Today I’m joined by the wonderful author Chris Carter to celebrate the paperback publication of The Caller, which is the eighth book in the Robert Hunter series. Before we get into the juicy stuff, let me tell you a little bit about both Chris and the book first…
Be careful before answering your next call. It could be the beginning of your worst nightmare.
After a tough week, Tanya Kaitlin is looking forward to a relaxing night in, but as she steps out of her shower, she hears her phone ring. The video call request comes from her best friend, Karen Ward. Tanya takes the call and the nightmare begins.
Detectives Robert Hunter and Carlos Garcia are thrown into a rollercoaster of evil, chasing a predator who scouts the streets and social media networks for victims, taunting them with secret messages and feeding on their fear.
Author: Chris Carter
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Paperback: 496 pages (also available in hardback, eBook and audio book)
About Chris Carter:
Chris was born in Brasilia, Brazil where he spent his childhood and teenage years. After graduating from high school, he moved to the USA where he studied psychology, specialising in criminal behaviour. During his University years I held a variety of odd jobs, ranging from flipping burgers to being part of an all-male exotic dancing group.
He worked as a criminal psychologist for several years, during which he interviewed and worked on over one hundred cases involving serial killers, murderers and serious offenders, before moving to Los Angeles, where he swapped the suits and briefcases for ripped jeans, bandanas and an electric guitar. After a spell playing for several well-known glam rock bands, he decided to try my luck in London, where he was fortunate enough to have played for a number of famous artists. He toured the world several times as a professional musician. A few years ago he gave it all up to become a full time writer.
So, without further ado – let’s have a little chat…
HBC: How do you research crimes and murders to ensure they’re portrayed credibly in the books?
CC: Other than drawing from my past experiences with crime scenes and working with the police, I do use the Internet a lot. There are several sites that report on crime in more detail than the regular media. They are a great source of information. I also have a couple of contacts in morgues for the forensics details.
HBC: I saw recently that you have insomnia – how do you decide which of your own experiences / personality traits will be present in your characters and do you get your best ideas for writing at night?
CC: The personality traits I share with Hunter (some with Garcia as well) were decided randomly. It is easier to talk or write about what you know. In the case of insomnia, since I have suffered from it for so many years, it was very easy for me to create a character who suffered from the same affliction because I know exactly how that feels and the kind of problems that can come from it. To be honest, get ideas all the time. At night, in the morning, in the afternoon… sometimes even when I’m asleep. Any little fact can give me an idea for a plot, so I am always looking around for something that can trigger a story I my brain.
HBC: How have your studies in psychology and criminal behaviour, as well as your career as a criminal psychologist, influenced your writing?
CC: It has completely influenced my writing. My main detective is an ex-criminal psychologist and the main reason for that is so I can use my knowledge in the subject in my novels. A lot of the crimes and crime scenes in my novels also derive from real crime scenes and cases I was a part of during my previous career.
HBC: What made you want to leave criminal psychology and your life as a musician behind, to pursue a career in writing?
CC: The truth is that I had never planned on writing a book. I never though about a career in writing and I never spent any time thinking up stories or developing characters in my head that I would one day want to write about. My submersion into the world of books – writing books that is – came out of a dream I had back in 2007. I didn’t exactly leave music to become a writer. I had stopped being a professional musician many years before I had the dream that led me to write my first book.
HBC: Having had a number of books out in fairly quick succession, how do you keep yourself motivated when writing and how do you avoid pressure?
CC: I’m not sure I can say that I had a number of books out in quick succession. I release one book per year, which I think is about the norm for authors nowadays. The motivation for me is easy – I absolutely love what I do. Love every part of the writing a novel process – the research, the creation of characters, the feeling that I get when I get a good idea for a plot… everything. When you enjoy what you do so much, motivation isn’t a problem. Now pressure I can’t avoid. I do basically live under it all the time, but I guess it helps push everything forward.
HBC: How has your own fear inspired your writing?
CC: Not very much, I’m afraid. What I fear the most are large insects and spiders, but is not an obsessive fear. I have used insects in one of my novels and I must admit that that was a very innerving scene to write.
HBC: Your books are addictive – do you have a formula in mind when writing?
CC: I wouldn’t call it a formula, but I do follow a pattern, which started with my first book. Because The Crucifix Killer did so well when it was released, to me it stood to reason to write my second book using the same style I used with the first one, with one major change – I decided to use much shorter chapters. That book also did very well, so I used the same pattern for my third novel and so on. I did try a brand new pattern for book six, which also worked very well.
HBC: What books and authors inspire you?
CC: The truth is that I don’t really have a favourite writer and I was not inspired to write by anyone. I never even thought about being a writer until I had a dream about a story, which turned out to be The Crucifix Killer, my first novel. I do respect every single author out there, because this is a tough job, I just don’t have a favourite one. I used to love reading Frederick Forsyth.
HBC: What’s next for you?
CC: I am now just finishing my 9th novel, which will be titled “The Gallery of the Dead”. After that I will take a break of about one month before starting book number 10.
HBC: And finally, what are your vices?
CC: Dancing, single malt Scotch whisky and listening to music.
A HUGE thank you to the wonderful Chris Carter for taking time out of his schedule to have a quick chat, and also to Jamie at Simon & Schuster for organising this opportunity. Keep your eyes peeled for a full review of this one next month.