A big thank you to Pamela Callow for providing this guest post, a great insight into how her book Damaged came to be.
Inspiration can appear in many forms. Sometimes it sneaks up on you and whispers, “boo” in your ear. That happened to me one afternoon while I was reading the newspaper. I came across an article in which an appalling and devious US criminal case was described. I knew in that instant I wanted to write a novel based on it.
However, I didn’t want to write a fictionalized account of the crime. Instead, I used this crime as a springboard for DAMAGED’s biomedical plot. I researched the case, studying various angles of the crime and extrapolated a number of facets – including the addition of Halifax’s first fictional serial killer – to create the debut novel of my thriller series.
The inspiration for my characters came about quite differently. There was no unexpected discovery of a thrilling case while sipping tea and reading the paper. No, the characters in DAMAGED were created layer by layer, year after year, from personality types and experiences I’d encountered during my professional career. First, while I trained in one of Halifax’s largest law firms. Next, when I worked as a strategy consultant for an international consulting firm. In both careers, I’d lived the politics, the struggles, and the ambitions of working in a blue-chip corporate environment.
And so does Kate Lange, the series lead of DAMAGED. But Kate is no silver-spooned, Ivy League, fast-tracking attorney. A survivor of a difficult past, she’s the owner of a fixer-upper Victorian home, and the recent adoptee of an orphaned husky. She’s in her thirties when she finally lands her dream job – and finds herself on the brink of professional and personal disaster.
Kate is searching for redemption, both past and present. As are most of the characters in DAMAGED. The title rings true: from the victim’s mother to the drug-dealing witness, all of the characters are damaged. They are all trying to find their way out of their personal no man’s lands. They are flawed, real people, who aren’t always nice and have made mistakes. And they have to deal with the impact a brutal murder will wreak on their lives.
But in Kate’s case, she also has to face her darkest fears. She has to face a serial killer. And when I put Kate in that situation, it was because every time I read about a killer in the newspaper, I found myself asking: how far would I go to stop a serial killer?
I may never know the answer, but in DAMAGED, Kate finds out.