i’ve decided to try a new theme on the blog. I’m calling it Confessions of a Thriller Author, and every Monday, I’ll be posting about some of the darker things that go through my own twisted mind.
Confessions of a Thriller Author #1
People often ask me about my love of true crime, thrillers, and all things dark. Those who are under the impression that I am a sweet mom from Iowa are amazed at the sinister things I prefer to read and write. In my bio, I mention watching crime shows with my parents growing up, and I know that’s probably what planted the seed. The theme song from Hill Street Blues is one of my earliest memories, after all. Along with Dallas, which is probably where I got my flair for the dramatic.
But it goes much deeper than that. If I had to do it over again (and I actually understood myself when I was in college) I would have majored in criminal psychology. I am always fascinated by the WHY of things, and it is frustrating for me not to get an explanation. On one hand, I cannot fathom killing another human being, much less torturing them. But on the other, I want to crawl inside the mind of the person who would do such a thing. Are they really just a coldblooded psychopath? Are they a combination of nature and nurture? Many times, law enforcement and psychologists don’t get these answers handed to them on a silver platter. There is no reason why. And I still I want to know more.
Consider the psychopath Ted Bundy. What sort of things went on in his mind when he was seeking his next victim? Was he excited for the kill, for the control, or for the depraved acts he would do to them? Or what about coldblooded killer Gary Ridgway, better known as The Green River Killer, who is believed to have killed over 100 women, all of whom were prostitutes. What would a day in his head be like? How could someone look at another human being and so coldly judge them, let alone dispose of them so callously as Ridgway?
For me, it is the unknown about the psychopathic killer that is the most interesting. And their ability to blend into the crowd, to become Average Man, that makes them so frightening.
From a law enforcement perspective, I’d love to be able to understand what the police and other departments go through in the search for these people. Watching the crime shows on Investigation Discovery is no more than a glimpse into the criminal world. Without being in the moment with the police, FBI, criminal profilers and psychologists, we will never truly understand what’s it’s like to be in their shoes and follow these killer’s paths.
It’s this sort of dark interest that drove me to create Lucy Kendall and to explore the idea of her being a sociopath. If I can’t find my answers in real life, I seek them through fiction. In many ways, writing Lucy has been like interviewing my own serial killer. I find myself digging deeper, wanting to know more about the choices she makes and if she will ever realize who she truly is. The fun part is that I get to provide the answers.
And that is the long version of why I like to read and write about sociopaths and psychopaths (pick your term), serial killers, criminal minds, cops, and all around bad people. It’s the thirst for understanding and the need to unravel their minds. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to do so with my fictional characters.
What about you, crime fiction lovers? Do you enjoy reading and researching about criminals and serial killers because you need to understand? What drives your dark interest?
Come back next Monday for my next confession, and have a wonderful and SAFE holiday!