Tag Archive | j.c. martin

Where Crime Meets Horror: Inside the Mind of a Killer

Today I bring you a guest post by a wonderful author who immediately caught my attention a year ago with her story, The Doll. Her name is J.C. Martin and she is absolutely someone to watch. Her debut novel, Oracle, has just been released and is sure to be a huge success. I’m sure you’ll love her work as much as I do. So little hunters and huntresses, with great pleasure, I bring you J.C. Martin. Take it away…

Although my main genre is crime and thrillers, I adore scary stories, and enjoy dabbling in horror fiction. As a fan of both genres, I find many parallels between crime fiction and psychological horror, and nowhere else are these similarities starker, than when one looks inside the mind of a killer.

In this post, I discuss certain elements of a villain’s psychology—using some mildly clever subtitles—that could be every bit as spooky as one of Poe’s poems.

Eyes without a Face

In my books, I often write a few chapters from the point of view of the antagonist. Oracle is no exception. By getting inside the villain’s mind, readers will gain a different perspective on the crime. To the killer, it’s not just a murder. Depending on their twisted logic, it could mean so much more: personal gratification, retribution, a work of art, divine sacrifice, even an act of heroism for the good of all.

By seeing the world through the killer’s eyes, readers, though they may not agree with his methods, may sympathise with his motivations. We may share the same views as a psychopath. The only difference is that they act on their compulsions.

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

The nature versus nurture debate in behavioural psychology fascinates me. Personally, I believe a psychopath is borne from an unfortunate combination of both: traumatic experiences and difficult circumstances, coupled with and an innate neurological malfunction, could well be the recipe for a serial murderer.

The antagonists in my stories aim to address this question of how a killer came to be. In Oracle, we visit the Oracle’s childhood in an attempt to understand the factors that triggered his psychotic behaviour.

Whilst experiencing past and present events through a madman’s eyes can be a creepy experience in itself, the scariest thing about killers, particularly serial killers, could be this…

They Walk Among Us

Many psychopaths appear to lead completely normal lives: Ted Bundy was a promising law student; Ian Brady was a quiet, unassuming office clerk. Could that nice young man in the cubicle next to yours be a serial killer in training? You may never know…

For me, more unnerving than their twisted psyche and murderous capabilities, the fact that you can’t tell a psychopathic murderer from the average Joe, is the scariest thought of all.

Through writing or reading from the perspective of a psychopath, we get to explore the darkest recesses of the human psyche. This walk on the dark side, together with the knowledge that these real-life monsters are indistinguishable from the everyday man, is what makes writing serial killer fiction so horrifyingly intriguing.

How do you find a serial killer in a crowd? You don’t. They find you.

What compels YOU most about the mind of a killer? In your opinion, who is the scariest serial killer of all, real or fictional?

About J.C. Martin:

J.C. Martin is a butt-kicking bookworm: when she isn’t reading or writing, she teaches martial arts and self-defence to adults and children. A writer of dark mysteries and gripping thrillers with a psychological slant, her short stories have won various prizes, and have been published in several anthologies. Oracle, released by J. Taylor Publishing, is her debut novel.

Born and raised in Malaysia, J.C. now lives in south London with her husband and three dogs.

Website: http://jc-martin.com


As the countdown begins, the body count rises.

With London gearing up to host the Olympics, the city doesn’t need a serial killer stalking the streets. They’ve got one anyway.

Leaving a trail of brutal and bizarre murders, the police are no closer to finding their latest murderer than Detective Inspector Kurt Lancer is in finding a solution for his daughter’s disability. 

Thrust into the pressure cooker of a high profile case, the struggling single parent is wound tight as he tries to balance care of his own family with the safety of a growing population of potential next victims.

One of whom could be his own daughter. 

Fingers point in every direction as the public relations nightmare grows, and Lancer’s only answer comes in the form of a single oak leaf left at each crime scene.

Available wherever e-books are sold. Click on any of J.C.’s links throughout the post to learn more or pick up your copy today!

Interview with Author J.C. Martin

If you’ve ever wondered to yourself if Twitter is worth the time and effort, I have good news. Thanks to my trawling around the land o tweets, I happily stumbled upon writer J.C. Martin and picked up a copy of her story, The Doll. I became an instant fan. Luckily, she agreed to be interviewed for this old blog and chain. J.C. is so cool, she also interviewed me for her blog and has a giveaway for my book as well. So, thanks to Twitter, two complete strangers have become friends, at least in this nutty online world.

J.C. Martin has some pretty finely tuned writing chops and has made whole books available for free on her website. You can’t beat that with a stick with a nail on the end. My one piece of advice for you, the reader: get on the bandwagon now, while there’s still room.

1.       Your story, The Doll, just blew me away. It’s set on the very real Island of Dolls in Mexico. What inspired you to write The Doll and have you ever been to that creepy island?
Sadly, I’ve never had the chance (yet) to visit Mexico. I discovered the Island of the Dolls while researching backdrops for a planned collection of short horror stories. Initially, I was thinking along the lines of a geographic theme for the anthology: terror across the globe, or something like that. I Googled “scariest places in the world,” and the Island of the Dolls (unsurprisingly) popped up repeatedly. There were some pretty gruesome and atmospheric photos of the dolls, and because I’ve recently read about the South American religion of Santeria, and its darker cousin, Palo Mayombe, the idea of a cursed doll crafted from black magic came to me naturally!
And if you are wondering, yes, I am still working on said horror story collection, which is why I released The Doll as a teaser, and as a way to gauge response.
2.       I see that you speak 3 languages. Is there one language that is easier for you to write in, or does it not matter since you’re so fluent in all? 
Heavens, I wish! I am by far most fluent in English. My grasp on the other languages have deteriorated from lack of use. I can still read, speak and understand most stuff OK in Chinese and Malay, but I probably have a writing age of about 6 in them!
And I always like to boast that, although they are technically not different languages, I can speak four Chinese dialects: Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka and Hokkien. 🙂
3.       The Doll is very much a horror story, but you also write in other genres. Which is your absolute favorite to write in, and which is your favorite to read?
I don’t start out a story by pigeon-holing them into a genre, but oddly most of my short stories evolve into horror. A handful are more general, or literary, fiction. For longer works, both my novels — one I’m actively querying, and one I’m currently plotting — are crime fiction, but definitely dark crime fiction.
4.       When  you’re not writing, you also teach martial arts. What school of martial arts do you teach and what level are you at? Does the discipline you have to master in martial arts help you with your writing? How so?
I teach Wing Chun kung fu, a traditional Chinese martial art, as a 2nd Degree (equivalent to a 2nd Dan black belt). The discipline, perseverance and focus mastered in Wing Chun definitely helps keep my butt in the chair and my eyes on the computer screen (I have a full interview on my martial arts experiences and how they influence my writing HERE). Furthermore, it’s been immensely useful when writing fight scenes! I can be my own fight choreographer! (I’ve also written a post on writing action scenes HERE.)
5.       What’s your favorite movie, book and song?
Movie – Kung Fu Panda! 1 AND 2! Combines my love of kung fu and cuddly animals with my love for a good storyline! (not the most obvious choice for a dark fiction writer, I know!)
Book – This is difficult. I have loads, but one that really stood out for me: one is Boris Starling’s Messiah. It was the first crime novel that blew me away, not just with an intricate plot, but tightly paced writing that kept me going and going. The final revelation made me go “OMG!”, and it is now the gold standard of crime fiction I aspire to.
Song – I’m a sucker for Disney music, but my current favourite is In This Life by the late Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, whose awesome music I’ve just discovered. We played this for our first dance, at our wedding in August. 🙂
6.       Tell us a little about what you’re currently working on. 
Apart from the short story collection now tentatively titled Everyday Horrors, I’m planning my crime novel currently called Labyirinth, in which I hope to capture the spookiness of the old, disused stations of the London Underground.
7.       If you could live anywhere in the world and be anything you want, where and what would you be?
I would be a full-time writer (what else?) working from my beach house, on an idyllic Malaysian island overlooking the Andaman Sea.
8.       Mind telling the world a little something that most people don’t know about you?

I have pretty severe trypanophobia, and have not had a needle pierce my skin for over 7 years now. Seriously, when the doctor took my blood pressure once before drawing blood for a blood test, he wondered if I had hypertension, in my late teens! When he took it again after blood was drawn, my b.p. returned to normal.
I have refused travel vaccinations, blood tests, and a jab for the swine ‘flu that hit the UK a couple of years back. I ended up catching the ‘flu, but it was well worth not having the injection!

To learn more about J.C., visit her website at http://jc-martin.com/fighterwriter/about/

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