t Be Coincidence
In 2017, when End Times was being readied for publication on April 19, 2018, I noticed that the news cycle seemed to echo what I was writing about, which had happened 25 years before. History repeating itself? Indeed, it was, and whereas it didn’t result in a federal building destroyed in the name of “freedom,” it did result in a young woman losing her life in Charlottesville, VA, when an avowed right-wing extremist drove his car into a crowd protesting the presence in the city of a group of torch-carrying white supremacists who had chanted “Jews will not replace us.”
As more of the Charlottesville right-wing protesters, who also pointed guns at and beat up people of color, some of whom were not participating in the protest, were arrested and their social media history came to light, I recognized in them the same philosophies–and I use that word lightly–and rhetoric that put Timothy McVeigh in a massive truck bomb on April 19, 1995. Some of the same groups I’d researched then were present in Charlottesville, but worse than that was the fact that plenty of new, more violent ones had formed in the interval.
It was as if these hate-mongers had kept quiet in the Bush years (likely because they agreed with the objective of getting revenge for 9/11) and bided their time in the Obama years because they didn’t want it to be that obvious they were racist white supremecists.
Then along came a Presidential candidate and later a President who “spoke his mind,” “told it like it is,” “wasn’t politically correct,” and the right-wing loved it. Here, at the highest level in the land they had someone who believed like them, and they felt that gave them free rein.
And after giving them their head, this highly placed person sat back and let them do their thing, all the way to January 6, 2021, when they tried to stop the certification of a free and fair election. The terrorists who stormed the Capitol spewed the same hate that I’d researched in the 1990s, which was based on disaffected groups from the 1980s, which were the same kind of people who rejected the expansion of civil rights in the 1960s and 1970s. It’s a line you can trace: Today’s Proud Bois and Oathkeepers are connected in time and philosophy to the American Nazi Party, the John Birch Society, America First, the original Ku Klux Klan, etc, ad infinitum.
It can’t be coincidence, and it’s not. It’s always easier to blame the “other” than accept your own shortcomings.
Celebrating A Perfect Hatred
When I was planning my authorship for this year, knowing three of my books would be coming out in February (Love Death), July (Spy Flash III: The Moscow Rules), and December (Supreme Madness of the Carnival Season), I had to figure out what to promote when I wasn’t focusing on the new publications. The month of April–the bookversary of End Times–was perfect to remind folks I’d written this “ground-breaking” series about domestic terrorism then but which had a connection to domestic terrorism now.
A Perfect Hatred provides a good example of how real intelligence officers balance their work with their families and demonstrates how intelligence agencies determine who is a threat and who isn’t, how it can sometimes take months or even years to get an asset in your fold.
It also shows that these highly trained people can sometimes falter and that in counterintelligence there isn’t always a happy ending, much less a resolution. It isn’t at all like a Bond movie.
Still, I celebrate A Perfect Hatred this month because I sweated blood (not really; it’s called hyperbole) to get it published while going through a death in the family, the breakup of a marriage, my retirement, a move to a completely new part of the state, and having grandchildren.
It, like everything I’ve accomplished, was a labor of love because I wanted to tell a story about domestic terrorism so it wouldn’t happen again. On that level, I failed, but I’m one person. Still, I told a damned good story in the process.
How can you join the celebration? All four books of A Perfect Hatred are 99 cents each for the month of April. Check it out HERE.