WRITING A PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER
Guest Post by Maria Savva
Image from EWZine
Whenever I write a book or story, I always try to see things from the point of view of my characters. I like to think about every action in the book from the character’s perspective, and imagine how he or she would be feeling, what they would be thinking.
My latest novel, Haunted, is a psychological thriller. The novel is a character study and it’s a very dark book. Nigel, the main character in the novel, is living with the consequences of something he did in a moment of rage. Throughout the novel we see the deterioration of his mind. There are elements of horror, paranormal, and drama, as Nigel tries to come to terms with what happened and he is haunted by the mysterious woman from his past.
Getting into the mind of a murderer is quite an intense thing. When I was writing Haunted I had to almost become Nigel, so that I would know how he felt. I had to imagine what he would be thinking, how he would be behaving, and considering the dark nature of the novel, this was quite an emotionally draining thing to do.
I have been told that Haunted is the kind of book that stays with the reader long after they have read it. I see that as a great accomplishment because when I decided to write the novel, I had a particular aim and that was to make people think about how one moment of anger could change a person’s life for ever.
I was inspired to write the novel after hearing a news snippet on TV about a random murder. In London, it’s not unusual to hear news about murder, but for some reason that particular story stayed in my mind. It was a young boy, teenager, who had stabbed a nurse. It was disturbing because the boy didn’t know the nurse, so I started to think about what the boy would feel like if he found out about her background, if he knew what she was like, if he met her family, would he regret what he had done? The key element in my novel and one which I wanted to portray at the forefront of Nigel’s character was regret.
In my novel I have also added possible reasons as to why Nigel ended up committing the crime. It is clear that he is not a bad person. He was quite ‘normal’ before the incident that changed his life. In his upbringing there were possible signs that he might end up rebelling. He grew up to be quite an angry young man, but at the time he committed the crime he was quite settled in his life.
I wanted to portray a man who was ‘normal’ but who commits an unforgivable crime. I wanted to explore in the novel how that affected his family and the victim’s family.
The psychology of crime is a very interesting area. One thing that I hope to get across in Haunted is that often the criminal is also a victim, and that what happened to Nigel could happen to anyone.
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MARIA SAVVA was born in London on 19th March 1970. She studied Law at Middlesex University and The College of Law. She writes novels and short stories in different genres, including drama, psychological thriller, and family saga (although she has not written a courtroom drama to date).