It's the first Wednesday of the month, and you all know what that means! Bringing a fresh face to the Ask An Author universe is always an interesting maneuver, and we got a juicy one! I was sent some questions for a story that differs tremendously from the last AAA. We're going from sweet romance to dark and dangerous! Have you ever wondered what a serial killer thinks about? Well, @C. Henderson did with this gripping story!
***This is a warning to potential readers. The following interview contains massive spoilers for the highlighted story. We encourage reading the story before continuing with the interview. Click the link in the story title.***
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After the death of his mother, professional dancer and choreographer Louis loses his job and falls into a deep depression. When his partner, Hunter, proposes a change in scenery to help Louis heal from the loss, he reluctantly agrees to move to Hartford, Connecticut.
But soon after the move, a serial killer dubbed “The Hartford Menace” starts targeting men throughout the city. Numb from his grief, Louis doesn’t pay the news too much attention. That is, until his sister Francesca points out a terrifying fact: all the victims bear an uncanny resemblance to him.
This was a gripping story involving a serial killer on the loose. What made you decide to use the killer's mindset as chapters?
As a huge fan of the horror/thriller genre, I like to explore various dark themes in my writing. I think it's intriguing and challenging to attempt to expose the mindset of an individual with a thought process that most people can't understand or relate to. The chapters from Hunter's perspective in Inhospitable Place served in building tension throughout the story, as well as highlighting how different a killer's mind is from our own. When you read Louis' chapters he comes across as warm and caring (rescuing a dog, grieving the death of his mother, worrying about the state of his relationship) but when you get into Hunter's POV, there is a stark difference there. He is cold, calculated, manipulative and obsessive. And what's most frightening is that he's hiding in plain sight.
The box's placement was a very interesting choice. Obviously, most killers desire to keep mementos from their victims, but what was the reasoning for the location? The danger of being exposed, or is there a more underlying intention?
Yes, the placement of the box has meaning behind it. The spare bedroom, which is originally supposed to be Louis' studio but turns into Hunter's room when Francesca moves in, is supposed to be a place where he finds his passion for dance once again. But little does he know that buried underneath his feet are the mementos of all the men Hunter killed. It's only when he forces himself to finally go in there and try to choreograph a routine for Derek's animal shelter dance class that he is able to uncover the truth. For a year Louis avoids dancing and lives in denial while self-medicating, so it's meant to be symbolic that it's getting back to the dance studio that finally ends up setting him free.
I can't get my mind wrapped around Hunter's attitude when Louis planned a nice dinner for him! What was going on in this man's mind? You would think if your partner is going through serious emotions, it would be important to give a considerate gesture for putting forth such an effort.
To Hunter, the act of killing satisfies an insatiable urge within him. After it's over, he is calm and satiated for a while, then comes the period where he picks his next victim, and the cat and mouse game begins again until it reaches its final crescendo. In chapter 4, right before the dinner sequence that comes in the next chapter, Hunter is slowly reaching the crazed stage that happens right before he just needs to kill. He gives us a glimpse into his state of mind when he says: "I pick up some groceries on my way back, then return to a mundane life. The thought of what I’m going to do to you so very soon is the only thing that gets me through the night." That night, he isn't capable of going through the motions with Louis and pretending to care about the dinner his partner made him, or the effort he put into it. The mask is slowly slipping, and all he can do is go to sleep and try to stifle his urges until he can finally satisfy them once again.
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I got goosebumps from those answers! This was certainly a treat. I don't read a lot of dark stories, but I think I might have to start. If you liked this story, make sure to go check out @C. Henderson's other stories on his author page! I just loved seeing a new author on AAA. Despite his dark and gloomy stories, I think we found a bright and shining star in the community!
Don't forget to send me some questions! I'm always looking for a surplus of interviews, and you can ask questions about any story by any author! I'll be looking forward to your requests so I can pester our authors. See y'all next month!
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