The Story Behind the Story of the Novel FEAR

Fear by Kathy Merman

People who know me and then read this book are kind of shocked that I
could or would write something from this psycho-sexual thriller/drama/horror genre. They want to think I’m sweet and innocent, and this book certainly isn’t. I remind them that it’s fiction, so they shouldn’t equate what I am capable of creatively writing with who I am, but the explanation goes a little deeper.

I recently finished my master’s in English literature, and I spent two years
reading what others thought I should be reading, and I enjoyed very little of it. As soon as I was out of the program, I couldn’t get to the library fast enough. I’d check out 11 or 12 books at a time, and the librarians started giving me bags for all the books. I’d go through them in a couple of days, and I started bringing my own tote bags to carry all the books. I spent a good deal of my time this summer (especially with my limitations from intense dental work) reading, reading, and reading some more.

I’m not in love with the romance genre anymore, but I read some. A little
Christian mixed in with some realistic fiction took up some of my time, but — alas – I had found my genre in suspense/thriller novels. I didn’t want blood and gore; that’s too much for me to handle, and I remember putting aside a book by an author I really like because it was far too graphic too soon, and it kind of made me sick. Graphic and disturbing scenes for the sake of just being graphic and disturbing made me think.

What I decided was that something was missing from most of these books I
was reading even if they weren’t all that graphic or disturbing. What was missing was the perpetrator’s background. Why does the killer kill? He’s a person after all, isn’t he? What’s his reason? Do little boys (and yes, it’s usually boys) grow up and say, “Someday I want to be a serial killer just like my daddy”? Of course not.

That’s why I wrote FEAR. I wanted a human being behind the killings. A
human being who had a back story that the reader could almost — but not quite — empathize with. When you read this novel, you’ll understand how this could happen. The killer is a person with obvious mental health problems, and as one reader put it, you “almost feel sorry for the perpetrator” and another reader said she almost cried for him at the end.

Kathy Merman Fear: 9798752519598: Merman, Kathy: Books



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