So I’ve starting researching serial killers for my next book (that sounds so morbid! Gaad!) There is a quote floating around the internet, apparently by John Rogers that says ‘you don’t really understand an antagonist until you understand why he’s a protagonist in his own version of the world’.
When we hear about the heinous crimes (cue in Law & Order theme song) that plague society, especially unthinkable murders, the first thought on everyone’s mind is ‘but WHY?’ What type of mind must an individual have to be commit such horrifying acts? What events in their life led them to deteriorate to such depravity? Where they ever ‘normal’? What ruined them? How did they lose their souls?
My initial intention wasn’t to make my unsuspected villain a murderer. I enjoy writing fantasy romance after all. However I’ve always loved reading crime thrillers. My latest project is turning out to be a fusion of fantasy, romance, suspense and crime. There is a murderous villain at the core of my story and I’ve begun researching serial killers such as Ted Bundy and Son of Sam to help with developing my villain’s character.
The more I dig into the history of these famous killers, the more fascinated I’ve become. Sure some of them were flat out psychopathic and some were dark and disturbed after surviving an abusive or dysfunctional childhood. But it seemed some were otherwise generally normal people who allowed a frightening fascination with the dark and taboo to grab hold of their minds until it spiralled to compulsive obsession.
Those are the killers I found most fascinating of all.
These are the neighbours, colleagues, friends, acquaintances or family members who leave us shocked because we would never have suspected that they could sink to such low levels of depravity.
And so my villain will be like that. An otherwise normal guy with a twisted fascination that may have started out harmless enough, but manifested and spiralled as the years rolled by.
The hottie on my book cover is not, of course, my murderous villain. He’s one of the complex main characters, but more on him later.
The mind can be a dangerous thing.