If I Hate Violence So Much, Why Do I Love Writing About It?
vulture.com – Thursday January 24, 2019
If anyone asks how I came to be obsessed with wrongdoing in all its most perverse manifestations, I always blame Sunday school. I think back to those weekly lessons in murder, jealousy, lust, betrayal, and revenge that made up an integral part of my childhood. My all-time favorite pulp classic is the biblical tale of King David, who sent a romantic rival to certain death on the battlefield because he’d slept with and impregnated the guy’s wife after spotting her bathing on a rooftop. I like to imagine what the lurid paperback cover for that story might look like: God made him a king. Lust made him a killer.
I recall this upbringing when I consider how exactly I ended up writing crime novels. I am a pacifist by nature — hell, I’m Canadian, which is halfway to being a Quaker — and I favor strong gun control, criminal-justice reform, and turning the other cheek over an eye for an eye. I also spend part of my days willingly and even enthusiastically imagining the most creatively gruesome methods for killing people. I’ve written three crime novels, and they aren’t parlor-room mysteries: Two of them star a gleefully murderous hit man as the hero and one centers on a community of criminals so vile that they’ve had their most brutal memories erased.
I’m definitely interested, maybe unhealthily so, in humanity’s darkest proclivities. Yet I’m also reliably shaken by tragedies like Parkland or the horrific recent story of Jayme Closs, a 13-year-old girl abducted from her home after watching her parents get murdered. I struggle to reconcile my aversion to real-world violence with my willingness to conjure it on the page. My mother, a very supportive and loving person who taught Sunday school, had this reaction when she finished my first novel: “I just kept wondering what kind of person could think of such things.” Me, Mom — I’m that kind of person. And I wonder about that, too.
To read the full article on vulture.com, click here