Normally I get really excited when I find the cover art for one of my upcoming books. This time? Not so much. It isn’t the art that is the problem but the topic.
I’m not surprised anymore when RedLine asks me to write a difficult book. But these were tough. Part of it was the topic. Writing about addiction is just really difficult because you have to go after stories of people’s lives falling apart.
But it is also incredibly difficult to research something like this. Editors and publishers want statistics but accurate statistics are tough to find. First of all, there’s the matter of legality. Police can gather statistics about the people they arrest, but not those no one even suspects. Hospitals and treatment centers can collect data on people who seek treatment or are admitted through the ER. But that leaves a large number of people uncounted.
Add to this the fact that everyone collecting statistics has a bias. Law enforcement wants to show they are providing an essential service as do hospitals and treatment centers. People who are trying to legalize various drugs, including certain types of steroids, downplay potential problems. Family members, social workers and more – they’re all biased and understandably so.
But this all contributes to the difficulty in writing about these topics and also the importance. If a nonfiction writer has a hard time sorting out fact from fiction, so will a young person. While I’m not excited about the cover art, I’m glad I put in the effort needed to write about these topics.