I've been interviewed so much recently in the run up to launch of my debut crime thriller THE WATCHER that for today's post, I thought I'd compile a sort of compendium of the best questions I've been asked. I've selected the Q's I thought readers would enjoy the most, so if you'd like to know more about my latest novel, THE WATCHER, my writing process, habits, and reading preferences, and my current work-in-progress, THE BOTS, read on...
An Interview with Eli Carros - Crime Thriller Author
Can you give a short synopsis of your latest book?
The Watcher, my debut crime thriller, launched on June 21st, and is published by Crooked Cat Books. It’s a dark, twisted, psychological thriller that takes you right into the mind of a psychopath, and shows readers how he became the way he became.
It’s a novel about sexual obsession, emotional abuse, and vengeance, and if you like a book that keeps you guessing right until the end, you might enjoy this one. When I was writing this book I attempted to answer a question that I had often wondered about, which is, are psychopaths born or are they made?
What was the inspiration for this book?
I’ve often wondered what makes a psychopath.Someone who can derive pleasure in sadism, in hurting others, is very alien to me personally but intriguing all the same.My fascination with psychopaths over the years has led me to study infamous serial killers, read numerous serial killer novels, and watch an unlimited amount of true crime documentaries, and psychological thrillers.One day, a germ of a story idea came into my mind, so I marinated on it for a while, and procrastinated a lot.Eventually I actually put fingers to keyboard and The Watcher came into being.
The book was also inspired by London, where I lived, and I drew heavily from the urban landscape.It seems to me the anonymity of a huge metropolis like London, where everything’s moving so fast and people are used to meeting strangers, would make it the perfect place for a serial killer to conceal himself.
You write Mystery, Crime Thrillers. Is it all imagination or do you also undertake research?
I do undertake some research yes, for certain little details pertaining to correct police procedure etc… However my book is not a standard police procedural by any means, more a psychological exploration of a deviant and malignant mind, so I gave myself hefty dose of artistic license with it too.
I did do another kind of research too, because I actually lived in London while writing The Watcher, and the book is set there. So I went to a lot of the places that inspired scenes in the book, to get a real feel for the atmosphere. One of the café scenes in the novel was actually written in Patisserie Valerie in Old Compton Street, Soho. I find London very inspiring in general, some people don’t like it I know, but I love all the bustle and life.
What prompted you to first start writing? What was the first thing you wrote?
I started telling stories long before I actually put pen to paper.I would regale my friends with improbable tales, and tell them things like there were fairies and other magical beings at the bottom of the garden who came regularly to sneak me away to their world.Strangely, quite often, they actually seemed to believe me.
After that I studied journalism and went into copywriting but I thought about writing a book for years and years before I actually did it.
When you are a nice person... how easy is it to get into a bad person's head?
I think part of my interest in individuals that lack empathy comes from the fact that I’ve always been a bit of a social activist. From as long as I can remember I’ve firmly believed in equality and fairness for everyone on this planet and I still constantly wonder why the heck we haven’t got it yet. I’ve toughened up a bit now but I used to be so sensitive, it got to the point where I literally was burning up with anger every day at all the injustice that goes on in this world.
It seemed to me that the psychopathic attitude society encourages sometimes, that winner/ loser and me, me, me thing doesn’t help. Also when you have a society that’s a bit like that, plus certain individuals who are always going to be wired to be more selfish than the rest of us, then you have a recipe for disaster in certain cases because malignant individuals will be embraced sometimes instead of shunned like they should be.
But as well as that, I must confess, I’ve also been rather intrigued by the other, those things us (fairly) normal folks would never dream of doing, or ever remotely want to. It’s like a guilty fascination, we humans have, we do like to explore the dark side, perhaps to reinforce quite how abhorrent it is. I think that’s why so many people read serial killer novels and the like, because it’s just so alien to them, it’s like a peek into a strange, new twisted world.
Do you plot your novels in advance, or allow them to develop as you write?
When I first started, I was firmly opposed to planning, thinking it would stifle my creativity.Then I realized, if you don’t at least sketch out a rough outline you end up with a mess on your hands about halfway through a manuscript.It’s much harder to plug holes once you’ve already started so now I always make a loose chapter by chapter plan before I sit down to write the first chapter.
Famous authors, such as Roald Dahl and Dylan Thomas, had a special space for writing. Do you have a writing ‘shed’ of your own?
Honestly, no, I usually do it wherever I can find the time in the nearest comfortable place. I do like a glass of wine to get me into the zone while I write, though I have to be careful how much, as contrary to the popular myth that writers are all gin soaked, becoming too inebriated actually really impairs your work.
Which crime writers have you been inspired by over the years?
I love Patricia Cornwell and Val McDermid, the definitive Crime Queens and Mark Billingham and Harlan Coben are my Crime Gods. I love the novels of Leigh Russell too. All of those writers know how to keep a reader up all night turning the pages. Although he's not really crime writer, I also greatly admire Steven King for his vivid imagination and immersive character portrayals, and for his admirable work ethic, which I could never even hope to aspire too, I’m far too lazy.
Name your top five favorite books.
Lord Of The Flies by William Golding.
Tess Of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.
America Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis.
Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov.
The entire Inspector Morse series by Colin Dexter.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m currently writing another crime thriller, a serial killer novel like The Watcher but with a completely different story and killer obviously. This one is provisionally titled THE BOTS, it's extremely twisty and turny, so the two novels will have that in common but as I said, it’s a completely different story, featuring a brand new antagonist.
It covers themes of abandonment, isolation, misogyny, virtual reality, and obsession but the killer in this one is unlike the lead "villain" in THE WATCHER, as this murderer actually wants to stop!
That’s all I’m going to say for now, but I’ll be posting more teasers up on this website soon, so stay tuned if you’d like to find out more about my current work-in-progress.
THE WATCHER is currently available for purchase on Amazon and at all other quality book retailers, in e-book and paperback. Buy it on Amazon at getbook.at/thewatcher
THE WATCHER officially launched yesterday and made the Top 500 of the UK Crime Thriller category, so a big thanks to all of you who bought or pre-ordered a copy. I also had a fab launch day on FaceBook, chatting with my fellow Crooked Cat authors and everyone else who was kind enough to pop along and say hi, and we had some interesting discussions, and giveaways with fun prizes.
Today, after all the excitement of launch day has died down, I've decided to begin work on my next crime thriller which has been marinating in my head for a while now. I’ve been creating a loose plan of the story structure, which is generally how I tend to work, which I plan to go back and fill in as I get more of a feel for the plot and characters.
Something I find extremely useful, to help me get to know my characters is to conduct character interviews, where I mentally sit them down as if they were real people and make them answer questions.
I’ll be posting some character interviews I’ve done for the fictional characters I created for THE WATCHER, over the coming week, if you’re interested in taking a peek at those.
As for what I’m working on next, I can confirm, Detective Inspector Jack Grayson, who features in my first novel, will make an appearance in my next book too, along with his partner and right hand woman, Inspector Gita Naseem.
The working title of my next piece is THE BOTS, though that may well change, I tend to discard titles if a new, more appropriate one strikes me. I’m not going to give too much away right now but I will be posting snippets up on this log if you’d like a little preview of what it’s all about, so stayed tuned.
I can say that the killer in my new novel is rather different from my antagonist in THE WATCHER, as this killer actually wants to stop! As well, unlike the last, there are no bodies for Grayson to uncover, at least, not at first.
The plot involves themes of virtual reality, sex dolls, psychosis, possession, identity, and obsession, so quite the mix there I suppose.
The story starts in Central London, on DI Grayson’s patch, when the first victim goes missing. What starts out as a hunt for a missing girls, Joanna Donovan, quickly spirals into the hunt for a serial killer as Grayson uncovers some vital clues that link Joanna’s disappearance to the disappearance of several other girls.
Of course, in my new novel, you can expect lots of plot twists, just like in THE WATCHER, as I really enjoy planning then writing those. Suspense is something I enjoy, both as a reader and as a writer so you can be sure I’ll try to deliver that.
The story isn’t just set in London this time though, as the hunt spreads over England, and places such as Oxford, Chichester and Essex will feature quite heavily too.
If you are reading THE WATCHER, and you enjoy it, I’d love it if you’d leave me a review on Amazon or GoodReads, or both when you’re finished, providing you can find the time. I love to get feedback on my work, as most writers do, and if you do read something I’ve written, I’ll be eternally grateful to you.
Time is the most precious thing we have, after all, so if you spend any of yours reading my work I feel truly honoured and grateful.
And if you love crime fiction and need something new for your Kindle or e-reader and you haven’t bought THE WATCHER yet, you can check it out here on Amazon at getbook.at/thewatcher
We all have a tendency to be obsessed by death, sex, and ourselves. That might sound like a negative assessment but it’s not scary when it’s kept in check by a society that has its heart basically in the right place.
But does ours?
Well, it’s a fact we’re becoming de-sensitised, to people’s pain, deprivation, and loss. This is in no small part due to the rolling news channels that infiltrate our homes at all hours of the day and night. It’s no longer shocking to see the aftermath of a bomb blast, or the carnage of a terrible train wreck.
Not as shocking as it once was anyway.
There’s something else though, something that may be a bit more disturbing. You might have noticed it, a championing of the winner/ loser approach to life. Our current culture loves winners, but not everyone can be a winner.
What is a winner anyway?
We currently define winner as money in the bank, celebrity, good looks, but primarily it’s money in the bank. All those other things are no good if they can’t deliver the goods, and these days the goods are how much you’re worth. Money defines your value now, not character, intelligence, or morality.
Is that a bad thing?
The problem is that you can’t tell what person is like by how much they have in their investment portfolio. They could be quite unpleasant, certainly not the kind of person you’d want to have lunch with, they could even be a psychopath.
It’s not that our society openly champions serial killers, of course we don’t. There is a prurient fascination with death, yes, and with serial killers, but that is actually completely natural because it reinforces what we are not.
Most of us are not deviant killers. We are not psychopaths.
But are we becoming more like them?
Maybe not individually, but as a collective, it’s easier than ever to be a psychopath and thrive in our society. Psychopathic ideals and attitudes are being openly embraced, such as strength and dominance at all costs. Even being seen as a bully isn’t seen to be such a bad thing.
Having the biggest cash pile is seen as the ultimate goal. Our me, me, me culture where it’s considered perfectly okay to consider yourself before everybody else, is encouraging malignant people to become dominant.
We used to band together to collectively tut tut and show our disapproval to anyone who was too “grabby”, who appeared to be too “selfish”. Now we cheer them on, while wondering what we can learn from them.
All this might be fine in a normal person, who isn’t borderline sociopathic or wouldn’t meet the clinical standards for psychopathy. But many people do meet those standards and they’re not even serial killers.
Not killers but they can cause just as much devastation, albeit in a slightly different way.
Why? Because they are malignant dangerous individuals who cause disruption and chaos wherever they go and only ever think of themselves. Do we really want to champion that in our culture?
We better do something then.
Because it’s happening. Everywhere. Look around, and you can smell the value shift.
I wrote my debut crime thriller, The Watcher about a psychopath. I made a study of psychopaths and their character traits, including several infamous serial killers like Charles Manson and Ted Bundy and I found many common threads.
Bundy and Manson both displayed many of the kind of personality traits that are applauded today. Bragging about one’s talent is now seen as “promoting yourself”, while being manipulative is now seen as “smart”.
In my novel, my lead antagonist is a violent and dangerous psychopath who can completely justify harming and hurting his young female victims in the most vicious way because it makes him feel better.
Why? He’s a deeply damaged individual with a highly traumatic childhood but that doesn’t go the whole way to explaining why he became what he became. After all, many people have horrendous childhoods and don’t go on to become psychopathic killers.
Mental imbalance is another obvious explanation but I’d like to venture one more. I think that a killer like the one in The Watcher, is also enabled by society. We hide those who do others harm sometimes, or perhaps they find it easy to conceal themselves in our midst. We don’t stand up to bullies, even though we know we should.
Am I wrong? Have we actually become more empathetic as a society not less? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the subject so feel free to comment below with your own opinion.
Pre order your e-copy of THE WATCHER at getbook.at/thewatcher or purchase a paperback copy right now from the same link, and make sure to join me on Facebook here tomorrow for THE WATCHER's official launch party on FACEBOOK AT: https://www.facebook.com/events/1541000742597845/
I’ll be giving live author readings, hosting Q+A’s about the book, and giving away prizes, including $25/ £25 Amazon Giftcard and a wine and cheese hamper.
I had the privilege to be interviewed the other day by the lovely and talented Anne-Marie Ormsby on her blog, where we had a chat about the inspiration behind my upcoming crime thriller, THE WATCHER.
Here's a little teaser of our talk, you can read the rest over at Anne-Marie's blog by clicking on the link at the end of the preview...
BEHIND THE BOOK - THE WATCHER
Having at last found a publisher for one of my own books, I have had the good fortune to find myself in the company of a bunch of great writers lately. Its great to be part of a community of writers sharing ideas and general chat. Its also a great way of finding new books to read!
One of the novels coming out this year is right up my street ; a serial killer on the loose in London with a detective hot on his trail. The Watcher, the debut novel of Eli Carros is being released by Crooked Cat Publishing on 21st June.
Being a bit of a true crime nut and crime fiction fan and always excited by any London based books, I thought I’d have chat with the author to find out more about what inspired him.
Tell us the basic premise of your novel?
The Watcher is about an obsessive serial killer who stalks his victims before violently attacking them. It takes readers into the mind of a true psychopath, exploring what makes him tick and learning how he became who he became. It’s a novel about alienation, prejudice, abuse, and shame and how formative life experience can tip the balance of an unstable mind. It also takes readers behind the eyes of DI Jack Grayson, who’s been tasked with the unenviable job of stopping a brutal killer who leaves no trace before he strikes again.
Click here to read the rest of our chat over at Anne-Marie's blog...
Today on my blog, I'm delighted to announce the release of the intriguing Tuscan set mystery THE SILENCE by Katharine Johnson, an intriguing and elegantly written novel that will hook you in from the first page with its tantalizing prose. Concealed at the book's heart is the secret to Alice's last summer in Tuscany, and the dangerous secret she left behind there, a secret threatening to cast shockwaves through her present life.
Here's a teaser from the blurb:
Doctor Abby Fenton has a rewarding career, a loving family, an enviable lifestyle - and a secret that could destroy everything. When human remains are discovered in the grounds of an idyllic Tuscan holiday home she is forced to confront the memories she has suppressed until now and relive the summer she spent at the villa in 1992. A summer that ended in tragedy. The nearer she gets to the truth the closer she comes to losing her sanity. In order to hold onto the people she loves most, she must make sure they never discover what she did. But the reappearance of someone else from that summer threatens to blow her secret wide open...
And here's what Katy had to say when asked what inspired her to write THE SILENCE:
"I wrote it because it was the book I wanted to read. I love stories about old houses which harbour dark secrets and I love coming of age stories where a young person makes a choice that changes the course of their life. I like writing about ordinary people rather than hardened criminals who nevertheless find themselves drawn into a crime. I like to get inside that person's head and experience their thoughts as they try to conceal their past and stop it invading their present."
CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR COPY OF THE SILENCE FROM AMAZON HERE AT THE SPECIAL LAUNCH PRICE OF £0.99/ $0.99!
The other day I was interviewed by the talented Ailsa Abraham on her lovely blog Bingergread Cottage, where we had a bit of natter about magic carpets, naked men, murder and my upcoming release THE WATCHER. Here's a preview of our chat, you can red the rest by following the link to Ailsa's blog...
Coming in on the magic carpet today is my new Crooked Cat Colleague and pal Eli Carros who has a new release on 21st JuneHop on down and don’t mind Lily barking, she’s only saying hello. Feel free to ignore or fuss her as you feel comfy.
Pets Lily behind the ears and hops off the carpet, dusting himself down. “Sorry about the cake crumbs I couldn’t help but pick up a slice of Victoria Sponge when the carpet took me on an impromptu detour to Hever Castle.”
Don’t blame you! Come and sit down and let me serve you some of my Victoria Sponge. Gingerbread Rum with it? I do hope the trip was OK. How long did it take you and did you see anything interesting?
I think the magic carpet must have taken a fair bit of a detour because I got to see a few of the places I’ve been meaning to go to but keep putting off. We did the Jack The Ripper Tour through Whitechapel then had a lovely stop at Glastonbury Tor. Then we popped to Stonehenge before we whizzed off to Oxford and flew around the tops of the Colleges. Finally we zipped off to Hever Castle in Kent, to check out the castle and beautiful gardens. Anne Boleyn’s former childhood home did you know? All without even having to disembark. Bloody amazing, I feel like I got something for free.
Oh and we did see a naked man on our way back over to you, as we passed the Cerne Abbas Chalk Giant. I’m not quite sure what he was doing, but he was wearing only boots and seem to be dancing about and waving his arms. I know the place is famed for its supposed fertility inducing powers, so perhaps he was indulging in a kind of peculiar fertility ritual? Or maybe he just got a tad warm, we’ve had some lovely weather lately haven’t we? Come to think of it, he looked a little like that man over there in your garden, only without clothes…who is that by the way?
Oh he’s just the main character from two of my books. Don’t mention him to my husband, Badger, he can’t see him. Wow you have had your money’s worth from the carpet. It tends to pick up on the passenger’s interests. Those who are scared are brought here in no time. Now, the real business! Tell us all you want us to know about The Watcher, your new release.
Click here to read the rest of the interview over at Ailsa's blog...
The Watcher is now available for pre-order at special pre-launch price, so if you're a fan of dark crime thrillers, reserve your copy now!
Described as "A terrifying journey into the twisted mind of a psychopath", The Watcher will take you into the darkest corners of the human psyche, and will keep you guessing, right up until the shocking and violent ending.
If you love twists, suspense, loved TV shows The Fall, The Following and the Brett Easton Ellis novel American Psycho, you'll enjoy The Watcher. Pre-order your copy now, at special early bird price here: getbook.at/thewatcher
Find out what happened when the fabulous Isabella May interviewed me on her blog and we got talking about crime, cake, coincidences and my latest novel The Watcher...
Here's a little preview of our chat...
– Welcome, Eli Carros! Please tell us a little about your debut novel, “The Watcher”.
Hi Isabella, thank you for inviting me to your lovely blog. Mind if I sit down and have a bit of cake or something? I hear you make a lovely Pavlova…
– Cake is a given in any of my Q and A’s, help yourself to a slice of Death by Chocolate… well, we are talking about crime.
– What inspired you to write “The Watcher”?
My book, The Watcher was inspired by a couple of things, London, where I worked and lived for over seven years, and my fascination with disturbed minds, in particular psychopaths. I’ve long wondered what it is exactly that makes a psychopath, why they are unable to empathise like the rest of us. I also wondered whether a psychopathic nature is predestined; are they that way from birth for example, or does nurture, emotional abuse and neglect, formative life experiences, and the environment they grew up in play a larger role?
Click here to read the rest of the interview over at Isabella's blog...
On my blog today I have the inspiring Ailsa Abraham, Author, Pagan Scholar, and Shaman, with the fantastic news that her wonderful magic fantasy, Shaman's Drum is back on sale, for a limited time only.
A treat for all of you book lovers with an interest in Paganism, magic, and romantic fantasy. The remarkable Ailsa Abraham, Author and Pagan Scholar is republishing her magical work, Shaman’s Drum, for a limited time only of just six months!
Here’s what one reader had to say about Shaman’s Drum:
Shaman's Drum sucked me in and swallowed me whole!
Unique, ingenious and well crafted
Just the right mix of danger, mystery, history, a possible future, and tastefully exciting romance,.I want more of Iamo and Riga. I just want more! :-)
The sequel to Alchemy, brings heroine and hero back together for another scrap amongst the netherworld.
Fairly ripped through this cracking read, which for me indicates a winning combination of pace with great writing.
International Amazon Link http://bit.ly/1mgdIhL
You thought you had lost it but Shaman's Drum is back on the market for six months only. From 1st June it will be available on Kindle for only 99p or cents as a special re-introductory offer.
WHAT? A mixed genre book which can be read as a stand-alone or as the sequel to Alchemy. It has variously been described as slightly futuristic magical realism, fantasy and romantic thriller.
WHEN? Set in our own word in just a few years' time after a world-changing scientific discovery frees mankind from dependence on fossil fuels.
WHY? The banning of public religious practices was thought to bring an end to terrorism and war but unexpected consequences turn the new ideal world into a nightmare. Pagans having been left out of the ban are the only groups left to combat the new threat and they are fighting between themselves.
WHERE? The Capital is never named so it could be in your country.
WHO? Iamo, a priest of the Goddess with an aristocratic background who has just been released from prison for breaking his vow of chastity. A woman Black Shaman avenger who was the cause of Iamo's downfall, rescued from her prison by her lover.
Between them they have to solve the mystery of who is allowing demons into the world of Men and find a way to stop them. Who can they trust in the chaotic world of pagan clans?
The author, Ailsa Abraham, knows her subject, having been a student of religions and a practising pagan most of her life. Friend of Druids, Hedge-witches, and other assorted magic-users she is the village shaman in her home.
You can find Ailsa Abraham at her following internet homes here:
Amazon Author Page UK