Monday, February 9, 2015

Authors Who Kill, Of Course!

14,000 people are murdered each year in the United States.  How many of them involve bestselling authors or struggling writers?

The popular new movie, American Sniper, is based on a bestselling book by Chris Kyle, who was shot dead at a shooting range by an Iraq War veteran two years ago.  Such a tragedy may seem rare, but there are numerous cases of homicidal authors or writers as victims of murder.

A 2011 piece on funlinksdaily identified 10 writers who killed their nearest and dearest.  Maybe I should have written about this for Valentine’s Day.

Alice Bradley Sheldon, who wrote under the pen name James Triptree, Jr., killed her husband in a suicide pact.  This science-fiction writer died as well.

Richard Home, known as Harry Horse, stabbed his wife to death, needing 30 stabs to get the job done.  He killed himself afterward.

William S. Burroughs, a prominent poet and novelist from the Beat Generation, shot and killed Joan Vollmer, his wife, allegedly by accident.  He was convicted of manslaughter.

Michael Peterson’s A Time of War and A Bitter Piece achieved acclaim but he made bigger headlines for killing his wife.

Louis Althusser strangled his wife while giving her a massage.  The influential author and political theorist suffered from mental illness.

How many authors have written books about murderers?  How many novels are actually based on real murders?  How many writers have killed but were never discovered to be the killers?

I’m not sure what my macabre fascination is with writers and murder but I can see why the two are linked.  Writers are emotional, spirited people.  They can get involved with the wrong people and find themselves in violent situations.  They are highly imaginative people, and the power to dream and scheme could be used not only to pen a potboiler but to commit the real deal.  Writers are often imbalanced individuals, alternating their addictions and use of writing to escape from a world that needs a re-write.  They are unstable enough to be in a situation where they kill.

The next time you read a story that seems so good but twisted, question whether the author is capable of committing murder.  Perhaps he or she has already killed and the book is a mere confessional?

Anyone could be a writer and people with diverse backgrounds and unusual stories tend to become writers.  So perhaps the field of writing books draws in people, who by nature or experience, are damaged in some way.  They are ripe for becoming candidates for murder.

Maybe I’ve read one too many crime dramas.  So now it’s beware of the author as criminal mastermind?  Yes, authors can be filled with wisdom and provoke powerful, positive thoughts and movements, and many would never hurt anyone.  But there are some writers amongst us who are plotting a murder – and it’s not for a novel.

Talk about bringing authenticism to one’s writing!


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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