Obsession: what does it do to us? How does it change us?
My work as a psychotherapist means that I can study personality types. We all have the potential to move into our ‘dark side’ and commit acts of violence, acts of savagery. As a novelist I wondered, ‘What happens when one of the characters in Torn, a rock star, not only indulges in dark fantasies but acts on them?’ Skye Cooper had it all. He was on a sell-out tour with his band, Kill Kestrels when his obsessive behaviour resulted in a life changing situation. We all have choices to make but we must accept the consequences.
Torn is the third book in the Wheeler and Ross series and as with the others, I listened to music while writing. I needed something dramatic going on in the background while I wrote, hopefully creating tension and suspense for the reader. I listened mostly to Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and a host of other jazz greats. I needed to have music without lyrics, so jazz was perfect. If I’d heard someone telling a story in a song, it would have interfered with the process.
Both Wheeler and Ross have flaws. Every human being has them, we all mess up. The trick is to keep going, picking ourselves up and carrying on. Ross has a challenging personal situation in Torn. He grows from this experience. But while he was dealing with this, Wheeler was left to work the case alone.
Glasgow, like every other city has an underbelly. I grew up in the east end and witnessed violence. I quickly recognised its ‘currency’ in some quarters of our society. Crime writing must have a situation which is unjust, something which challenges our perceptions of what is good and fair. Therefore, there are parts of Torn which may be challenging, situations that characters are placed in which appear unfair but eventually, at the end of their journey in the book, a (perhaps uneasy) sense of equilibrium is achieved.
As a psychotherapist, I understand the importance of balance, neither on a huge high, nor on a low but poised in-between. At the end of Torn there is stability.