I‘ve been political since I was a little girl. As a young child, I experienced racism at an early age . After that, my parents decided to no longer shield me from the truth. My mom educated me through the reading of African American books and writing about what I learned. My father on the other hand no longer had to hide his feeling about white people anymore. So every chance he got, he called them crackers and peckerwoods. I’m telling you guys it’s an interesting way to be raised because you get to see two different but real perspectives in a household.
During my adolescence, I lived in a suburban area. I didn’t experience many issues. I was a great athlete and it’s privilege in that. The lack of experience did not erase my memory. It was also refreshed by my Law Magnet classes. We were required to take civil rights for a semester. So, I never forgot the struggle. Plus even though I was raised in a suburban area, I also always hung out with black people unless it was a member of the track team.
In college, I didn’t pay attention to politics. I had a really rough time and surprisingly it was white people on the campus who were supportive. They knew what was going on and what I was going through, so they made it a point to try to help me out a lot. Then I graduated, entered into the world on my own, and some things changed. Or, being in the real world helped me to see things a little better. In high school and in college, you’re sheltered. It’s a controlled environment. However, there’s no control or filters in the real world and I learned that very quickly.
First, it was Trayvon. Then Dontre Hamilton, Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Michael Brown Jr…
With each killing, something died inside me. I always knew racial tension still existed, but I never believed it was still this bad. So for weeks, I vented and debated with my mom. But even those conversations didn’t make me feel better. So, I locked myself in my room and brainstormed fictional scenarios to retaliate Mike Brown’s death.
After three days, I went to my mom and told her I finally found my first book idea. I explained the concept for The Eye of the Panther in detail. Her smile slowly disappeared with each statement. “Cece, the first chapter alone makes it controversial. Are you sure you want to take everything that comes with it?” I nodded my head vigorously. I was never one to back down from a challenge.
But the next day, her question stuck with me. I went to work nervous about the idea. I returned home nervous about the idea. I drove to work the next morning and asked God for a sign. Immediately, this overwhelming emotion engulfed me. I started to cry but everything felt okay. He sent me a sign of confirmation that I couldn’t ignore. I got to work, took a notepad from the supply room and started brainstorming and outlining my idea.
And now, here we are. I’m telling my potential readers how The Eye of the Panther came about! For more information about The Eye of the Panther, check out some of these posts.