Intention wasn't just my first novel; it was also the creative element of my Doctoral thesis. In my reading and researching, I struggled to find a female psychopath who didn't feel like a candy-cane version of her male counterparts. I wanted something grizzly, twisted - but also a woman. There are books like this, I know, but throughout my days researching these books it was starting to feel more and more like female psychopaths didn't have quite the same stance that males did - and I wanted to change that.
So Gillian, Intention's narrator, is as authentic as I could think to make her. She hails from an abusive household, she leans towards animal cruelty (consider that a content warning), and she's looking to cut her teeth. Coming of age meets serial killer fiction, Intention is a young psychopath's journey into killing, and you can read a sneak preview of the book here...
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, Intention is available on Amazon Kindle now for just £1.99 (you can download it here).