These days, most writers are loathe to take a stand or say anything that might alienate any part of their audience. Not so for Alexandra Sokoloff, the author behind the brilliant Huntress /FBI series, which deals in explicit detail with the horrors of sexual abuse and human trafficking…and the bloody comeuppance for the monsters who commit such heinous acts. Alex is also unafraid to voice her opposition to the current presidential administration and the role she feels it has in perpetuating a culture that tolerates and even celebrates sexual abuse. I sat down again with her recently to talk about the the new book (Hunger Moon), battling with Trump trolls and the realities of writing screenplays for Hollywood.
Open Mic: We are living in strange times. We have now become so polarized as a nation that many writers are now uncomfortable touching on controversial topics either in their writing or on social media because they’re afraid they will instantly alienate half their audience. But you are front and center with very strong themes dealing with the kind of sexual predation that has become endemic in our society. Tell me about your thinking in your Huntress series and in your writing in general when it comes to covering these topics.
Sokoloff: Well, first of all it’s been an issue since the beginning of time. There’s no commandment against rape in the Ten Commandments. There’s no commandment against torture or child abuse or genocide. None of that made it into the Ten Commandments. We had at least come a long way from that kind of thinking, but now here we are tumbling back into some horrible dark age. So it doesn’t take any particular courage for me as a writer to talk about political issues because from my point of view, we’ve got an insane person with the nuclear codes and we could die at any second. Long-term career planning doesn’t really come into it right now because we’re in a constant state of crisis. Pretending that we’re not in that situation is not going to get us through it. So I just don’t know how I could not write about it.
OpenMic: You seem to be very unafraid to interact with people who are critical of the political elements of your writing. What’s your thinking in terms of dealing with that part of your readership?
Sokoloff: It is particularly on Amazon U.S. that I’m getting deluged with these one-star reviews and criticisms on the books from Trump supporters. At least a third of those come from accounts that were set up specifically to leave a negative review of this book. They hadn’t existed before. And I know there are websites where people have been told to leave a review on this book because I am criticizing Trump. You can see specific language that these reviews are using that I’ve traced back to a couple of people that I have had these interactions and dialogue with. So once I realized that was going on I stopped interacting with people. But I was for a while, particularly with people who wrote into my website. Whatever they had to say, I wanted to have that dialogue. Some people were very willing and others just never responded to me at all. It was like they freaked out that I wrote back, and not in an angry way. I was just asking people that said they read for entertainment and don’t want politics if they had read all four of the previous books, which confront sexual abuse, sex trafficking, the torture of young women and children. The idea that anyone could have been entertained by that and expected anything but commentary on our current situation is beyond me. The really sad thing is that I quote real statistics and reports in the book, and I’m often talking to well-meaning people who offer me back websites that are clearly set up by just some Reddit guy with a bone to pick with women. Nothing official whatsoever. A lot of older readers take anything they read on the Internet as true, without any kind of verification. Fox “News” and Breitbart have succeeded in turning entertainment into really dangerous propaganda that people believe every day. How do we begin to fix that? Years of that kind of indoctrination into the most bizarre conspiracy theories and no sense of what it really takes to build a real journalistic story about anything. Zero sense of that.
To read the entire interview