From Conception to Birth

Posted: May 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

Talk to any writer, and they’ll say that the number one question posed to them (either right before or right after, “Can you read this?”), is where you get your ideas.  Sometimes this is easy to answer (as with Barbed Wire Kisses), other times it’s not (as with my short story “Killer Weed” found on this blog).  It’s always a frustrating question because it means having to explain how your mind works, and there’s never a ready and stock answer for that!

In the instance of BWK, it started simply enough, I wanted to write a serial killer story.  My original thought was having the killer find his victims through his job at a call center. After all, how easy would it be to get addresses and all sorts of information about a prospective victim than working for one?  What proved not so easy, is dealing with today’s technology.  With the advent of cell phones, smart phones, tablets, laptops, the constant internet connection and proliferation of cameras everywhere, it wouldn’t be as easy to get away with a murder spree for the length of time I was thinking about.  Also, given the amount of info collected about CSR’s and who they talk with on a daily basis made it not quite as easy.  At the same time, I was also thinking of who my killer would be, and the thought came to make the villain of the piece, not a lone killer, but a pair: brothers. At this point I didn’t know if they worked together, or if they acted separately; hell, I wasn’t even sure if it was believable. Taking to Google (a writer’s best friend), I searched for brother serial killers, and to my amazement, found that the US’s first reported serial killer was in fact brothers (cousins actually but referred to as the Harps Brothers).   While certainly an anomaly in serial killer  lore, it gave me the spark I needed.

There was one problem: their exploits were in the late 1770’s, a time frame just foreign enough to me (and requiring a bit too much research for my own comfort level), that I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. As I was reading a slush pile for the Dead West anthology at the time, the idea to fictionalize them a bit (okay a lot), and plop them down in the Old West, suddenly seemed a no brainer. And it was with that , that BWK finally began to take shape and the process of writing it came (not always easy, and still far more research than I anticipated) to fruition finally.

Over the next several months, I lived, ate and breathed with Micah and his brother; I wrote passages that even made my stomach turn, and had them do things that I didn’t expect. In the end, the final published work is still pretty close to the first draft story wise. I’m very proud of it, and hope those who choose to read it, enjoy it as well.

Coming in my next blog post, the excesses of the first chapter, use of profanity, and how much is too much.

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