Author Interview with Chris Carter

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Today I am so excited to share with you a Q&A with one of my favourite crime writers ever and a writer who I consider to be one of the best the genre has to offer. That author is Chris Carter. I have a page for Chris on my blog under my Favourite Authors section which you can read here and you can also see my reviews for his books here.

Not only am I sharing the Q&A today but I am also sharing my review for his latest book, An Evil Mind which is a Hall of Fame review so please check that out here.

This is only my second ever Q&A with an author so I tried to ask some good questions. I think the answers are brilliant and really enjoyed reading them so I hope you do too.

1. Where do you get the ideas for your killers? They are just (it sounds bad to say) brilliant and are some of the most evil and brutal I've ever read about...

First of all, thank you so much for the compliment. I really appreciate it, and I’m so glad that the characters come across so well.

All of my stories (plot, killers, and some of the characters) are essentially a combination of reality (things that I either experienced or studied during my days as a criminal psychologist) and fiction. Well, a lot more fiction than reality. The truth is that most of it just comes out of my crazy head.

2. How then do you unwind after writing these scenes? If I read before bed then I struggle to sleep! So how does this affect you as the writer?

It’s a little easier for authors because writing a scene is quite different from reading it. When you write it, it doesn’t all come out at once. For example, I’ll write maybe two or three sentences, stop, reread it, think about what I will write next, write another one or two sentences then stop again, and so on.

With that in mind, it’s easy to see that the scenes won’t have the same effect on the writer as they will on a reader. The reader gets to read the entire scene as a block, no interruptions, so hopefully he/she will get to experience the full desired effect of the scene (suspense, fear, excitement, etc.). The writer does it in little tiny pieces, so the effect gets a little lost. Also, if the scene includes some sort of surprise, the writer doesn’t get to experience that surprise because he/she spent quite a bit of time thinking of what to write to surprise the reader.

In saying all that, there have been a few scenes that I have written that have affected me quite a bit, so I had to stop and go for a long walk. That’s usually what I do to unwind.

3. Robert Hunter has quickly became one of my favourite fictional detectives ever. Is there any inspiration behind him?

The truthful answer to that question is – no. Hunter was really a fluke. When I started writing my first novel – The Crucifix Killer – I obviously needed a protagonist, a detective, so I created one off the top of my head.

I had worked with many detectives and law enforcement agents in the past, and the one thing I didn’t want to do was create a detective who shared some of their most typical characteristics – someone who loses his temper easily, can be very intimidating most of the time, lacks patience, etc. I wanted a calmer than most detective, someone who’d use reason, instead of muscle. I also really wanted to use criminal behavior psychology in my novels, but I didn’t want to write a separate character for a profiler, or criminal psychologist, so I combined that into my main character.

I’ll admit that Hunter does share several personal characteristics with me, but a lot of authors do that.

4. My favourite Hunter book was One By One, after finishing An Evil Mind I'm now torn between the two... Do you have a particular favourite from the series or one that you enjoyed writing more than the others?

I couldn’t say that I have a favorite book out of the series. I absolutely loved writing all of them. But I’ll admit that I have struggled with the plot of certain books more than others. What I can say is that The Crucifix Killer will always mean a lot to me because it was the book that started it all. It was the book that gave me my new career.

5. Your books are widely acclaimed and receive many 5 star reviews and ratings across various platforms. Do you take notice of these reviews/ratings?

No, I don’t. It’s something that comes from being a psychologist. I fully understand the psychological effects that reviews can have on a writer. And just because I understand the psychology behind it, it doesn’t mean I won’t get affected by it. It’s like that old saying – just because one is a doctor, it doesn’t mean one can’t get ill.

The problem with reviews is – a writer can read 1000 good reviews and 1 bad review. Guess which one the writer will remember the most. And it can also affect you subconsciously. For that reason I stay away from reading reviews as much as I can, good or bad.

6. What is your favourite thing about being an author?

The truth is that I love everything about it – the writing, the research, creating a character (hero or villain), developing the plot, the freedom that it gives me – everything.

7. As one of my favourite crime authors, do you have any favourites yourself?

I don’t think I can say that I have a favorite author, but someone I admire a lot is Frederick Forsyth.

8. Do you treat yourself or do anything to celebrate the finishing and/or publication of your books?

Not always, but sometimes. I just go out with friends and party.

9. I know you probably can't say but worth asking anyway... Will we see more from Hunter in the future or are you working on something else?

Yes, I can say it. I guess that as long as readers want to read Hunter novels, I’ll keep on writing them. So far, so good :-)

Thanks so much for Chris to agreeing to answer these questions. You can find out more about him on his website here.

An Evil Mind is released on July 31st and you can read my 5 Star Hall of Fame review here.

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