Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz Interview – Serial Killers, a Ghost Detective, and Shadow Men

What was the motivation to make the character of Mika so unlikable? Was the creation of “The Leg Collector” inspired by a particular serial killer? Who are the shadow men? What was the inspiration for the book cover?

selfish, flickr

Mika is a character I love to hate. Was her character based on someone you have been or are acquainted with? If not, what was the motivation to make her so unlikable?
Mika is a compilation of the traits most people tend to despise in others: arrogance, dishonesty, conceit, self-centeredness, selfishness, and the list goes on and on. Now, have we ever known anyone who has possessed all of these traits, like Mika does? No. But we have encountered every one of these traits in other people at one time or another, and the level of disdain we have those people is extremely high. We do admit she is fun to write. We laugh when we come with some outrageous thing for her to do or say.

There have been all kinds of serial killers down through history. They each had their own methods they were known by. Which one, if any, inspired the creation of “The Leg Collector?”
No, there is no one serial killer we looked to for inspiration. But we were very aware of how various tended to take trophies. Jerome Brudos (aka “The Lust Killer”) kept his female victim’s shoes. Anatoly Onoprienko (aka “The Terminator”) kept his victim’s underwear. Ted Bundy was known to keep his victim’s heads. Most serial killers keep something to remember their victims by, and that definitely played a part in our decision for Stan Lee to keep something—and legs seemed the obvious choice. They are, after all, what he wishes he had.

broken leg from doll, pixabay

The identity of “The Leg Collector” is discovered in this book, but he isn’t caught yet. Does he maybe cut off his victims’ legs because his were cut off when he was young? Does he cut off their legs to get even?
Yes, he cuts off the legs of others because, in his mind, his were unfairly taken from him. But, no, he does not do it to get even—he does it in an attempt to gain empathy, to make people understand how he feels. “See! Look in the mirror! That’s you, that’s who you are now. Legless. Helpless. Hopeless. See, that’s I’ve felt for years.” Then he does for them what he is too cowardly to do for himself—he kills them to end their suffering—and thinks of himself as kind for having done so. What a guy.

death, public domain

On page 91, the poem “When Death Comes Your Way” is in Onyx’s journal. Who wrote this poem? Is Onyx supposed to have written it? Or is she quoting some poem that she learned while she was still alive? Maybe she didn’t find it until after her death?
In retrospect, we didn’t do a very good job of explaining who penned that specific poem. In truth, we simply liked it and wanted to include it in the book, so we simply tossed it in! An author’s conceit, for sure, and we plead guilty.

shadow man, wikimedia commons

Shadow men – Dangerous? Threatening? Possibly saviors?
Dangerous? Yes. Threatening? Very. They are definitely not saviors. Think black holes that are so dense with evil the light that hits their form cannot escape the gravity of their own evil intent and misdeeds. They are attracted to energy and when Juniper starts getting a little energy from interacting with Koda and others in the living plane. And they are what was brought into Robyn’s house as well because of Dane.

detective, pixabay

Stormy Boyd, the ghost detective. I thought Onyx Webb defending herself in court was pretty amazing, but a ghost detective? Not one who searches for ghosts, but a detective who is a ghost? Can I expect any more unlikely ghosts to pop up in the series before it is completed?
No, most (if not all) of the ghosts in the series have appeared, although there may be a surprise coming. And as far as Stormy is concerned, let’s just say his talents as a “ghost detective” might just come in handy at the FBI down the road.

I love the cover with spiders on a web plastered on the face of a skull. What was the inspiration for this cover?
Our original cover was okay, but didn’t have the “creep factor” we were looking for. Then… BANG! We came across this amazing skull/spider piece of art and knew we had to have it. It’s the perfect marriage of the skull which represents death and the spiders which represent the weaving of the web. Death and connections are the two major themes of the story. So we contacted the artist and licensed its use. Thank God—if he’d said no we’d have been crushed.

Recommended Articles:
Onyx Webb: Book Five: Episodes 13, 14, & 15 – a Review

Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz Guest Post/Interview – Music, Historical Events, & Developing Characters

No Flood is Too Strange

The Fun of Fiction: Using Famous People, Infamous Mobsters, and Real Places – Guest Post by Andrea Waltz and Richard Fenton

Richard Fenton and Andrea Webb Interview – Ghosts, Mirrors, and Imaginary Friends

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