1) Tell us about your book.
UNGOLDEN SILENCE is a story that will entertain and provoke thought. Violence against women is something that is not talked about. It is something that is hard to prove in the workplace and at home. Beatrice James and Elaine Wilson, who is disabled, work for a marketing firm and travel on a business trip. A highly respected community leader is a part of the project. Beatrice and Elaine think they are safe, but are they? The story will break down stereotypes. The rapist in the story is not a man off the street. I hope that once people read the story, violence against women will be dealt with differently.
2) Why did you choose to write about such a disturbing topic as rape?
I like drama and a story about rape is dramatic. The fact that the media does not give the names of rape victims concerns me. The names of all victims of accidents, robberies, and everything else except sexual crimes are given. Yes, it is a disturbing topic, but it is important to talk about because not talking about it will not help anybody. I hope that the story will make society see the need to change the way that violence against women is handled. I hate to hear, “she asked to be raped by the way she dressed.” Like that has anything to do with the crime. So I wanted rape to be the issue in an engaging way.
3) How did you go about plotting out your book?
I did not sit down and plan the story. I allowed the story to take me places. I did not want a story where the crime happened, the criminal is caught, and the victims go on with their lives. UNGOLDEN SILENCE looks beyond the crimes and deals with how society can begin to talk about violence against women.
4) You’ve made a conscious choice to eschew “ random” or semi-random opportunistic attack narratives. Do you feel that media treatments of rape are too oriented in that direction?
Yes, not revealing the name of a rape victim is part of the problem and is not helpful to anyone. Society thinks that lovemaking and rape are the same thing, and they are not. A rape is a crime and the focus needs to be on finding the rapist and putting him in jail. Now if the victim is frightened that the rapist may return that is something different. However, not to give the name of a victim because they were sexually assaulted is not the answer. This is part of the problem – a rape is a crime, and it needs to be treated like any other crime.
5) What advantage does the novel format offer for exploring this issue versus a more straightforward nonfiction criminology book?
Many people like to read for pleasure more than for information. UNGOLDEN SILENCE allows the readers to do both. There is a good story that raises many questions. However, there are possible answers. When I was writing the story, I thought that making the rapist a highly respected community leader was far-fetched. After doing the story I did some research, and I realized that we do not know why people rape. Society can begin to put a dent in the sexual crime against women if it is known what to look for. There are signs that will indicate that a person will be a sexual offender. People need to study books on criminology if they are going to be doctors, lawyers, counselors, or social workers because these are the people that will need to be able to identify those who need professional help.
6) Can you briefly tell us about any other projects?
I am working on a family saga, and it will a century-long soap opera.
You can see more from Lydia at her website, http://www.ungoldensilence.com/.