Funny how characters evolve from their original conception. When I started my new novel BLEEDERS, the serial-killer villain, Gene Lassiter, was modeled on real-life Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff. Lassiter was originally an older man, and running a sham wealth management firm was just an elaborate cover for his blood lust. Well, the cover business survived in all the drafts, but the particulars of financial malfeasance took a backseat to the details of psycho-sexual murder.
The early drafts reflected my revulsion for Madoff, but soapbox pontificating detracted from the story. It wasn’t until I made Lassiter an eligible bachelor whose life goal is to kill the heroine, FBI agent Trisha McCleery, the same way he’d killed her mother 20 years earlier that the story started to come together. Some may say BLEEDERS is derivative of THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, and I don’t disagree. But my take on the Beauty-and-the-Beast archetype goes deeper into the forbidden sexual desires of my characters. After all, Clarice Starling never went out on a date with Hannibal Lecter. (And that brainy dinner party doesn’t count.)