Wednesday, January 17, 2018

An Interview With An Author Part I by Betsy Ashton

Recently, I sat down with an Intrepid Reporter who wanted to talk about my serial killer book, EYES WITHOUT A FACE.

Intrepid Reporter: I understand you recently wrote a book about a female serial killer. Do I have that right?

Me: Well, since you are reading from the press release, yes, you have that right.

IR: What ever possessed you to write about such a dark subject?

Me: Nothing possessed me, if you mean, was I taken over by a spirit or something like that?

IR: Huh?

Me. It was the result of a double-dog dare. You can never turn down a double-dog dare.

IR: Really? Who dared you?

Me. I took a course on writing mysteries a few years back. One of our challenges was to write the first sentence of a mystery. I wrote: "My sorority sisters were into sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but that wasn't enough for me. Then, I killed someone and found my true calling in life."

IR: Well, now.

Me: That's what the teacher said. She went on to double-dog dare me to turn the opening into a novel. I did.

IR: May I assume you are not a serial killer?

Me: You may.

IR: How were you able to get inside the head of such a, um, well different character?

Me (signing): It's called using the creative gene. I imagined what it would be like to be a killer and wrote about it. Simple as that.

IR: I think it would be very hard to write this book in first person.

Me: No harder than in third person or from the point of view of a dog.

IR: A dog?

Me: Never mind. It was a challenge, but one I was ready to take on. I'd never written anything with such an unlikable character. Strike that. Some people think she's likable.

IR: Eeuw! Really?

Me: Really.

IR (shaking her head): I couldn't, but then again I'm not you.

Me: And you should be glad you aren't. Imagine what my husband had to live with for the three years it took to shape and polish the book.

IR: I'd rather not. Let's move on. The cover is very chilling.

Me: It's supposed to be. I asked my son to put on a hoodie and ski mask that covered his lower face. I gave that picture to a cover designer who took out the rest of his skin, overlaid the eyes, and created a character without a face but with eyes that follow you.

IR: I can't imagine what your dinner table conversation is like.

Me: Pretty normal, actually, except talking about using KA-Bars or switchblades for killing.

IR: But you don't have a KA-Bar in the novel.

Me: Aha, you have read the book. I did, but I took the scene out. I may use it as a short story because I love one line in the section: "I don't use guns because you never have to reload a KA-Bar."

IR: I think it's time to take a little break.

The second part of this interview appears on this blog on January 27. Stay tuned.


Margo Hoornstra said...

Eeuw! Well done!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Wow. I love writing villains, getting in their head. But I've never considered doing it like this. Great interview.

Diane Burton said...

Wow. I give you all kinds of credit for writing this one, Betsy. What a challenge.s Loved the interview.

Jannine Gallant said...

I love this interview. Let's face it...most author interviews are pretty boring. This made me laugh. I love your humor, Betsy. I need to see if your serial killer has any of that humor hidden behind all her character flaws.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Great way to show your feistiness, Betsy. I was convinced by Linda Howard's DEATH ANGEL that 'bad' people could be main characters in a novel (her hero is an assassin), so I'm not surprised you took on the challenge. I'm cheering you on!

Betsy Ashton said...

I have to admit, I walked a thin like between making the unreliable narrator so despicable no one would like her and giving her enough saving graces to make her interesting. I hope I did it right.

remullins said...

Well done. Love the part about getting your son involved.

Alison Henderson said...

This was a remarkable writing challenge, but I don't know if I'm brave enough to read the book!

Andrea Downing said...

Fabulous interview. And how I love that first line! Good work, pal. Looking forward to Pt. 2

Vonnie Davis said...

Openng sentences are so important. I love writing them. Looks like you do, too. What a fabulous job. Great interview.

Leah St. James said...

Love this, Betsy! Ditto what Andi and Vonnie said about the first line! And the cover IS really creepy, but I'm not too scared! :-) Is it available for Kindle?

Alicia Dean said...

Oh wow, love, love this interview!! I was creeped out (which I ADORE), and amused. I will most definitely have to read this book. Looking forward to the rest of the interview!

Unknown said...

I think the interviewer had a difficult time with you and the subject of the novel. Did you have fun playing with her?