“Sleeping with a Serial Killer” by Robert Germaux
The first person to read everything I write is my wife. Thus, during the first year of my retirement, Cynthia made the acquaintance of Emily Bronson, the fourteen-year-old protagonist of Becoming Emily, my initial attempt at writing a book. Emily also took center stage in Being Emily, the sequel. In both stories, aimed at a middle school audience, I wrote in the first person, my preferred point of view when writing my books. On one hand, a fifty-three-year-old man (my age at that time) probably wouldn’t be your first (or fifth) choice to voice a fourteen-year-old girl. On the other hand, I’d just come off thirty-one years of teaching 9th grade English, so I had a pretty good handle on the way the minds of that particular subset of our society worked. Cynthia told me she thought I’d done a good job of capturing the linguistic nuances of a teenage girl.
Sadly, neither book about Emily made it to publication, so at Cynthia’s urging, I decided to tackle a novel for adults, which resulted in the creation of Jeremy Barnes, my Pittsburgh private detective. I’ve always loved to read mysteries, so getting into the “voice” of JB was easy for me, especially since he’s clearly my alter ego. As with Emily, Cynthia enjoyed my Jeremy novels. She particularly liked JB’s witticisms, etc., saying that the dialogues in those books had an easy flow to them.
Eventually, I decided to try writing a thriller, but in Small Talk, I wanted my bad guy to be tracked down by a police detective, which led me to create Daniel Hayes. Again, Cynthia enjoyed the dialogues and observations in the book. Well, actually, not all the dialogues and observations. I thought it might be interesting to write some of the chapters from the point of view of my serial killer. When Cynthia read the first chapter from his POV, she gave me a funny look and said, “This guy’s creepy,” to which I replied, “Well, you know, serial killer.” A few chapters further on, Cynthia was asking me things like “Where is this coming from?” and “Who is this person?” I told her I was just “getting into character” when I wrote those chapters. “Well,” she said, “I’m not sure I like the idea of sharing my bed with a serial killer.” In the end, though, Cynthia told me she thought Small Talk was one of my best efforts.
I’ve also tried my hand at a love story. The plot of The Backup Husband revolves around a beautiful woman and the two extremely hot guys in her life. Over breakfast one morning, I suddenly had a thought. Looking across the table at my wife, I said, “How come, when I was writing The Backup Husband, I didn’t hear anything about you sharing your bed with a stud?” She gave me the kind of smile I used to see her give her kindergarten students as she said, “Well, naturally, I assumed that was understood.” I nodded and said, “Oh, okay. That makes sense.”
A little while later, after we’d finished eating and were putting the dishes in the sink, Cynthia casually asked, “Have you ever thought about writing a sequel to The Backup Husband? Maybe one focusing mainly on Steven, the guy who swims a lot, has that narrow waist and those broad shoulders.” She paused for a moment, as though deep in thought, then went on. “Yes, I definitely think you should write another book about Steven. In fact,” and here she suddenly steered me over to the table and pulled out a chair, “why don’t you start right now?” As she walked back towards the sink, she turned and added, “Maybe you can give me the first chapter before bedtime tonight.”
ABOUT ROBERT GERMAUX
Robert Germaux is a multi-genre author, residing in the Pittsburgh, PA area with his wife Cynthia. Robert is a retired English teacher who enjoys connecting with book lovers, authors and readers. He can be contacted via his website, Facebook and Twitter.