I wrote American Terrorist before the events in Ferguson, Missouri, and the related unrest that sparked a vigorous debate about law enforcement’s relationship with African-Americans and police use-of-force doctrine nationwide.
I wrote the novel because ten years ago I was jacked up by police, and for ten years I’ve been dealing with the trauma of that experience.
So I decided to write a novel about the event because writing is my way of dealing with my own trauma. Of course, I didn’t get shot or tortured or even beat up. But loss of dignity hurts for a very long time. That is the essence that elevates such violence from an individual assault to a collective racial issue.
Of course, a good novel needs plenty of action, suspense, and plot twists. So what if an innocent Black man was assaulted by federal cops who take everything from him? What if he goes berserk and decides to do to them what that they did to him? But what if he is the only person in the world who can find a missing child who will surely die if he doesn’t find a way to work with the same police who destroyed his life?
This is a work of fiction, but the perceived violence of police against non-white citizens is a complicated topic. What I’ve tried to capture in this story are the thoughts and feelings and fears of a wanted man trying to deal with the loss of his family, his dignity, and his very reason for living.
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Enjoy the adventure!
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