One line in a song did it for me. I will always be indebted to Leonard Cohen. My God if I could write one tenth as well as he can I’d die a happy man. The song is called ‘Never mind’ and it made my eyes pop open, my pulse race, and my brain tick over at three hundred miles an hour thinking…’what is this song about?” You know sometimes you hear the words, anything by Pink Floyd comes to mind, and you know they mean something but you really can’t figure out what? For me, Never mind is like that and I absolutely love it.
In particular, one line screamed at me: ‘I live among you, well disguised”. The more I thought about it, the more it resonated with me, and I began to wonder who would do that, and, why would they do it. To me the answer was simple, a serial killer would. I was so moved by that one line, for the first time in thirty years I sat down and wrote a poem, about a serial murderer, who preys on a certain type of woman while living among us well disguised; and it was chilling. I belted out twenty verses in a matter of minutes, and to me it worked in every area but one; there was no ending, he just kept killing. I tried, and failed to write an end to the story but it wouldn’t work in a poem format. After three days it was still bothering me because I had more I wanted to explore with him; a story with a beginning a middle and an end. My poor long suffering wife said, “Well why don’t you write it then?”
I had no thoughts or plans of writing a book, it could have been just a short story for all I knew, trying to burrow out of my head. I knew Paul ‘Tank’ Williams was a decorated war hero, trained in the art of killing – SAS no less. He received from us, the taxpayers that fund the army, the highest level of training in killing and survival, and he turned into a psychotic serial murderer. I tore into the task, and was writing five thousand words a day, it was an avalanche, and at times I felt like the story wasn’t coming from me, but through me.
Did I get his story right? I hope so. I wanted to explore why and how this man could kill so many people, so uncaringly, and, could I not only explain why and how he became that way, but also make the reader feel sorry for him, for the life he had that made him what he became.