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Emilie Richards | Why I Became a Serial Killer

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A serial killer?  Well, I didn't become one, of course.  Not exactly.  But lately, and I have to admit the following part is true, people are dropping dead all around me.  And by my hand. 

Of course my hand is on the computer keyboard whenever bad things happen.  And the people dropping dead?  Not nice people, for the most part.  People you and I would cross the street to avoid.  People who enjoy causing trouble for others.  People who are sure the world revolves around them.

Serial killers get to choose their victims.  And there are so many places to look.  Take reality shows, for instance.  Haven't you ever wanted to rid the world–or at least the television studio–of some of those judges?  You know the ones I mean.  They're sarcastic and egotistic and often downright cruel, all in the name of ratings.  They're the ones we love to hate, and still, like bystanders staring at a train wreck, we just can't seem to pull ourselves away.

Well, I got rid of one of them this year.  Yes indeed, that particular judge is gone, finished, departed.  First I set him up for the fall, then mercilessly, I did the deed.  And when I finished, I began to look around for my next victim.

Oh, and while I was looking, I also had to come up with the title for my next mystery novel.  Because that's as close to being a serial killer as I'll ever come. In addition to more cheerful women's fiction, I also write mysteries.  And the novel with the reality show judge?  A Lie for A Lie was just published by Berkley Prime Crime.  You'll find it in the mystery section of your local bookstore.  I dare you.

So what's a girl like me doing in a place like this?  In real life, I'm meek and mild.  I don't make hit lists of people I don't like.  I tend to see the hurt child behind the nasty adult, the little boy or girl crying out for love and never receiving it.  I rescue small animals–see my last blog.  My conscience is so finely tuned that I'm still worried about things I said in seventh grade to other giggling seventh graders.

So why is a meek and mild author, known mostly for feel good novels, killing people on paper?  One victim a year, in fact.  All in the same sleepy Ohio town.

The appeal of a mystery novel for a reader is varied.  First we have a puzzle to solve, and a good mystery makes that a challenge while still playing fair with the reader.  Then we have the promise of intriguing, even quirky characters, usually vividly described.  In an ongoing series we have the promise of old friends who've made a change or two since the last novel, and we can visit a community that, after a book or two, begins to feel like home.  And finally we have the promise of a payoff.  Good will overcome evil.  The bad guy or gal will be brought to justice.  The scheming reality show judge will get his just reward.

But what's the pay off for the writer? 

I can't speak for my colleagues.  I don't know why Diane Mott Davidson does what she does so well, or why Michael Connelly does, or why the late and greatly mourned Tony Hillerman did.  I can only speak for myself.  When it comes right down to it, I added mystery novels to my writing resume because the challenge was new, and the payoff was extraordinary.  For the months each year when I work on my mysteries, I'm transported to a world I created, and into the head of my sleuth, Aggie Sloan-Wilcox, which is a very odd place to be.  Each day I grapple with good and bad, right and wrong, and always, always, with the promise that when the book is completed, all will be right with the world.

Now how often can anybody say that?

I still write my other books, too.  I love all my children equally, and all my books exactly the same.  Only sometimes, when the characters in my women's fiction novels are falling in love, I do find myself thinking about my next victim.  Let's hope I never get the two genres confused.

Emilie Richards

 

 

Comments

8 comments posted.

Re: Emilie Richards | Why I Became a Serial Killer

Catchy title! Love that you got rid of a reality show judge.
(Karen Barnett 10:52am February 6, 2009)

Hey - whether you're killing off (deserving) people, or mending family hurts, you are the best!!

Thanks for all the enjoyment you have given me thru the years.
(Betty Cox 12:35pm February 6, 2009)

I'm looking forward to reading this series - I love series esp w/funny female leads!
(Kelli Jo Calvert 1:02pm February 6, 2009)

Thanks to you all. So glad you approved of my victim and my writing. I'm on my way to Guatemala, and now I'm leaving with a smile. Best to everybody!
(Emilie Richards 4:30pm February 6, 2009)

While it is true some people need to be killed ,it always entertaining HOW an author kills...
(Dawn Raymer 4:56pm February 6, 2009)

I can see why you like to return to
"your town and characters". You
spend a lot of time and effort to create
them. Who would want to leave them
after just one story. As a reader,it is
enjoyable to revisit your characters.
We hate to leave them after one story
and thank you for keeping them
around.
(Patricia Barraclough 8:53pm February 6, 2009)

Great Reads! Thouroughly enjoy your mysteries and your funny antidotes.
(Rebecca Booth 11:57am February 13, 2009)

You are a truly remarkable author and I
love everything you write.
p.s Aggie's the best
(Debbie Haupt 11:26am February 16, 2009)

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