"Bleed For Me" by Michael Robotham
Jeff Glor talks to Michael Robotham about "Bleed For Me."
Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?
Michael Robotham: We often assume that we would recognize a true psychopath. We see photographs of serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley and we think, 'Yeah, they look like bad'uns.' But the truth is, until their crimes were revealed we could have walked past any of these people in the street and not looked twice.
When I wrote "Bleed For Me" I wanted to capture this dissonance between perceptions and reality. I did this by creating a villain, who is handsome, popular, loved and respected yet at the same time he's a psychopath.
I drew inspiration from a story I covered as a journalist nearly thirty-years ago. It was a committal hearing in Sydney, Australia, where a very handsome, well-dressed property developer from Florida was charged with sexually assaulting two schoolgirls.
Granted bail, Christopher Wilder returned to the US. Less than a year later he launched a killing spree in which he abducted, raped and killed seven women and earned the sobriquet 'The Beauty Queen Killer'.
I was fascinated by how this charismatic psychopath managed to hide his true nature for years, always escaping justice by convincing judges, juries, psychiatrists and social workers that he was innocent and misunderstood.
In "Bleed For Me" I wanted to create a villain with this sort of handsome charisma, somebody that nobody would suspect.
JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?
MR: I was surprised by how many real-life examples I found of high-functioning psychopaths, who manage to hide their true nature and prey on others. It also raises the question about whether mental health professionals should actually be treating psychopaths because they risk making these people even more effective, by showing them how to hide their lack of empathy.
JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?
MR: If I wasn't writing fiction, I'd be ghostwriting 'autobiographies' (my former career) or working as a journalist (another former career). Writing is what makes me get up every morning. It's what I do.
JG: What else are you reading right now?
MR: I have just finished "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan, which won the Pulitzer last year. It is a wonderful treatise on the lives we imagine for ourselves and the lives that eventuate. We set goals, we strive, we fail, we wonder what might have been...
JG: What's next for you?
MR: I have a new novel coming out in October 2012, a very dark psychological thriller called "Say You're Sorry" featuring the same major characters as "Bleed For Me." And in the meantime, I will be slaving away in my basement office 'the pit of despair', trying to make sense of my characters and their motivations. I don't have a name, but at least I have an idea. That's where it starts...
For more on "Bleed For Me" visit Hachette Book Group website.
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