“Chelle, could not put it down. Final Sin! Your mind scares me a bit.” A friend recently sent me these comments after reading my suspense thriller novel Final Sin. “I really loved it. Fast, easy reading, page turner, passionate, scary and a bit creepy.”
So how did this romantic suspense author whose earlier books dwell on passion make this crossing to a dark, scary and creepy side? Yes, there is a love story in Final Sin but it is a mere subplot to the story and designed to add tension. There’s some humor and some drama. There are real life situations as fellow paramedics Julie and Matt work to save lives. There’s frustration as Jake must temper his law enforcement prowess with old fashioned and self serving politics.
Then there is the psychotic serial killer whose rationale is anything but rational and whose methods are brutal, sadistic and terrifying. It’s not really the stuff I think about all day long. Honest. So how did my mind get so scary? To be truthful, it scares even me.
I came up with a story about two public servants who meet in an unlikely place, get attracted to each other and then get torn apart when the seamier side of life lands right on them. I created my characters and just like I always do, I built histories for each – I put an embittered divorced man into a job which he eats, sleeps and breathes as a deputy sheriff – I created a young woman whose idealism made her want to help everyone and whose rebelliousness made her free spirited and a little too trusting.
Other characters were added like Matt, Julie’s paramedic partner who doesn’t hide his dislike of Jake, Gregg, Jake’s colleague and one-time brother-in-law, and Brian, Jake’s troubled teen-age son who is angry at his father for abandoning him.
Then I did research – oh that research! As a real life NYS EMT, I admit I already had some knowledge of emergency medical response although I questioned others more experienced than me for finer details. I watched videotaped autopsies and learned about crime scene investigations. And I read about serial killers and common traits.
Lastly I researched history and learned about barbaric punishments and tortures from both the Crusades and early Victorian times. It scared me – there were nights I couldn’t go to sleep because of the inhumane and horrifying things I learned and the realization that humans did these things to other humans. Then I wrote these scary things into the book. I wanted my words to be as real as possible.
And I am proud to know that I was able to convey so much horror while I kept my readers turning pages. I wrote a story that, unlike the requisite happy-ever-after of the romance genre wasn’t necessarily going to have a happy ending. I wanted to make people shudder and look over their shoulders, but it was scary even to me. One of the things I did learn was that I would not want to be surrounded endlessly with the knowledge of the research I did.
It was very scary.
Chelle Cordero is the author of romantic suspense novels Bartlett’s Rule, Forgotten, Within the Law and Courage of the Heart as well as the thriller Final Sin. You can learn more about Ms. Cordero at http://chellecordero.com.