Victoria Christopher Murray returns to Baltimore to discuss 'Stand Your Ground'
Andrea Blackstone | 8/7/2015, 7:49 a.m.
Although Victoria Christopher Murray has successfully worked with mainstream publishers for 15 years, the full-time writer decided to take a creative risk while penning her twenty-fifth book, “Stand Your Ground.” She omitted high drama, opting to craft a serious, character-driven novel about a 17-year-old black male who was fatally shot by a white man. The book weaves a tale of tragedy, the stand your ground law, motherhood, marriage, race and justice. Murray’s books usually receive great reviews, but for the first time in the award-winning author’s literary career, “Stand Your Ground” is garnering starred reviews from professional reviewers.
“This is the book that put the most lumps in my throat, and the most tears in my eyes, no matter how many times I read it,” Murray said. “It was emotionally draining, but I was so glad I wrote it. I was very concerned; I never wanted anyone to think that I was taking advantage of situations that had happened. But whenever I write, I write to kind of explore things as I’m writing. And I wanted to know what it was like for these mothers to live all of their pain in public. How do you do that? Do you really want your child to become a cause? He’s your baby he’s not a cause. But then I wanted to explore, how would a father feel? His feelings would be totally different. His feelings would be like, ‘It’s on. I’m about to make sure that somebody pays for my son’s death.’ And so it was great for me to explore all of that. That’s what I wanted to do.”
Considering how Murray presented the riveting story that required legal research, “Stand Your Ground” could easily become a must-read book of the summer. Told from the perspective of the victim’s mother, and the wife of the shooter, over 60 five-star Amazon reviews indicate that something substantial is resonating with Murray’s readers, especially since the book was released just a few weeks ago. The stand your ground law is at the heart of Murray’s book, which incorporates details like jury instructions that were given by the judge in the George Zimmerman trial in Florida.
“I wanted to educate people. I was praying that by educating people [about the stand your ground law], they would want to have a call to action,” Murray said. “And then I wanted people to truly, truly find out a little bit more about this. We’ve got to do something about it. We cannot keep going from one case to the next, being all upset every single time. We’ve got to repeal it. And it’s a difficult thing to repeal, because it is a state law, rather than a national law.”
As Murray travels to various cities around the country during her book tour, discussions leave readers with something meaningful to ponder. How can the safety of black males be improved? The author explained that she wants black males to read “Stand Your Ground” and note the effects of what can happen when they do not back down from a situation and walk away. Murray also wants them to observe how a family can be impacted, if they are killed.