This is a question that all writers will ask themselves at some point in their careers if they’ve ever had to get their hands bloody in the name of plot development. It will be especially pertinent if, like me, you have too much time on your hands, hate January and spent the month asking yourself stupid questions that make little sense and have no connection to real life.
You see, I’m working on a psychological thriller at the moment, which is a bit of a departure for me. I committed murder in my last book, but this new project takes it to a whole new level; the death rate is high and the victims are little children. The murder in my first book was also of a child, but it was different because he deserved it*; the murders I’m writing at the moment are killing pure innocence and it’s my job to make them as realistic, stomach-churning, sickening and shocking as possible, so that by the time you’ve reached the end of the chapter you really will want to call the police and report the atrocity. So, does this make me a murderer? I confess that the inspiration for this book was partly a real-life event that I felt sad about for a while before a familiar twisted thought snuck in – ‘That would make a really cool novel.’ Normal people don’t think this way. They read the newspaper, feel sad and then make a sandwich; thoughts don’t wear them down until they're being held hostage by their biros and forced to kill. I’m a terrible, terrible person.
I literally can’t not write this book at the moment; it’s consuming my thoughts. However, in truth, my commitment to the project exists despite the murder chapters not because of them. To be completely honest, I hate writing them and I’m writing them as delicately as possible, which makes me a reluctant murderer. I don’t want to commit them; I want these little children to blossom, grow up and live positive and meaningful lives, but wicked hands in the book have other ideas. However, I’m the one steering these hands, so I can never be completed absolved. I’m extremely relaxed and groovy as a person and every drop of blood I drain from these children rubs against my conscience; I know that no one is really getting hurt, but it’s troubling that I could possibly have these disturbing things in my head. I’m a terrible, terrible person.
You may be wondering why (as someone who is also quite squeamish) I’m choosing to write this book. The answer is the effect of these killings. I may not be adept at murder, but I know all about the wide and varied ways that the brain gets messed up by life, and this is another exploration into the frailty of the human mind and how life as we know it can be completely blown apart in a moment. My main character is as screwy as you like, and the litter of dead children put in her path drives her completely over the edge. This, I feel no guilt about. All of my favourite books take the reader on journeys of the mind and this is the kind of fiction that I will always write. If you liked the journey and the unpredictable twists and revelations of Diazepam for Sale, you’re going to love this. Watch this space for more info.
*He deserved it? Really? Read the book and you’ll understand.