It's now been about six weeks since the release of Raised from the Shadows, and I hope many of you have had the opportunity to read the book, and if so, I would love to hear your views.
For those that have read the book, you will know that it's written from the perspective of a killer, through his eyes with the reader sharing in his experiences, thoughts and feelings as he moves through childhood to adulthood. I chose to write the book from the killers perspective because I wanted the reader to be able to get into the mindset of the killer as well as hopefully providing a good read. Often, crime thrillers are whodunnits and focus on the detectives tracking down perpetrators of crime; there is nothing wrong with this approach with historical book sales showing how successful they have been. I wanted to give the reader something different an explorative journey into the darkest recesses of the mind wrapped up in a piece of fiction.
Probably, one of the biggest challenges was taking psychological, psychopathological and forensic theory converting it into digestible, meaningful information that could be used in a novel. After writing for many years in professional terms in practice, journal articles and literature it was much harder than expected; I found using imagery was quite helpful to convey meaning. For example, in Raised from the Shadows, when talking about the impact of trauma on the main character, John and his ways of coping with the psychological impact of a life event I created the image of John, retreating into the corridors of his mind, seeking out a doorway, an escape from the trauma, into a special safe place in his mind, a sanctuary within. Representing the mind in the book in the form of levels, corridors and places also allowed for the potential to introduce the exploration of human emotions and in the case of trauma, the conscious and unconscious suppression and repression of memories, thoughts, feelings and impulses as experienced by the main character. What I have described are protective mechanisms of the mind, defence mechanisms, that form or exist based on life experiences that enable a person to cope in specific or persistent stressful and traumatic situations. When initially formed these psychological defences can be helpful to the individual, but over time can start to work against the person becoming maladaptive forms of coping. In the case of the main character from the book, his alter-ego is formed in his mind; initially, a protective voice that empowers him allowing him to be strong when faced with high stress, trauma situations. His alter-ego is likened to a beast, powered by raw base emotions, in particular, rage and anger that he has caged deep in the dark lower dungeons of his mind, repressed. When the voice talks to him, he is unaware of where the voice is coming from, its intentions and what it is. Opening his mind, soul and body to the alter-ego is akin to freeing the beast from his cage allowing it to roam free in the corridors of his mind as it seeks to escape by means of control.
Once the maladaptive psychological defences are formed in the mind of the main character, it leaves him open to the possibility of further life trauma experiences acting as triggers which can send him on a pathway to the unravelling of his mind, a scenario that is explored in the book.
It is difficult to go into too much further detail about the workings of the mind of the main character from the book without giving away key parts of the storyline, but I hope this has been enough to wet the appetites of those who have not read the book and provides some extra insight to those who have.
If you have any questions or comments, do drop me a line.
Until next week,