We’re very excited about the up and coming Brit Crime online festival this weekend and we’re going to be showcasing a few of the authors and books coming up in the festival over the next few days. Today we have the bookish musings of one Ms Alex Sokoloff, author of the Huntress series..
Alexandra on serial killers……
I worked as a screenwriter for ten years before I snapped and wrote my first novel, and in that time I worked on several film projects featuring serial killers. So for several years I was doing research into the subject every way I could think of besides actually putting myself in a room with one of these monsters. I tracked down the FBI’s behavioral science textbook before it was ever available to the public. I stalked psychological profilers at writing conventions and grilled them about various real life examples. I went to forensics classes and law enforcement training workshops.
And while I was doing all that research, one fact really jumped out at me about serial killers. They’re men. Women don’t do it. Women kill, and sometimes they kill in numbers (especially killing lovers or husbands for money – the “Black Widow” killer; or killing patients in hospitals or nursing homes: the “Angel of Death”) — but the psychology of those killers is totally different from the men who commit serial sexual homicide. Sexual homicide is about abduction, rape, torture and murder for the killer’s own sexual gratification.
It really floored me when I realized to what extent writers and filmmakers are glossing over that very basic fact about these men. At the same time, I am sick to death of reading crime novels and seeing movies and TV shows about women being raped, tortured, mutilated and murdered. (I’m not too happy about it happening in real life, either.)
So I wanted to create a series in which I could both deal truthfully with the facts about serial killers, and to turn the trope of “women as victim” inside out. And I finally realized I could do that by creating a female serial killer – and exploring how unique that actually would be.
Alex on the Huntress…
She’s a very difficult character to write – she’s so non-linear. She lives very much in the moment and experiences life with a sort of magical realism. She believes in portents, in synchronicity, in animism, in monsters, in absolute good and absolute evil. Her chapters are written in present tense to capture that immediacy. But it doesn’t come easily. Cara’s scenes are usually the last things I write in each book – I sketch out what needs to happen, but it always takes the longest to get inside her enough to write the actual scenes.
I think the reader experiences Cara a lot through Roarke’s point of view, which keeps her mysterious and elusive. Readers always want more of her, but I think that would be a mistake, to reveal too much.
Alex on Cara’s developing relationship with Roarke
I look at them as two halves of the same person. Or really, of the same soul. It’s a very romantic notion, the Platonic idea that each human being is half of one complete soul that has been split apart, and we spend our lives searching for our other half. If you believe that, you can well imagine how almost violently those two halves might struggle to find and join with each other, despite all odds, obstacles, and sense. So I think of Roarke and Cara as two halves of the same soul that are magnetized to each other; they can’t help themselves, even though actually uniting could destroy them both.
And the other part of their nature is that they are fighters, and they’re fighting the same battle, by very different rules. So together they are a powerful crime fighting team. (Others may disagree…)
Alex on Cara…….
Cara is absolutely committed to doing as much as she can to eradicate the human suffering perpetrated by evil people. She’s really pretty selfless about that, too. Personally, I find that admirable. If you were ever in deep trouble, real life-threatening trouble, you would want her on your side. Other than that, she has certain skills, but I wouldn’t exactly call them positive.
Book Four is Wolf Moon. I had to do something very different with this one, so it takes place in two different time periods, with two, possibly three, different tracks of criminal investigation. Hopefully it will let readers learn more about Cara. And you’ll love the Arizona canyon settings! I just got back from a research trip in Canyon de Chelly – just stunning.
Alex and her books are featured in the upcoming Britcrime festival
BritCrime is a free online crime writing festival which takes place 11 to 13 July 2015.
For more information visit http://britcrime.com