Wednesday, April 29, 2009

R.J. Ellory

From Ali Karim's interview with British novelist Roger Jon “R.J.” Ellory at The Rap Sheet:

AK: Many of your novels feature psychopaths and the occasional serial killer. Where does this interest of yours come from?

RJE: I think it comes from a really deep desire to understand the human psyche. I think all of us are intrigued by what it is that prompts an individual to do terrible things--from Hitler and Idi Amin to Ted Bundy. Why do people do these things? Why are they different? I think writing about it goes some way towards appreciating a viewpoint, trying to make sense of it, trying to shed some light on this terrible darkness.

AK: And that’s the reason why serial killers appeal to so many other readers these days?

RJE: I think it comes back to the emotional impact. People like to be thrilled, excited, horrified, intrigued, mystified. I think that serial killing is perhaps the most not-understood of all criminal actions. It isn’t like theft. You can see why someone would steal: they want something they haven’t got. It isn’t like killing someone out of rage, jealousy, passion, hatred, revenge, or anything else. Serial killers kill people because ... well, why do they kill people? Not just one or two, but three or 12 or 50. What is it that motivates that level of destructive need? It is said that you can never rationalize irrationality, but everyone considers themselves rational. What is that rationale for John Wayne Gacy or the Zodiac? What problem are they solving? What reality do they exist in that makes this kind of behavior necessary? That’s what fascinates me, and I think that’s what fascinates a lot of other people who read crime fiction.
Read the complete Q & A.

--Marshal Zeringue