Today, L.K. Hill joins me to talk about the release of her new thriller, Desolate Mantle, book two of the Street Games series, which hits shelves on September 13th!
Naturally, I asked her what scares her and how it influences her writing. This might be especially fun, considering that the Street Games books are about serial killers...
Why Serial Killers Fascinate Us So
Good morning and thank you so much, Fiona, for having me!
Last weekend I watched an old, classical religious movie with my dad. He proceeded to tell me about the actors in it (most before my time) and their other work. Apparently many of the actors also did a lot of horror films.
That made me smile. It’s an observation I’ve made many times, though. Often the people who are the most traditional, sentimental, religious, family oriented (and you know, vanilla?) are the same ones who are drawn to the darkest kinds of stories. One question I get a lot is some variation on, “What’s a nice Christian girl like you doing writing about serial killers?”
My answer: “Erm…reasons?”
I’ve always been fascinated by serial killers, and I’m not the only one. So what is it about them that captivates us? There are some who say it’s the macabre nature of our society. It appeals to the darkest parts of us. Others say it’s a drama factor. Our lives just don’t have enough of it these days and we thrive on the hype.
Those could both be true, but I think the fascination goes deeper than simple morbidity. Human beings are fascinating creatures. Rich and complex and most are basically good. Here are three reasons I think the minds and deeds of the most twisted individuals in society continually fascinate us:
- They’re evil. End of story. We’re told so often not to judge, which is usually a good thing, but it can blur the lines of who we are, what we should stand for, and what we should fight. I think the idea of something that’s evil through and through, that we can fight against without hesitation, is appealing sometimes. It creates a refreshing catharsis, and we just want to see evil vanquished, no matter what it takes.
- We need to understand them. Killers are human beings too. We need to understand how creatures just like us became so evil while we didn’t. Our basic curiosity as a species drives us to figure out motivations. And serial killers present an especially tantalizing enigma.
- They make us feel passion. Like empowerment. Yup, I said it. Serial killer stories can give us empowerment. If we (living vicariously through our characters) can defeat a serial killer, we can do anything. It gives us more hope and faith in our own lives. Let’s face it: not all real life killers are caught, so it’s a relief to read stories where they are. (Don’t knock escapism. It gets us through the day sometimes.) On the flip side, if the killer isn’t caught, the passionate emotion changes to tragedy, or perhaps obsession. My point is that they make us feel passionate emotions. Human beings yearn for that.
If you’re into the kind of emotional roller coaster ride that makes you fascinated by serial killers, you’d like my new book, Desolate Mantle. It’s the second installment of a crime fiction series, which makes it unique. (Most crime fiction novels are stand-alones.) It deals with a woman searching for her missing brother, a cop with a super-tragic past, and an elusive serial killer. Damn, that’s my kind of story. Which is why I love writing it.
About Desolate Mantle:
In the most dangerous city in the country, one controlled by the sadistic Sons of Ares gang, Kyra Roberts recently crossed paths with detective Gabe Nichols. She dismissed any liaison with him as impossible, but telling him the truth may prove inevitable...
Walking the Slip Mire nightly, dressed in her disguise and trying to infiltrate a homicidal gang, Kyra sees plenty of things she can’t explain. When she begins to suspect a serial killer might be at work, she decides to approach Gabe again.
Gabe has plenty to keep him busy: a bizarre missing persons case, a new development in his brother’s cold case, a new neighbor, and the grisly murders that are a nightly ritual in the Slip Mire. When Kyra shows up unexpectedly, he jumps at the chance keep her around, but it’s harder than he bargained for. She’s not an average source any more than she’s an average Mireling. Gabe wishes she would be sensible about her own safety.
Their partnership crumbles, but when things become even darker than usual in the Slip Mire, they’ll need one another get survive a hellish situation. If they can’t work together to shoulder their burdens, they’ll find themselves utterly alone. In Abstreuse, it’s not a matter of not coming out of the darkness, but of being absorbed by the darkness itself…
About L.K. Hill:
L.K. Hill is a novelist who writes across three genres. Her crime and historical fiction are written under her initials, L.K., while her scifi/fantasy and dystopian are written under her full name, Liesel K. Hill. She lives in northern Utah and comes from a large, tight-knit family. She plans to keep writing until they nail her coffin shut. Or the Second Coming happens. You know, whichever happens first. ;D
You can find her on her blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Tumblr, and on Google +.