When Art Imitates Life - 2 Recent Crimes To Study

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I’m a thriller author, which means I’m slightly more in tune with the dark side of humanity than many of my friends. I spent years researching serial killers, to the point that I never want to write one again, actually. I spent my nights watching Forensic Files, went on ride-alongs with the Nashville Police, read books that curled my toes, studied and talked with F.B.I. profilers, did autopsies. The list is long and varied — suffice it to say, for many years, I lived and breathed crime.

I learned two inalienable truths — nothing I can possibly dream up hasn’t been thought of by a disturbed individual. And the capacity for cruelty and hate is bottomless. 

I’ve moved away from this kind of research in the past few years, simply because I couldn’t stomach it anymore. This is a good thing. My dreams aren’t as terrifying; I don’t spend as much time looking over my shoulder. (Trust me, you spend years in the minds of horrible villains, you get a wee bit paranoid.) I’ve discovered an affinity for stories that explore how tragedy affects normal people and write about that now. I read many more books that are fantasy driven, especially YA, and the ones that are set in the real world are often… nicer, let’s say, than the ones I used to consume.

But there have been two recent crime sprees that captured my attention. Obsessively. 

The first was Mark Anthony Conditt — also known as the Austin Bomber. The most recent was here in my own city, and is really still ongoing — Travis Reinking, who murdered four people and wounded four others in a Waffle House. Reinking was stopped by a citizen hero. Conditt blew himself up. Both men terrorized their respective cities, though Conditt reign lasted longer.

If you are a thriller writer, or interested in true crime, these two cases represent some seriously great multi-agency police work. I admit to taking days of notes on Conditt, trading theories with a friend who lives in Austin, feeling the fear that gripped the city. Reinking - well, truth be told, I'm in a bit of a fog as I write this because like so many Nashvillians, I didn’t sleep last night, knowing he was out there, armed, insane, and clearly being driven by demons few of us can understand. 

We don’t know all the details of either case, the base motivations of the killers, the ramifications for the victims, and for the two cities — so similar in nature, both home to hip music and art communities. But if you’re learning how to write thrillers, or you're interested in true crime, you really should pay attention to them both. You will learn a great deal about all the incredible work our law enforcement officials do when faced with this kind of spree killer. The technical details of both searches are available online, and they are fascinating. Frightening, but fascinating.

In the meantime, we affected by these tragedies will try to heal. It just breaks my heart we have to, yet again. 

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J.T. Ellison

New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison writes dark psychological thrillers starring Nashville Homicide Lt. Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, and pens the Nicholas Drummond series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Cohost of the premier literary television show, A Word on Words, Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.

For more insight into her wicked imagination, join J.T.’s email list at jtellison.com/subscribe, or follow her online at Facebook.com/JTEllison14 or on Twitter @thrillerchick.

Did You Learn One New Thing This Weekend?

Oh Hello, Monday...

Happy Monday, chickens! Did you learn anything fun this weekend? 

I did. I learned that buying an adorable loose-cable-stitch pillow without fully thinking through the fact that one of my cats is A- obsessed with pillows and B - has very sharp little claws was maybe not the best design decision I’ve ever made. But the cat is happy, so there’s that. 

It was a working weekend for us. I’ve had a lot on my plate the past few weeks so it was nice to have a quiet, rainy weekend to catch up and reconnect with my work. I have been doing the last edits on TEAR ME APART, working through a short story, fighting back a new novel idea, and of course, drafting the 6th Brit thriller, so I’m feeling very creative, and that makes me happy. 

How about you? How was your weekend, and what did you learn?

Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 4.22.18

Happy Sunday, gentle readers. I hope you're getting lots of rest for the week ahead.

Slow down, make a fresh pot of tea, and get your read on. I have some links for you:


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:


Recipe: Slow Cooker Pesto Chicken. This look so easy and delicious, especially for busy writers. If you try it, let me know how it is! I do love pesto...
 

Feline Good with Our Favorite Literary Cats. The New York Public Library cataloged some of the best cats in literature. I can totally get on board with this.


11 Ridiculously Overdue Library Books (that were finally returned). We've all been there—but perhaps not quite at this level...
 

35,000 Certified Gluten-Free Products. This database is a dream for those of us who are celiacs or gluten-sensitive. Win!
 

This Librarian Posted About A Library "Mystery" On Twitter & The Story Has The Best Ending. I just love this.


Judy Blume's Advice for Aspiring Writers. I adore Judy Blume (ahem, see here), so I was delighted to see bite-sized pieces of her advice distilled into this list.


The Best Breathing Technique for Anxiety. Just in case you need some instant zen. 


And closer to home:

It's official: The AP loves THE SIXTH DAY! Catherine and I were tickled pink when we heard the news. Have you gotten your copy yet?

And check out the latest episode of A WORD ON WORDS – where I chat with former US Poet Laureate, Billy Collins! Witty and charming, just like his verse, Mr. Collins and I talked about his newest collection, THE RAIN IN PORTUGAL


That's it from me. Y'all have a great week, pat a kitty or two, and we'll talk again soon.

xo,
J.T.

Transform Your Basement Into a Cool Bookish Space

Basement of my dreams

This is an awesome example, right? The bookcases, the side tables, the lighting, the herringbone floor...

#want

Comment

J.T. Ellison

New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison writes dark psychological thrillers starring Nashville Homicide Lt. Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, and pens the Nicholas Drummond series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Cohost of the premier literary television show, A Word on Words, Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.

For more insight into her wicked imagination, join J.T.’s email list at jtellison.com/subscribe, or follow her online at Facebook.com/JTEllison14 or on Twitter @thrillerchick.

What are you reading this weekend?

What are you reading this weekend?

Hello, chickens, and Happy Friday!

Let's talk about books. I just finished a book by a writer friend this week (sneak peeks = perks of having writer friends), and it was so great. I just can't tell you about it yet.

Why won't I tell you? Because I am SO MEAN. 😂But cross my heart, I'll let you know about it soon. Promise.

What are you reading this weekend? Let me know in the comments!