Saturday, March 30, 2013

Today’s Lesson Is On Killers


Congratulations to "Janet B", the winner of Kendra's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Today’s lesson is on killers. A topic every romantic suspense writer must know inside and out to create that non-stop tension in their books. I have shelves full of books on killers and the workings of their twisted brains. Here’s a basic breakdown and their definitions from former FBI profiler, John Douglas.

1. Serial Killer: Has murdered on at least three occasions. Each event is emotionally distinct and separate. Hunts human beings for the sexual thrill it can give him. Will do it over and over again, believing he can outmaneuver police, never expecting to be caught. Often innocuous to his friends and family.  Examples: BTK Killer Dennis Rader, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy.

2. Spree Killer: kills a number of victims at different locations in a short period of hours or days. Has no emotional cooling off period between homicides. Examples: Ted Bundy degenerated into a spree killer near the end. He started off slow and methodical, and then grew sloppy and intense leading to his capture. Charles Raymond Stalkweather who inspired films like Badlands (1973) and Natural Born Killers (1994).

3. Mass Killer: commits himself to a course of action and does not expect to come out alive. Killings are all part of the same emotional experience. Friends and family often comment that something was “off” about the person. Examples: Sandy Hook Murderer Adam Lanza, University of Texas killer Charles Joseph Whitman.

Sexy, right? Now as a romantic suspense writer, my job is to pick one of the types and mix it into a romance novel. The concept is pure craziness, but lots of authors do it and readers love these stories. Blending a killer into my story creates a life and death situation that needs a hero and a kick-ass heroine. Serial killers are prevalent in romantic suspense, because they create an imminent threat that ratchets up the tension. A storyline with a killer produces strong characters who face deadly situations that call for smarts and inner strength to reach their happily-ever-after.
That’s my challenge. To create characters that my readers want to root for. To write suspense that will make the reader turn the pages, wanting to see my heroine face her darkest fears and defeat the bad guy and end up with the honorable hero. 

Comment below for a chance to win a copy of BURIED which just came out last Tuesday. 

Kendra Elliot grew up in the lush Pacific Northwest and still lives there with her husband, three daughters, two cats, and a Pomeranian. She left the dental world after sixteen years to write full time in 2012. Her first two books, HIDDEN and CHILLED, spent months on Kindle's top 100 paid best seller list. HIDDEN was on Kindle's 2012 overall top 100 bestseller list.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST March 31st. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@justromanticsuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway. US and CANADA only.

27 comments:

  1. Hi Kendra,
    There are many blogs on the Hero but few on Villains/killers.
    You are already on my reading list.
    Jan

    janet_kerr(at)msn.com

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    1. Thanks Janet! I always try to make my villain the hero in his own mind. He needs to have a journey just like the hero. But his will end in failure.

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  2. Congrats on the new release, Kendra. Looking forward to reading Michael's story. Can't even imagine what sort of insight you get into the minds of these killers.

    janie1215 AT excite DOT com

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    1. Thank you, Jane. The FBI would raise an eyebrow at my book ordering history.

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  4. Glad to read a post on Killers. I'm currently working on a couple novels and these little nuggets of info help me out a lot. Thanks.

    shieldsdonna at hotmail dot com

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    1. Hi Donna. There so many good books out there on killers. John Douglas has several and Roy Hazelwood is good, too.

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  5. You not only do a great job of giving us a nasty killer, the detail you write on the process of finding the killer is also fascinating - even the ME reports :) Looking forward to seeing which of the 3 types of killers you chose for the next book :)

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    1. Thank you! I have no idea what will happen next! Well, for book 5. Number four is 99% done. He's a serial killer.

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  6. Excellent blog. I do hope that you never have a knock on the door and the FBI is on the other side to question you based upon your reading material!

    I think getting into a serial killer's mind would be somewhat scary even for an author. Does it ever affect you while you are writing, particularly after having read about so many real killers?

    Now, with respect to your books, you succeed in creating kick-ass heroines and great heroes. Hidden and Chilled are great reads.If Buried, the next book in the Bone Secrets series,is half as good as Hidden and Chilled, it will be incredible. I strongly recommend the series. I have them on my Kindle but you cannot beat a paperback copy of a book.

    Given the extent of your research, I can see the reason that your books are amazing, particularly, given the fact that you have been writing for such a relatively short time.

    Marijane Diodati

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    1. Thank you, Marijane! Surprisingly, studying them doesn't bother me. There's still an element of distance. Hopefully it will always stay that way for me!

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  7. COngrats on the new release. I am glad Karen Rose recommended your books. I loved the first one, waiting for Amazon to bring me the rest.

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    1. I love Karen! She gave me a lot of guidance on the beginning of CHILLED. Thank you!

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  8. Sometimes it's very hard getting into these types of story lines because even as the author you afraid for your kick-ass heroine. In the end, however; it's definitely worth it for both the writer and the reader. Nice post, thanks for sharing.

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  9. Kendra, you are a new-to-me author, but I'm glad JRS introduced us. Your books sound like they are right up my reading alley and I can't wait to get started! Congratulations on the release of Buried.
    kacbooks(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Thank you, Karen. I've found new authors here, too!

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  10. Congrats, Kendra, on your latest release. I'm fascinated with all things romantic suspense. I read a lot of true crime...and then my hubby wonders why I lock the doors and set the alarm. If I wasn't a writer, I think I'd like to be a psychologist and get into the killer's mind.

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    1. Thanks, Alison! I leaped out of my bed screaming, and fully asleep about twelve years ago. I'd read Ted Bundy before bed, like I done with other true crime books a ton of times. I had no recollection of the dream, but woke up across the room cowering against a wall from my husband who was trying to calm me. Completely freaked both of us out. lol. I avoided true crime before bed for a few years.

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  11. Interesting blog topic

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  12. I enjoy stories with nasty villains in them! Twisted minds fascinate me. If the FBI tracked my reading habits, they would have put me away by now;-P

    Cinette5 at hotmail dot com

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    1. Lol. That's exactly how I feel. I know I can just point out the similar archives all of my other romantic suspense author friends.

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  13. I love, love romantic suspense!! You are a new to me author, love finding them and their books. They look awesome btw. Thanks for the chance to win.

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

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    1. Thank you, Martha. I'm new to a lot of people. I love finding new authors! Especially when my favorites can't keep up with my growing need for their books.

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  14. I love books with lots of suspense. Your books sounds fantastic.
    Thank you for the giveaway!

    Janet B

    jkbsfsd at msn.com

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  15. I enjoy romantic suspense because the romance balances the scariness of the killer.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

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