Press Release Creation and Distribution Questionnaire
(The following are my answers to a questionnaire designed to help a press release writer do one for my book. For the first time in my life, however, a business wouldn’t take my money, so I am left with my questionnaire answers and no press release.)
Title: Monstrous: The Autobiography of a Serial Killer but for the Grace of God
City and State: Seattle, Washington
Author Bio: Here I’d mostly just like to convey that I’m living happily ever after with the same woman I hooked up with toward the end of the book. We just marked our twentieth wedding anniversary. Desire for anonymity makes me reluctant to put details on display, though in the interest of full-ish disclosure, I’ve had little education past high school, though I currently find myself in a nice white-collar situation, a definite step up in pay and prestige from the kinds of jobs described in my book. My expertise comes from having lived my life, and having given the subject of my path, how I got from point A to B, a lot of brain wattage, with assists from natural intelligence and a strong memory. Readers may be shocked to learn that post-book I have traded in my love for baseball for a love of chess, though they probably won’t be surprised that recently I have invented an online guessing game.
Target Audience: Forensic psychologists, people interested in learning how a deviant’s mind develops. Alienated young people (but not too young!– Rated ‘R’ for mature themes) in search of self, or a friend, as I, the protagonist, was. People who like ‘beautiful losers’, like Charles Bukowski perhaps. My book’s been out there a while, and I’ve corresponded with several apppreciative readers. One was a woman, a dominatrix and multiple personality, who was also an active stalker, and she wanted to read about a stalker who stopped, in hopes I could give her a reason to try another way. There’s the reader who would put me on the same shelf with Hunter S. Thompson, and another who was reminded of McCandless of “Into the Wild”. I was informed I had written a ‘cult classic’ by a guy who’s written reviews for rock zines.
You’d think true crime buffs, but I find them into heat over light, that violence and chaos is what they expect from a book with ‘serial killer’ in the title, and my book disappoints this group.
Synopsis: In a sentence:
“Monstrous” traces the author’s life as he subtly drifted toward and within a homicidal state before awakening at age 21.
In five words:
Holden Caulfied meets Ted Bundy (Then finds love and is saved)
Though I never became a murderer, there was a time when I was consumed with the idea of it, and I truly was a stalker at age twenty. It is incredible enough to me that the child of my memories, playing Wiffle-ball and what have you, would evolve into a stalker someday, so the book explores how the heck did that happen.
It basically traces my life from birth to the moment of my ‘awakening’, concentrating on the influences that would shape me, whether for better or worse. For worse, I became a stalker and a few other things, but for better I never crossed into overt violence against people, and why that would be so is of equal interest, given that I uncannily resembled the typical serial killer research subject in thoughts, behaviors and traits, to paraphrase one review.
Theme: ‘There but for the grace of God go I’ is a concept I believe in devoutly, without dragging religion into it. That anyone, under different circumstances beyond their control, could *go* anywhere, arrive at any life outcome. Normally the saying is applied to homelessness or disease, but if it fails to hold true for even one scenario, then the saying must be false, and I see serial killing as the ultimate test case and challenge to apply this saying to.
“Monstrous” attempts to live up to its subtitle, “The Autobiography of a Serial Killer but for the Grace of God” by working in two directions at once. On one level I am selling myself to the reader as a could-have-been serial killer, enlisting all the evidence I can think of to bolster my case. But on another I am presenting myself as an ordinary human being who can be easily identified with. I invite the reader to identify with me, by extension with serial killers, and ultimately to see themselves as also being serial killers ‘but for the grace of God’.
One of my favorite reader comments went like this: “Believing us to be so alike, I just could not credit that you would become a serial killer at any point, since I myself have not. It therefore made me uncomfortable when in the action of the book, you did something which I would not. How to explain that to myself? Am I also a serial killer but for the grace of God?”
Inspiration: Because I had to?
There was an awful lot of pressure building up inside me, clamoring for a voice and an outlet. The timing of its genesis coincided with a true crime book that I was disappointed with, “Ted Bundy: Conversations With A Killer” by Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth. Bundy had been talking about the ‘entity’ that would dominate his being at times, and his disclosures were very informative. But his interviewers cut him off at one point to try to make him cough up a number as for how many women he killed. I vowed at that point to set my own story to paper, as I felt that I had something to say on the same subject; I would take over where Bundy had left off.
It was years before I saw my developing manuscript as being of a quality worthy of publication. At first it was mostly a confessional meant only for my wife, who I thought should have a chance to make an informed decision to leave me. Also, when I started the book, which was really tape recorded more than written, I was open to concluding that I should just crawl into a hole for having been so pathetic, and never let these words seep from my house. But when I started connecting the pieces together, I kept saying, “Wait a minute”, that there was no reason to expect me to have chosen another course than the one I had taken.
Newsworthy?: “Monstrous” is almost certainly the most intricate, thorough, subtle chronology of a deviantly developing mind in nonfiction. It’s too bad I’m the only person who has actually said this so far, though I invite you to visit my Amazon page and read Bryan Nelson’s review (along with all the others) for a perspective from someone who may well agree with me, even if he didn’t use those words. The man works with sex offenders and runs a website called DeviantCrimes.
The book is so subtle, and all of these things, that when you get to page 400 and I take up following women, you’re *ready* for it. Like what else was I supposed to do at that point? And by that time I’d been selling myself subliminally, as normal for so long, that if you’re not careful (or don’t do subtlety) you might be lulled into thinking that my new stalking hobby was normal too, and give it a shrug and a yawn.
Pubs: I really have no clue. This gorgeous thing is so-o-o far from any recognized genre.
It’s a coming-of-age story, but you maybe shouldn’t read it until you’ve come of yours.
Additional Info: In addition to my Amazon page (Bryan Nelson’s review) please visit MonstrousWalker’s page at bookcrossing.com, where I have compiled a list of ‘Monstrous Quotables’ from readers at that site.
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