I’m back at it, with another indie author interview! This week I talked to Erin Lee, author of the Diary of a Serial Killer series! You know the drill by now, so let’s just hop on into this interview!
Hey Erin! Welcome to my blog! Let’s start with an easy question. Where are you from, and what is your hometown like?
I’m from southern NH*, USA. I live in a pretty small town at the base of a mountain and even have cows in my backyard.
*For you non-US residents, NH is New Hampshire.
Oh my goodness, cows! Thats amazing! I worked on a farm last summer, and got to know a couple of cows. They’re so cute. Okay next question. What is your family like? What does a typical day with your family look like?
My kids are pretty much grown up and independent. I’m sending my youngest son to college this year and it will be strange not having him around. I’ll have more time to write, but will miss him for sure!
Tell me about your hobbies. What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have a “day job”?
Lately, writing is my life. I also work as a home-based therapist with at risk kids and families.
Writing is a good life to live! And it’s so great that you work with those kids and families. Okay. Try and think back to the very first story you ever wrote. What was it? Who, or what, inspired you to become a writer?
The first story I ever wrote was called “Nire: The Purple Aardvark.” I was in second or third grade when I wrote it. I called the main character Nire because it’s my name spelled backwards. Purple is still my favorite color.
My mother nurtured my love for writing from a very young age. We were always going to the library and she read to us often. Later, she helped me get my first job as a town columnist being paid 13 cents an inch to write about town events. She still helps edit my books.
That is so adorable! Purple is my favorite color too, and I love how supportive and helpful your mom is! So do you have any specific writing influences?
Sylvia Plath, Cathy Glass, Yolanda Olson.
What are the biggest struggles you face as a writer? What about as an indie author?
Getting my work out there is hard. Trying to balance the writing and marketing time is a constant thing I struggle with.
Totally understandable. When I first started blogging, it was hard to get the word out that I exist. I imagine its very much the same for you. Okay, last question and then we’ll move on to your book. Do you listen to music when you write?
No. I can’t write with music or I would be too distracted.
That’s perfectly fine! I know of lots of people who can’t write or read with music at all. Okay! Let’s talk about your current series. What’s it called, and what’s the main character like?
My current series is the Diary of a Serial Killer series. [The main character] Jimmie Putnam is an ordinary man by most standards, if you can overlook the dead bodies in his freezer. Detective Florel Ross and Jimmie meet up when she sets out to find the Ice Cream Killer. The pair have an interesting relationship to say the least.
Oh wow! So Detective Ross is looking for the killer, with the killer? Interesting twist! Can I have a blurb or quote from one of the books?
From book two – Jimmie’s Ice Cream:
I can’t sleep. Again. I don’t know why I thought things would be any different after sweet Sixteen. Still, I’ve been good and held off. I’ve done everything I can possibly think of to contain them, the cravings: Stuffed my face with mint chocolate chip instead of going in for Seventeen and Eighteen, kept myself busy with research, gone over memories of my Things. Everything. Even took the dog to the dog park and kept my eyes to the ground. Bad idea. She’s not dumb. She can feel something is very wrong. She may even be having cravings herself. It’s not like she hasn’t been there, beside me, all along.
Like it or not, white-knuckling it is not going to work for long, thanks to Craigslist. That ad, it’s just too perfect. A Thing custom made for me. I can taste her now—butterscotch, hot and melting. Or maybe more like hot fudge–dark, sweet and sticky. I wonder if she’s a screamer. Any woman bold enough to place an advertisement like that might be. Or, maybe not. There has to be some math to calculate the odds. God, I miss it. The screams. The high. The power. The surrender. That final breath. I. Am. Hungry. So hungry. What harm would there be in checking the ad? It’s not like anyone’s watching me. It might even help. She’s another Thing. She’s waiting for me. She may even need me. I can feel it. I can sense her soul—dark like chocolate—tugging at me. Seventeen. Sweet seventeen. She’s calling me. If I close my eyes, I can even hear her say it –“Master Jimmie.” I can hear her gasps, her mumbles, her “please, don’t kill me’s.”
The cravings. They won’t go away. They get closer and closer. Part of me wants to stop the collecting–forever. To slice the Things up and feed them to Mia, bone by bone, until there’s nothing left of their remains. The problem with killing is that once you get a taste of it, it’s almost impossible to go back. I don’t know of any other way I could ever reach such a high. I’ve tried. If I’m entirely honest, I’ve had access to things. I keep a tiny stash of coke in my nightstand. Took it from Roderick’s drawer a few months ago. Did it once. Not even close. Sure, I felt on top of the world, but that only ended with me going out to the barn and organizing my Things. I combed their hair, dressed them up, even read to them into the daylight hours when I finally crashed. The high, even while screwing them, just wasn’t the same as going out and doing what I really wanted to do – collect new Things.
It doesn’t help that it’s just so easy, accumulating new Things. It surprises me, really, that it’s even easy now–with the police composite sketch out, and it’s not like I haven’t been sloppy. Truth is, I have. At first, it haunted me–seeing a drawing of a face sort of like mine in the papers. The first time I saw it, I panicked. I called in sick from work for a week, terrified to leave the house. If anyone had looked into my eyes close enough, they would have seen the same panic that crosses through the Things pupils when they finally realize there’s no escape and that they will soon rest in my freezers. Now, not so much. In fact, the more I look at the drawing, it’s not even close. My nose is different. My cheeks are fuller. My eyes are anything but dull and dark, and certainly not black. That helps me feel safe, mostly.
You can never feel entirely safe, not when you have a dozen or more Things on your property who are entirely dependent on you. Things you promised you would never leave. Every night, even though it never comes, I still expect a knock on my door from the police. I imagine them telling me the gig is up and making me take them to the Things. Instead, I worry for nothing. Instead, I get nothing. No knock. No sign that they’re any closer to catching me. It’s good, really, but then, it’s not, because this state of paralysis is worse than anything. It means no new Things. I have to do something. No, I need to do something and soon.
I’ve tried to play it safe. Really, I have. I’ve stopped going to the gym, thinking they might be waiting for me, the guy with the twenty-year-old, ragged drippy ice cream cone on his t-shirt. Still, I don’t know why they haven’t caught up to me. They have to be close by now and I’m just missing something. I’ve made too many mistakes for it not to be true. The newspaper articles and those headlines tell me they aren’t completely clueless. They got my ears right. My hairline, too. That should scare me bad enough to make me want to stop.
Instead, it feels like a challenge. “We dare you to do it again. Go on, get more Things. We’re coming for you.” That’s what the voice in my head tells me. I try to tune it out. If Momma was here, she’d know what to do, but, I wouldn’t tell her. I couldn’t live with the look on her face if she was here to find out. Obviously, with her long gone, that can’t ever happen. Still, with Momma, you never know. She was crazy enough to come back from the dead to haunt me. Sometimes, I swear I see her watching me. Those are the nights I refuse to play with my Things. It sucks. It only makes the cravings worse. If Momma saw what I did with the Things, I’m certain she’d disapprove.
Part of me thinks maybe I want to get caught. I’ve been careless. I’ve let the cravings get the best of me. I hate that side of myself, and I will not let it win. I’m determined to get away with this and refuse to be caught. I’ve come too far and my hands are too bloody to let it go down any other way, and as I’ve said before, if I do get caught, it will all end on my own terms. This is, after all, my story.
Speaking of which, I haven’t been writing much. My notebooks and log sheets are empty. I just can’t get into a groove. I mean, what’s the point of writing when you don’t have anything new to say? I’ve said it all. I need new material…
Lately, the only thing I can do to hang on is to review everything. I go through my files and memories. I play them over and over and over. Then, I go to the freezers and thaw my Things for proof, or relief, or even just company. It’s like a grieving parent who locks themselves up in a tiny room watching old home videos just to go back in time, or it’s the scorned lover with a jaded heart, wrapped in a blanket and sniffing history that can’t be rewritten while saying goodbye to dreams that were never meant to be. When it gets like this, I go out to the barn and spend extra time with Fifteen. She’s a good listener. Just being with my Things—and not always in intimate ways like you think—helps, but it’s not enough, and it won’t be for long. I’m telling you. I’m warning you. Are you listening?
I can feel it coming. It’s like the first whiff of fall in mid-September air. You book last minute trips to the beach, knowing you won’t be able to get your weekends back and wishing you’d spent more time in a lawn chair or gone and seen the fireworks. Too late. So you chase it, what could have been, and pray that you aren’t. At the same time, I’m nagged by a sense that I’m about to get caught. This is like winter. It’s not the pretty snowfall that melts as it hits the ground. It’s the kind that shuts an entire city down, where you can’t get to the store because the traffic lights are busted and even if you did, they’d be out of candles and generators. There’s nothing you can do to stop it. You can’t prepare for that sort of storm. All you can do is try to prolong the calm. So, for now, I need to stay as still as possible and come up with an alternative. I need to make the most of the time I have left with the Things. I also need to make some changes, and fast.
Keeping my Things here, so close by in the barn, isn’t smart. Yet, where else am I supposed to put them? I have a few ideas I’ve been toying with. I’m not quite ready to share them yet. Planning takes time. I’ve come this far. If I can return to my old ways—pacing myself—I have a shot at moving forward. I have a chance at one day acquiring another Thing. Don’t touch the laptop. The ad will disappear soon enough. Don’t. Do. It. Moron. Momma would flip her shit. I reach for my journals. Inside them, like I always do, I’ll find answers. There’s something about a brain like mine—someday likely to be the subject of science research—that works best on paper. It’s there, and only there, that things become a little clearer. Come, walk with me through my memories. For now, they’re all that I’ve got.
That is so dark and creepy! I’m intrigued! Okay, last question. If there was a Broadway/Movie/TV Adaptation of your book, who would you cast in it?
Kevin Bacon would play Jimmie.