Thursday, 27 July 2017

An interview with Chris Carter, novelist and criminal psychologist


Chris Carter is one of my favourite authors, so I was very excited to learn that he had a new book coming out this summer - The Caller, published on the 27th July. I was even more excited when Simon & Schuster asked me if I'd like to interview him. Here are the questions I asked him :

- Hi Chris. I love reading your books and am always amazed at the seemingly endless number of original and unexpected ways you manage to come up with for killing people off. How do you still manage to find new ideas?

I am always looking for different ideas. Sometimes I will read something on a newspaper, or see something in a movie or on the streets, or hear something on the radio that will sparkle some new idea in my brain. I then usually add to it to come up with something a little different. I also do a lot of research, especially medieval torturing. A lot of mad ideas can come from that.

- I occasionally have to skip a few paragraphs in your books when it all gets too much (the reading equivalent of hiding behind a cushion for the scary bits in horror films !) - the disc sander episode from I Am Death remains engraved in my memory, even if I squealed and skipped to the next chapter without reading it in full ! What do you think is the key to catching your readers' imagination so they will be wide-eyed and white-knuckled as they turn the pages?

I think that keeping the scenes as close to reality as possible helps a lot when it comes to catching readers’ imaginations. If I come up with a murder method that is too unbelievable, readers won’t relate to it. Keeping everything as close to reality as possible allows readers to not only imagine the crime happening, but also imagine that it could happen to them, or to someone they know. If they can imagine it happening to them, then chances are that I will have a wide-eyed and white-knuckled reader.

- Do you find that people (friends, neighbours, family, ...) look at you differently after reading your books and seeing how dark and twisted some of the characters are ?!

It does happen, yes. Not very long ago I had someone ask my partner if she wasn’t scared of sleeping next to someone who could come up with plots, villains and murders in the way I do.

- I started one of my reviews with the line : For me, picking up a Chris Carter novel is like pushing my feet into my favourite pair of fluffy slippers. I know the enjoyment is going to be immediate and intense and the aches and pains of the day will instantly evaporate as I get swept up into a maelstrom of terror, horror and excitement.
Is it the same for you when you sit down to write a new book? Do you jump straight back into killer thriller writer mode or is it hard to get into the right mindset?

Wow, thank you so much. That’s very kind of you. I’m very flattered.
Well, I do love writing, and I do get into the writing mindset straight away, but some days are a lot harder than others. As I start a new novel, I am always very excited. I usually take a long break between books – one to two months – depending on how late I was with delivering the previous book. After being away from writing for such a long time, I am itching to get back into it. My main problem is that I never have a whole story in my head when I start writing. I usually only have the main plot idea. The rest of the story is developed as I write. Because of that, my writing process goes a little like a snowball. It takes a little while to pick up momentum. The first quarter of the book will move quite slowly, as I organize the story and the sequence of events in head. I then get faster and faster, write for longer and longer.


- Do you have a specific routine for writing? Any advice for budding writers?


I do have a specific routine, yes. I always start my days by reading what I wrote the day before and editing as much as I can. I will then work all day until I reach my desired target (usually a certain number of words) Some days I will get there quite quickly, others I will write all the way into the evening before getting there.

- Do you have one particular favourite character from your books? Do you prefer the good guys or the bad guys in general?

I guess that obviously, Hunter is my favourite character, but there are a few other ones that I had great fun creating and writing them – Mr. J in The Caller, Lucien in An Evil Mind, D King in The Crucifix Killer, Mollie in The Executioner, to name a few.

I don’t really mind writing good guys or bad ones. Once I get into the character, I’m off.

- Who are your favourite writers? What/who inspired you to start writing?

The truth is that I don’t really have a favourite writer and I was not inspired to write by anyone. I never even thought about being a writer until I had a dream about a story, which turned out to be The Crucifix Killer, my first novel. I do respect every single author out there, because this is a tough job, I just don’t have a favourite one.


- Thanks Chris.


Chris Carter's new novel, The Caller, is published today. My review will be live very soon - in the meantime, you might like to check out my reviews for some of his other books : An Evil Mind, I Am Death, One By One and The Death Sculptor. 

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (27 July 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 147115632X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471156328


6 comments:

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    1. I've just written up my review (going live tomorrow) and noticed that the hardback is currently £5 on amazon - almost the same price as the paperback !

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  2. This looks like just my type of book.

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  3. Some fantastic questions, I rarely have time to pick up a book with a four month old daughter who is teething, she has already got one tooth, but this sounds like an author my mum would enjoy reading, she loves reading, she likes Kathy Reich, Stephen King, Patricia Cornwell, and an array of genres xxx

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    1. Aww good luck with the teething baby - tough times but they do pass ! xx

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  4. Getting my copy this weekend, can't wait!..

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