on Tour July 22 – September 20, 2019
Good day, book people. Today’s another beautiful day and I’m pleased to welcome another wonderful book person to visit with us. Mr. J.K. Franko is a lawyer and author, and he’s currently touring online for his recently released book, Eye For Eye. I’m excited for you to hear what Mr. Franko will be discussing with us today as he’s talking about violence in fiction, specifically violence against women in fiction. I hope you’ll visit with us awhile today, follow the blog tour, grab a copy of Eye for Eye, and enter the tour-wide giveaway.
Thank you, Mr. Franko, for taking the time to stop by The Book Diva’s Reads today. It’s a pleasure to have you here and I’ll now turn the blog over to you.
Violence Against Women in Fiction: Sunlight or Ostriches?
By J.K. Franko
I was ready to fire my publicist when her press release for Eye for Eye explained that the book handled violence with “sensitivity.”
Cringe… What kind of marketing is that?
Since when does “sensitivity” sell thrillers?
Then we chatted, and I understood.
You see, there has apparently been a growing trend toward graphic violence in writing and film. This has recently become a “thing.” As I was not aware of the extent of the issue, I did some research and discovered that there has also been a strong backlash. But, to be effective, that backlash needs to target the crux of the problem—which is gratuitous violence as entertainment.
Some folks are just missing the mark.
For example, I discovered the Staunch Book Prize. It is a book award established in 2018 for the best thriller “in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered.”
At first blush, I thought, No way in hell I could win that one.
I can tell you this much about Eye for Eye
without any spoilers: Two girls die; another gets raped. And this is by the end of Chapter Three. And then, obviously, there’s the rest of the book…
So, why did my publicist think Eye for Eye is different and—cringe—”sensitive?”
Well, I didn’t find it necessary to use graphic violence as a device to tell the story. There is an audience for that kind of thing. There are also plenty of authors that write it. It’s just not me.
But, Eye for EYE is still a crime thriller and features crimes against women and against men. Crimes happen—in the real world. As adults, we have to deal with them. The ones against men, and the ones against women. And to deal with them, we have to discuss them.
A big part of the problem with sexual assault and violence against women in the past was that no one would talk about it. Isn’t that what the whole #MeToo movement is about? Bringing this sort of stuff into the light of day?
It’s also one of the purposes of fiction—exploring real-world situations to teach a lesson, shine a light on an injustice. As Justice Brandeis said, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”
That can’t be done without broaching the subject. But we can address the subject in ways that don’t diminish the victims.
I think it would be shameful not to.
To Kill a Mockingbird won a Pulitzer, but could not win the Staunch Book Prize.
Don’t get me wrong. Hats off to Bridget Lawless for taking the initiative to create the award. I like the idea behind the Staunch Book Prize. I think it’s well-intentioned.
But, I think it misses the point. A crime thriller by definition has to involve a crime. And that’s got to be committed against someone. By limiting the award to books that don’t commit crimes against women, this award seems to solicit thrillers that only include crimes against men. It seems to be a sort of “ostrich head in the sand” approach to the issue.
But, maybe not. The lawyer in me thinks there might be a loophole.
The webpage for the award states that they seek submissions of “not just thrillers that feature men in jeopardy instead of women, but stories in which female characters don’t have to be raped before they can be empowered, or become casual collateral to pump up the plot.”
By way of this article, I am letting my publicist know that we submitting Eye for Eye for “The Staunch.”
Eye for Eye definitely falls into the category of stories that come after the “but.”
None of my female characters qualify as “casual collateral.” They would be offended by the label. They are driven, empowered women, in control of their lives (and maybe the lives of others). They don’t hide from violence; they tackle it head-on. And, once you read Eye for Eye, you’ll agree that it’s best not to piss them off.
“NEW TWIST ON STRANGERS ON A TRAIN”
~ THE SUNDAY TIMES
Roy and Susie are on a skiing holiday, trying to take a break from the constant reminders of their daughter, tragically killed by a careless driver. Out of the blue, they meet Deb and Tom, another couple with a tragic past and a shocking proposal to put things right.
As the bodies accumulate, secrets are revealed and alliances crumble. Ultimate survival depends on following the rules for a perfect murder. And the first rule is… leave no singing bones.
Genre: Crime & Mystery
Published by: Talion Publishing
Publication Date: June 22nd 2019
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 1999318803 (ISBN13: 9781999318802)
Series: Talion #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads
J.K. FRANKO was born and raised in Texas. His Cuban-American parents agreed there were only three acceptable options for a male child: doctor, lawyer, and architect. After a disastrous first year of college pre-Med, he ended up getting a BA in philosophy (not acceptable), then he went to law school (salvaging the family name) and spent many years climbing the big law firm ladder. After ten years, he decided that law and family life weren’t compatible. He went back to school where he got an MBA and pursued a Ph.D. He left law for corporate America, with long stints in Europe and Asia.
His passion was always to be a writer. After publishing a number of non-fiction works, thousands of hours writing, and seven or eight abandoned fictional works over the course of eighteen years, Eye For Eye became his first published novel.
J.K. Franko now lives with his wife and children in Florida.
Catch Up With JK Franko On:
jkfranko.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!
Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
Enter The Giveaway!!!:
This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for JK Franko. There will be 6 winners. Two (2) winners will each win (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. Two (2) winners will each win a signed copy of EYE FOR EYE by JK Franko (Open to U.S. addresses only) and Two (2) winners will each win a Knife set (Open to U.S. addresses only). The giveaway begins on July 22, 2019, and runs through September 22, 2019. Void where prohibited.
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