Friday, 10 April 2015

The Inspiration behind "Normal" with Graeme Cameron

Today’s guest blog is by debut author Graeme Cameron who talks about the inspirational behind his novel “Normal”. 

I grew up on detective shows and 70s car chase films, and the first thing I did when I left school was to shut myself away in the spare room at home and combine those two passions into the most dreadful attempt at a novel that will never see the light of day (It was about an ex-cop private detective with a sketchy, tragic past, an ex-wife he was still in love with, a damsel in distress and a case involving his former nemesis smuggling drugs in stolen sports cars or something, and trust me, all evidence of its existence has been thoroughly eradicated). Anyway, one afternoon I had the radio on and heard an interview with a former FBI profiler who'd just written a novel and was talking about his background in profiling and forensic psychology and explaining the inner workings of a serial killer, and it really captured my imagination and made me determined to tackle the subject myself. At the time, The Silence of the Lambs movie had just won all the Oscars and serial killers were back in fashion, so everyone was writing about them and it seemed as though all of the stories had already been told, be they starchy procedurals or forensic-heavy mysteries or gory slasher stories, so I put it on the back burner.

Then some life happened – marriage, kids – and I didn't write anything of any substance for a number of years until finally, I had to have a word with myself and say, "Look, you've got a bunch of beginnings and endings and no middles at all, and you really need to knuckle down and write something." The problem of telling a unique story hadn't gone away, but by then the fashion was for saying something new by pushing the boundaries in terms of the gruesomeness of the crimes or the cartoonish evil of the killer, and I didn't want to fall into that trap. So, as an exercise in writing something, I decided to sit down and get those things out of my system by writing the most horrid, gory, offensive, un-publishable horror I could think of. A few paragraphs in, I realised I couldn't really stomach it and naturally began to dial it back to something more palatable, and after a chapter or two I discovered that I'd accidentally started writing something not only readable, but that I hadn't really seen before. And the whole thing just naturally evolved from that point.

So, the simple answer to the question is a chap called Derek who wrote a book once (which I still haven't read), and frustration at my own lack of ambition!

You can find more information about Graeme Cameron and his books on his website.  You can also find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @GNCameron

He lives in your community, in a nice house with a well-tended garden. He shops in your supermarket, bumping shoulders with you and apologising with a smile. He drives beside you on the highway, politely waving you into the lane ahead of him. What you don't know is that he has an elaborate cage built into a secret basement under his garage. And the food that he's carefully shopping for is to feed a young woman he's holding there against her will—one in a string of many, unaware of the fate that awaits her.

This is how it's been for a long time. It's normal…and it works. Perfectly.  Then he meets the checkout girl from the 24-hour grocery.  And now the plan, the hunts, the room…the others. He doesn’t need any of them any more. He only needs her. But just as he decides to go straight, the police start to close in. He might be able to cover his tracks, except for one small problem: he still has someone trapped in his garage.

Discovering his humanity couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Normal by Graeme Cameron is out now (Mira, £7.99 (PB))

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