Serial Killers: The Journey so far
Thanks to Monique (The Book Mystress) for being part of my blog tour, it’s appreciated. Serial killers, was a great suggestion as they are something of a fascination for me and a part of both my “Newfoundland Vampire” novels.
It’s not just me, serial killers are popular in movies and TV shows (I’m not going to get into whether this is a good or bad thing for society). Personally, I watched all of “Dexter” (including the bizarre series finale) and I was always amazed that the main character, the hero if you will, of the show was a serial killer. According to this recent article, serial killers are more popular on TV than ever before and it’s easy to see why. People, including me, are fascinated with serial killers and the study of evil. You can call it morbid curiosity or an indication of the darkness within all of us but there is no denying the appeal of these stories. Serial killers are so different (and perhaps more disturbingly) so similar to regular people that we can’t help but watch. Take Dexter Morgan for example, as the series went on you grew to like Dexter, even perhaps agree with him a tiny bit. Dexter had a strict code; he only killed people who deserved it, people who slipped through the cracks of the justice system and police. Dexter makes mistakes and he does things that are genuinely creepy and evil but still I watched it and for most of the show I cared what happened to him. Enough TV talk though, time to discuss how serial killers come into my books.
In book 1 (simply called “The Newfoundland Vampire”) I presented two serial killers in detail. They both were vampires but were very different in their methods. My first serial killer was John Snow, he only killed vampires made by his estranged wife Cassandra. The point being that he wanted to torture her for all eternity (these new vampires were always made to help destroy him). John varied his methods for killing these vampires and the cooling down period was just how long it took Cassandra to make a new vampire and how long it took him to find her. He did it mostly out of revenge, in their human lives Cassandra cheated on him and tried to have him killed, but also for the thrill of combat and eventually his only reason for living. My other serial killer Donald Rathmore was also a vampire but had much different reasons for killing. I gave him the backstory of an abusive mother and father and constant rejection by women. When Donald is turned into a vampire (by John Snow of course) he finds the courage and ability to act out his dark fantasies, to kill women that he views as promiscuous and therefore worthy of death. Donald has a ritual for killing; he always removes the tongue first and keeps them as a necklace of trophies. He then drains the woman of all her blood and reminds them that whores deserve only death. Donald then feels satisfied and has a cooling down period before the need arises again; Donald only had one chapter in book 1 but would have a much larger focus in the sequel.
In book 2 (“Killer on the Road”) Donald is much more in focus. Joseph and Cassandra have dealt with John Snow and are given a mission by the vampire council to seek out and kill Donald. While Donald is clever enough to avoid capture by police, the council do not like his killing spree and the attention it could bring to vampires as a whole. I’ll admit that Donald is a disturbing character, there is nothing redeemable about him. He was a clear example in my series of how when the wrong person is turned the results can be horrendous, he is literally a killer on the road. I think writing these chapters and getting into Donald’s mind is an exploration of the dark side of human nature, it’s a healthy way to get out some real life frustrations and explore how doing whatever you feel like ignoring law and human life can be rewarding in an imagined way. It’s similar to someone playing a video game like “Grand Theft Auto” or “Assassin’s Creed”, it’s a secret thrill and a guilty pleasure that is harmless in these virtual settings. And yes if you’re curious the line is from “Rider’s on the Storm” by the Doors. In the song Jim is referring to a character he played in the short film HWY: An America Pastoral, who was certainly a killer if not a serial one.
With all this said I wanted to say that I love women, I’m happily married and I’ve never done violence to anyone, I have fantasies I would never want to act out. Like most people I have an active imagination and I think writing a serial killer is the kind of healthy outlet that is not only rewarding for me but for the reader. People want someone to hate in a book, they want someone for the heroes to search out and destroy. We want to read about serial killers to see the extremes of human behaviour, it makes us feel good about ourselves in contrast, and like a car crash we all have that morbid fascination. Serial killers are fascinating in their diversity and their capture (or in some cases sadly non-capture) is always entertaining. Serial killers are one of the worst kind of people in the world but they make for great reading and create memories that I hope will stick with readers look after my books are put away. This has been my journey so far with serial killers in my novels, maybe it will continue but either way it’s been both disturbing and interesting up to this point.