Wednesday, January 17, 2018
An Interview With An Author Part I by Betsy Ashton
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?
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?
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.