by Jerrie Alexander
I'm a native Texan. My husband and I live outside of Fort Worth, where my brother loves to tell people I'm so far out in the country we get Saturday Night Live on Wednesday morning. He's always been the family comedian. I'm the one who digs into the psychology of a killer's mind, trying to balance his evil with romance.
I've been told I'm at my best when I'm in the killer's point of view. If that's true, I believe it's because I've researched properly. It's certainly when I have the most fun! To construct a believable character, I metaphorically put on his or her hat and walk in their shoes. Creeps me out sometimes and has given me a nightmare or two, but realism and motivation are important to the story. And me.
No doubt, if the police ever took a peek at my hard drive, I'd be hauled in for questioning. Because of today's technology, information and insight into the killer's mind is there for the taking. I've downloaded files from FBI profilers, medical reports, bought books from Amazon and studied the different patterns of these troubled minds. As I read, and maybe because they were the hardest to understand, I was drawn to the analyst's description of the sociopath. Their lack of conscience and inability to care or feel compassion for the victim's pain fit my killer's motivation perfectly.
Maybe it was naive to write to the FBI with a list of questions. Imagine my surprise the day my phone rang, and the caller identified himself as a Special Agent. He answered all my questions, gave me his cell number and of all thing...he thanked me. Assured me, the FBI appreciates being written about, and they love it when the author tells the real story of the Agency. Ultimately, I used his information in another story, but his response gave me the courage to park next to a Texas Sheriff's car and strike up a conversation with him. Once he decided I wasn't completely crazy, he was very helpful.
If you're looking for resources here are my favorites.
The Yahoo group CrimeSceneWriter. Here you'll find FBI agents, police officers, EMTs, firefighters, private investigators, forensic specialists, and more, all willing to answer questions.
D.P. Lyle, MD. His blog, www.writersforensicblog.wordpress.com is like going to the library.
Lee Lofland. His blog, The Graveyard Shift, www.leelofland.com/wordpress gives insight and examples of his past police experiences.
My ace-in-the-hole is a retired Navy SEAL who answers all my questions about things that go boom. He's a real life hero, who still doesn't know he is one.
When The Green Eyed Doll is released, (I don't have a date yet) by The Wild Rose Press - in their Crimson Rose line, my readers will make the final analysis. Did I bring my killer to life? Was he sinister and believable? If so, my research paid off.
Many thanks to Anna Kathryn for hosting me today!