Today I’m very pleased to welcome fellow author Andrew Scorah to Writers with Vision to talk about the recently published anthology Shadows & Light & the importance of helping victims of domestic violence.
Welcome Andrew, it’s great to have you here. Before we get into Shadows & Light would you please be so kind as to tell my blog readers a bit about yourself (family life, education, how you got into writing that sort of thing)
Andrew: Thank you for having me, I currently live in Swansea with my partner, Lisa, our kids and a couple of mad dogs. At school, I wasn’t very scholarly I’m afraid, left school without taking any exams. I did love English though, and had a thirst for knowledge, but the stuff I wanted to learn was not taught in any of the classes, who wants to learn about Pythagoras theorem when you can learn about ancient society’s like the Sumerians, all we got taught in History was about the Tudors. I always had my head stuck in one book or another. I used to write when I was a kid, and wanted to be a proper writer, whatever that is, but life got in the way. I did not come back to it until my forties when I saw a call to submission sent out by Matt Hilton, for an anthology of action stories based around the old pulp novels of the 70’s and 80’s. Lisa persuaded me to send a story off, I did, and it was accepted. The rest as they say is history, without the Tudors, he he.
Your inspiration and motivation for the Shadows & Light anthology is very clear from the book’s introduction, but please could you tell us a bit about it for the benefit of people who haven’t got their copy yet?
Andrew: Women’s Aid is a not for profit organisation who help protect survivors’ of domestic abuse. They provide shelter and support, and help with starting new lives away from abusive partners. I was having a chat with my fiancée, who works for the organisation as a support worker, and discussing various ways to raise money. I thought, well I’m a writer, why not see if I can put a book together. I sent a call out to other authors, not expecting to get any real response, but I was overwhelmed, the support has been tremendous.
There is a section in the book about the foundation and work of Women’s Aid but we must not forget that men can be victims of domestic violence too, although they probably find it a lot harder to admit to. Do you have any idea what organisations/support is available to men who find themselves in this situation? (A link or two would be good here)
Andrew: Yes, that’s true, men can be victims also. Male victims of domestic violence can and are frequently victims of abuse in the home, either at the hands of their female or, in the case of same-sex relationships, their male partner. Abuse is a control issue – abusers believe they have the right to manipulate, control and humiliate another person, and this belief is not only held by some men but also by some women. Victims of domestic abuse can find it difficult to let other people know what’s happening and to seek help. Men may be afraid that they won’t be taken seriously, or that they’ll be criticised or ridiculed for ‘letting’ a partner abuse them. Many abused men are reluctant to leave the family home in case they are later denied contact with their children. There are organisations out there like, ManKind Iniatiative-ManKind (click the link to go to page) Also Men’s Advice Line-Mans Advice, and ESTEEM-ESTEEM.
As a man do you find perpetrators of domestic violence contemptible, pitiful or both?
Andrew: In all honesty, I feel nothing, to say I feel anything would imply I had a degree of care about them, and I just don’t they are so far beneath me. Care and feelings are reserved for their victims.
How did you set about finding contributors for the anthology? Did you have any preconceptions about it? How did you feel when contributions started coming in?
Andrew: At first I had no idea how to go about it, so I just posted on my Facebook and in the groups, Andrew Vachss though I asked him outright and after jumping the hurdles he came onboard.
How is Shadows & Light doing so far?
Andrew: It’s not doing as well as I hoped but at the same time better than I thought it would, still early days yet.
Did you have to turn away any contributions and if so, why? Will there be a second Shadows & Light anthology in future to accommodate people whose stories did not make it into this one?
Andrew: I only had to turn away a couple of people, one because it was too near the knuckle in regards to violence towards women, and even though I had asked for stories, a couple of people sent in poems.
I have written scenes involving domestic and spousal abuse and found them difficult although, or perhaps because, I was not writing from personal experience. Do you find it a difficult subject to write about, if you have ever done so?
Andrew: So far, I have not done any domestic violence scenes in my books. It would not be a problem though, as I feel I have a good understanding of the aspects of DV. Anything else I need I can get from my partner who works for Women’s Aid and is also a qualified Counsellor specialising in trauma.
I would think the answer to this question is pretty obvious, but what do you want people to take away from reading this book?
Andrew: The book in itself is for pure entertainment, but with the information about the psychology of domestic abuse, the different kinds of abusers, at the end, maybe someone will be reading it and think wow, that’s me, that’s my life. Then hopefully, they’ll get the hell out of Dodge, and high tail it for the hills as fast as their feet can take them.
Can you share some links to social media connected with combating domestic violence?
Andrew: Here are a few links for your readers-Women’s Aid, SouthallBlack Sisters a not-for-profit organisation set up in 1979 to meet the needs of black (Asian and African-Caribbean) and minority ethnic women. Hideout Women’s Aid have created this space to help children and young people to understand domestic abuse, and how to take positive action if it’s happening to you. Freedom Programme The Freedom Programme is a domestic violence programme which was created by Pat Craven and evolved from her work with perpetrators of domestic violence.
The Programme was primarily designed for women as victims of domestic violence, since research shows that in the vast majority of cases of serious abuse are male on female. However, the programme, when provided as an intensive two day course, is also suitable for men, whether abusive and wishing to change their attitudes and behaviour or whether victims of domestic abuse themselves.
The Freedom Programme examines the roles played by attitudes and beliefs on the actions of abusive men and the responses of victims and survivors. The aim is to help them to make sense of and understand what has happened to them, instead of the whole experience just feeling like a horrible mess.
The Freedom Programme also describes in detail how children are affected by being exposed to this kind of abuse and very importantly how their lives are improved when the abuse is removed.
Do you have any other writing projects on the go at present? If so would you like to tell us about them?
Andrew: I’m working on a series of horror stories at the moment featuring the ghost of a puritanical warrior from the 1600’s. Malachai Reuben has been sent back to earth because hell is empty and all the demons have come out to play. I will also be working on my PI character from Shadows and Light, Frank Ballard. Also on the go, is my action thriller, The Omega Sanction, which is nearing completion of first draft.
Where can my readers find you on social media?
Last, but by no means least, important where can my readers get their hands on a copy of Shadows & Light?
Thanks for being here. I’m very privileged to have been involved with the project. I really hope that it helps.
Andrew: Thanks for having me, and thank you for supporting this project.
This is a project designed to raise awareness of a serious social issue and we need this post and book to go viral in order to stick two fingers up to perpetrators of domestic violence. PLEASE share, tweet and reblog as much as you can and any sales of the book would also be very welcome.