Intention was my first novel - not only with Bloodhound Books, but ever. It also formed the basis of my Doctoral research, which was to investigate the misrepresentations of female violence in contemporary crime fiction. In short, I wanted a real female psychopath; not a candy-cane version, which was all I'd encountered in my reading and research up to that point.
So Gillian, my narrator, is as authentic as I could think to make her. Hailing from an abusive household, leaning towards animal cruelty (consider that a content warning), and looking for a space to cut her teeth in the summer months home from university, Intention is a look into the mind of a killer coming of age - and you can meet Gillian in the snippet below.
You want to know what it’s like. I can understand that; I wanted to know as well, I suppose. Ultimately, it’s like anything else that any one person does despite knowing that they shouldn’t. But they do it all the same, because they’re too familiar with the feeling that they’ll experience afterwards.
Life is so heavy most of the time. You’re struggling under the surface with a weight on you and what do you do? How do you find a way to breathe again? We’re all dying to know the answer – and don’t think that I haven’t noticed the wonderful irony there – but, lacking any feasible explanations for life’s largest dilemmas and questions, instead we simply guess. We assume things that will improve our little existence. And these assumptions, they then become our unashamed justifications for whatever condemnable behaviours we throw ourselves into. ‘It makes life a little better,’ we say, excusing our tendencies to cheat on our partners, overeat unhealthy foods, smoke. It makes life a little better, and for the majority of us that is reason enough for anything.
Does any of this sound familiar? There must be something – one mostly harmless little thing – that you allow yourself. That one cigarette at the end of the day; that eye contact with a colleague you hold for a beat too long?
‘No human beings were harmed in the making of this bad habit,’ we remind ourselves; a disclaimer to our misdemeanours. It’s only a problem, you see, when people become aware of it, when people are hurt by it. That’s when the masses will frown and judge – as though that has become the benchmark for human depravity. You’ve hurt another human being? Well, that’s a line! But it’s a line that we love to see crossed, don’t you think? There’s nothing better than finding someone more evil than ourselves because those people really put things into perspective.
If you'd like to know more about Gillian - and what she gets up to - you can download Intention on Amazon Kindle now for just £1.99 right here.