When I first came up with the concept of Sins of the Father, I had been watching my favorite show, Criminal Minds, and the idea struck me as to write about the family’s perspective when a loved one is found to be a prolific serial killer.
The show, on its eighth season, follows the FBI behavioral specialists who help local police identify and track killers by specific traits and damaging behaviors. Sometimes they get into the mind of the victim, the killer and even the partner of the killer, but they have yet to show the family’s take on these killers, unless the family was being killed off themselves.
I decided to take a different approach. How would the revelation of ones entire compass of life be changed should they find out their parent, sibling or extended family were one of the most sought after serial killers of all time? Hence, Sins of the Father was born.
The concept was easy. We are taught since birth to obey, honor, and love our parents. They are our guides to life, our sustenance that helps us sustain, the very foundation of the core within our being. Who would ever suspect their parent was a killer? What’s more, who would ever suspect their parent kept this secret and avoided capture for twenty-six years?
In order to make the story more plausible, I did my homework. I Googled The son of Sam, the Green River Killer, Ted Bundy, and many other well known serial killers of our time and read their stories. It was a very gruesome and heartbreaking for me to read how these people had gotten away with taking someone’s life for so long. And they averaged more than five murders.
While I wanted to give the novel a very life-like feel, I didn’t want to include any gruesome or gore type of scenes. So I had to then decide if I wanted one main character to tell the story or multiple. How was the best way to get the plot worked in?
Annalynn had always been in my minds eye of one of the main characters. It was as I developed her ancestry, personality and characteristics that I decided it was through her only, that I would tell the story. Yes of course I would incorporate others, but she had to be the main focal point. Through her eyes alone, I would be able to bring on a strong plot but trace it with a delicate hand. All other characters were menial compared to the impact I wanted Annalynn to have.
It was by far one of the most difficult books I have had to write. I have always stayed within my comfort zone, writing on situations and occurrences I could see right outside my front door. But with Sins of the Father, I had found myself in new territory. I had a task set for myself that I was unsure I could complete.
For one, I am not the product of killers or law breakers. I also have no law enforcement background so I would have to rely strictly on research and imagination. And I had never had a loved one become arrested for a crime as heinous as murder. So how to put myself in the shoes of a daughter who finds out her father is a prolific serial killer? What’s more, how do I make her voice and story believable?
It all came down to empathy and imagination. I had to put myself in that exact frame of mind. I had to do hours, days even two weeks of research to make sure I had the right demographics, scene placement and character development to give the story a dynamic feel. I had to step out of my box and open my eyes and mind to different possibilities.
I am very proud of the finished product and so far there have been rave reviews. While Sins of the Father is not a stand alone, it will have a sequel and maybe even a third installment. I really hope that my readers get as much enjoyment out of reading it as I have out of writing it.