Carter Wilson: ‘Aren’t imaginations fun?’
Most authors, including myself, are asked where we get our ideas from, which has always surprised me, because I assume people have ideas in their head all the time. Authors simply put them to paper. Where does anyone get their ideas from? From those firing synapses in their head, from the chemicals giving their brain sentience. Ideas are from imagination, and I don’t care who you are, everyone has one. I believe the only difference in each person is the willingness to share that imagination.
Because those of us who do share, and do it through fiction, often have some explaining to do. You seem like such a normal guy – why are your stories so dark? Is any of this real? How could you possibly come up with such things? I have learned over the past year, as my book FINAL CROSSING: A NOVEL OF SUSPENSE was sold to a publisher, that nothing is quite as fun as someone asking about my imagination. There’s something exquisite about the moment after someone asks what my book is about, and I get to reply It’s about a man trying to find personal salvation through a series of horrible crucifixion murders. That look in their eyes. Intrigue, and maybe a little hesitation. Perhaps even an unconscious step backwards. As if they thought they knew me, but now are questioning what it was they think they knew.
But the thing is, I’m no different than anyone else.
That nice woman in your office who arranges the office birthday parties thinks of some pretty messed up things, she just doesn’t tell you about them. And your mechanic, the only one you trust with your import? Who knows what he spends his time thinking about as he’s under the hood. What shadows cross his mind through the din of power tools and air compressors?
In particular, I get asked about Rudiger, the villain (confused individual, I call him) in FINAL CROSSING. Where did Rudiger come from? How did you create someone so dark?
I was traveling to Jerusalem on business, and I borrowed my co-worker’s Lonely Planet guide. I read a small excerpt about something called Jerusalem Syndrome. In essence, this is a very rare syndrome where seemingly healthy people travel to Jerusalem and then cannot mentally absorb the religious significance of that city. In simple terms, they go crazy, to the point of institutionalization. They are treated for a few weeks and then are sent home, at which point they are fine.
And I thought to myself, what happens if they get home and they aren’t fine?
That’s where Rudiger came from.
Aren’t imaginations fun?