I had just finished my second book, Journey in Time, which was a romance. I was in the process of researching my next book, a romantic thriller set in Turkey, at an archaeological site near Troy. I’d put my research material away for the night and put in the DVD of Phantom of the Opera, one of my favorite movies. I loved the play and like every woman in the theatre, I wept for the Phantom at the end. The movie had me in tears as well. I’d seen Gerard Butler’s tragic Phantom portrayal a dozen times. Still, I cried when the Phantom had his heart broken.
It occurred to me that night to try my hand at writing a killer who was as emotionally compelling. I got about 100 pages into the manuscript and realized that after twenty-five years in law enforcement, and numerous encounters with people as wicked as they come, I couldn’t make my killer tragic, let alone romantic. I even read Gaston Leroux’s original story to get a better feel for the nature of his character. I can honestly say, I found the original story dreary. Apologies if I’ve offended fans and purists. I have a ton of admiration for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ability to create a Phantom that was so moving.
In spite of choosing not to give my killer qualities I didn’t think he deserved, I believed I could create a way to delve into his mind. I didn’t want him to be a two-dimensional sociopath. I did want to show his descent into madness, while never losing his capacity for deviousness. I also knew he’d be too well bred to be a knife-wielding slasher type of killer. Once I had him set in my mind, the victims he’d seek and his method of murdering came easy.
Now that I had my villain, I knew he had to have a detective worthy of pursuing him. Of all the characters I’ve written, Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone was the strongest and clearest to me from the moment I created him. I knew right away what his family background was, his life experience, his hobby, who his friends were, and who I’d make his enemies.
Another of my favorite movies is, Zulu, with Michael Caine and Stanley Baker. Rorke’s Drift, the historic battle the movie is based on was fought by the 24th Regiment of the South Wales Borderers. A few years back, I went to Wales and made a special trip to Brecon, where the regimental museum is located. I was given a private tour and the volunteers at the museum offered great insight regarding the battle. I decided that one day I’d write a hero from the battle. When starting Silk, I knew Rudyard would be perfect as an unassuming hero from that battle.
One of the main challenges for me was finding the means Rudyard would use to solve the murders. The story is set in Victorian London in 1888, a year before the rudimentary beginning of fingerprint study. He had none of the scientific advantages investigators have today. The second challenge was presenting a snapshot of the socio-economic and political environment of the time. I needed to stay true to the period but didn’t wish for that aspect of the story to appear too negative or to overly romanticize the time either.
Ten years ago Silk wasn’t even a flicker of a story in my imagination. When the idea formed and I decided to run with it, I found I had a lot of fun with the characters, both good and bad. I look forward to writing book two.
Author: Chris Karlsen
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Purchase on Amazon
The city is in a panic as Jack the Ripper continues his murderous spree. While the Whitechapel police struggle to find him, Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone and his partner are working feverishly to find their own serial killer. The British Museum’s beautiful gardens have become a killing ground for young women strangled as they stroll through.
Their investigation has them brushing up against Viscount Everhard, a powerful member of the House of Lords, and a friend to Queen Victoria. When the circumstantial evidence points to him as a suspect, Rudyard must deal with the political blowback, and knows if they are going to go after the viscount, they’d better be right and have proof.
As the body count grows and the public clamor for the detectives to do more, inter-department rivalries complicate the already difficult case.
Her parents were also passionate about traveling and passed their passion onto Chris. Once bitten with the travel bug, Chris spent most of her adult life visiting the places she’d read about and that fascinated her. She’s had the good fortune to travel Europe extensively, the Near East, and North Africa, in addition to most of the United States.
After college, Chris spent the next twenty-five years in law enforcement with two agencies. Harboring a strong desire to write since her teens, upon retiring from police work, Chris decided to pursue her writing career. She currently writes three different series. Her historical romance series is called, Knights in Time. Her romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters, and he latest book, Silk, is book one in her mystery/suspense series, The Bloodstone series.
She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five wild and crazy rescue dogs.