Written In Blood: Interview with author Karin Slaughter
By James W, Sunday 11th November 2018

Karin SlaughterKarin Slaughter is truly a global superstar when it comes to crime fiction. Her work has been translated into 37 different languages and sold over 35 million books! In Episode 5 of Written in Blood, Karin introduces Simon to the case of Casanova Killer Paul John Knowles, a spree killer who terrorised the US, and who came within a few miles of Karin's home. Her she chats about this and her writing career.

CBSR: Was there one writer or person in your life who inspired you to become a writer?

KS: My biggest hero was my ninth grade English teacher, Ms. Bennett. She was the first adult who told me, “you’re a good writer, but you could be better.” Up until that point, I had heard plenty of the first part of that sentence and I was a bit of an arrogant ass about my skills. Ms. Bennett put novels and short stories in my hands that helped mold me into a better story teller. She understood intrinsically that talent is either there or not, but mastery comes from studying the craft. The idea that you can hone that talent, that you can use your words to make people feel and think and laugh and understand, was completely new to me. In the Good Daughter, I was actually thinking about Ms. Bennett when I wrote the character of Gamma, because she, too, was an opinionated woman, and kind of bossy, and very intimidating, but once you earned her respect, you felt like you were worth something. Unfortunately, Ms. Bennett passed away last year, but I still hear her voice in my head every time I start a new story. For a writer, the one measure of our skill that counts is to be even better the next time. Whenever I start a story, I have it in my head that my only goal is to make sure that the book I deliver to my readers is better, different, more interesting than the book that came before. I have my teacher to thank for that.

CBSR: Can you recall your feelings when you saw your first novel in print and on sale in stores?

KS: Well, I think the big fear was that it was ONLY at that store. Then I started touring and saw it at other stores and thought, “phew.”

CBSR: Does real life tend to inspire your work, or do ideas just come to you?

KS: With most books, I have no idea where the inspiration comes from. Generally, it’s a “what if” moment. That’s what gets me going: answering the what ifs. Though I have a lot of access to real-life cases, I never take one in its entirety and put it in a book. I always remind myself that these crimes happen to real people, and I need to honor that fact, not exploit it. So, I pick and choose different details from different cases and blend them together. That being said, there is nothing a fiction author can come up with that hasn’t been done before in real life—usually far more horrifically.

CBSR: Do you have a strict writing regime?

KS: When I’m ready to work on a story, I drive two hours outside of Atlanta to the Blue Ridge Mountains, where I have a cabin that my father built for me. I wish I could say that I have a very balanced day when I’m working, but all I do is get up in the morning, start writing, then stop writing when I can’t see or think anymore. Sometimes, that can be 12 or 16 hours (with naps in between) and sometimes that can be four hours (with more naps) but I’ve always been better in isolation. My dad lives right up the road, so sometimes I’ll open my front door in the morning and he’s left me soup and cornbread to make sure I’m eating. I don’t understand how people can work in coffee shops or, worse, be in the middle of a chapter and just stop. I suppose part of it is my obsessive/compulsiveness. I’m completely incapable of not finishing something I start.

CBSR: In your episode of Written In Blood, you talk about the crimes of Paul John Knowles, which took place close to your home. What effect(s) did this have on the local community?

KS: You know, I can’t say exactly what effect his crimes had on the community, as I was very young when this happened. What I can tell you is how the story strikes me. Like Ted Bundy, Knowles was handsome, so the media nicknamed him the Casanova killer. The original "Casanova" has been recycled into an adjective for a romantic ladies man but in actuality, Casanova himself was a kidnapper and rapist, and bragged about drugging women, gang raping them, and basically doing whatever he wanted with them. This is not a romantic character but a criminal, a predator who is about control and violence at the expense of his female victims. The overall arc and mythology of the Casanova character pretty much represents the male villains in my books. The world would be a very different place if all men respected all women.

CBSR: Having sold over 35 million books, does it add a certain pressure when you start writing a new book?

KS: Not really, because at the end of the day I am just a storyteller trying to tell a good story. I never think about my readers when I’m writing. I love it when they’re there when I finish writing—that’s fantastic--and I like hearing from them and reading their questions, but I never think about them when I’m writing. What that first chapter is, is something to make me interested. It’s sort of like, there are two kinds of cat toys: one is battery operated and it moves, and the ones that are static. I’ve always been drawn to the sparkly, movey things. That pulls me into the book and makes me interested in the story.

CBSR: What else are you working on at the moment?

KS: I’m currently working on the next book in the Will Trent/Sara Linton series, which comes out in 2019!

CBSR: Karin Slaughter, thank you very much.

Episode 5 of Written in Blood is showing on Tuesday 13th November at 10pm.

Related show tags: WRITTEN IN BLOOD
Hatton Garden: The Inside Story with Ross Kemp
By James W, Sunday 29th January 2023

Ross Kemp tells the untold story of the police investigation into the Hatton Garden Heist – Britain’s biggest burglary.

Interviewing key officers, and using unseen police surveillance footage and the gang’s secretly recorded conversations the film takes us inside one of the Flying Squad’s longest and most challenging operations, ending in the conviction of the final gang member in April this year. 

As well revealing the inner workings of the investigation, the film sheds new light on the gang themselves with the first ever TV interview with Kenny Collins – the gang’s lookout – as he tells the inside story of the burglary and their conviction fo...

Season 2 of Murder Book premieres in February on CBS Reality
Posted on Sunday 29th January 2023

In every police station, there is a room filled with boxes of unsolved cases of lives cut short. Each crime is carefully preserved in what police call ‘murder books’ and somewhere in there is the key to finding a killer.

Every episode of Murder Book follows a cold case recently solved by the determination of detectives, prosecutors, criminologists, and family members. These advocates resolutely pursue justice for little-known victims, sometimes for decades—until the killer is caught and made to answer for their crimes.

Murder Book follows the twists and turns of these cases from their very beginnings, all the way through to legal resolution. Featuring interviews with in...

Brand new to CBS Reality - Killers: Caught on Camera
Posted on Sunday 29th January 2023

Killers: Caught on Camera is a brand-new true crime series which has unique access to the video footage that leads to the conviction of killers around the world.

Each case is pieced together like a jigsaw as we link the CCTV, home surveillance, police body camera, and mobile phone footage that builds the evidence to catch the killer.

A victim focused series where friends and family share their memories, photos and videos of loved ones. Police and legal teams explain how the latest technology connects a network of cameras to build a visual montage of evidence for the prosecution. Every lens, from doorbell cams to dashcams to security cameras, captu...

Crimes That Shook Australia this January on CBS Reality
Posted on Friday 30th December 2022

We travel Down Under in January to uncover some of the most disturbing criminal cases ever seen in Oz.

Crimes That Shook Australia is a compelling documentary series that tells stories of the biggest crimes to hit the country.

Through gripping interviews, dramatic reconstructions, and archive footage; we piece together the murders that shocked the nation.

Crimes That Shook Australia showing Wednesday to Friday at 10pm from 11th January on CBS Reality.

Go behind the headlines in January as 48 Hours returns
Posted on Friday 30th December 2022

48 Hours investigates the most intriguing crime and justice cases that touch on all areas of the human experience. Each week the show spearheads in-depth investigations into emotionally compelling stories.

For multiple seasons, 48 Hours has been a leader in original reporting and impact journalism that has helped exonerate wrongly convicted people, caused cold cases to be reopened and solved, and changed lives along the way.

Never miss an episode!

48 Hours: Season 34 weeknights at 8pm from 16th January on CBS Reality.

Murder by the Sea: Season 8 this January on CBS Reality
Posted on Friday 30th December 2022

Every summer, thousands of holidaymakers flock to the British seaside to enjoy the warm weather, pebble beaches and amusement arcades. But there's a dark side to the British seaside, a sinister underbelly where sins are washed away by the tide. The quaint and idealistic seafront is also stalked by killers who, like the sea itself, have no respect for human life.

Dr. Nell Darby is a crime historian and author who has dedicated her life to understanding the motives of killers. Over the course of her career, she's developed a keen eye for spotting trends in a killer's behaviour. Nowhere are these trends more striking than in the seaside towns of Britain's coastline, which have always seemed to at...

December nights are dedicated to revenge and murder
Posted on Tuesday 29th November 2022
Wives With Knives

Between Christmas and New Year, CBS Reality contains back-to-back episodes of some of your favorites series. Here's what you can expect:

A chance encounter can be the start of a fairytale romance...but sometimes, it can lead to abuse, betrayal, jealousy and revenge…and ultimately cause a devoted wife to do the unthinkable. Wives With Knives Night on the 26th, profiles real stories about women who are pushed to the brink by a cheating spouse, an abusive significant other or a volatile relationship where enough is enough and their only response is an act of violence. The show features interviews with women who tell these stories from their perspective and give insight into ...

Weekends are filled with real crime this December on CBS Reality.
Posted on Sunday 27th November 2022

This December on CBS Reality, weekends are filled with crime investigations and murder, see below for all you need to know.

If you are a fan of real crime ‘whodunits’ and CSI’s forensic science, then this show will have you clinging to the edge of your seat. But be warned – sometimes the truth can be stranger than fiction. In the series Forensics, scientists and police are the ‘heroes’, science is the ‘secret weapon’, and our presenter the ‘guide’, as we unravel the evidence, put science to work, and discover the truth behind real crime case files. Each programme focuses on a real single crime case that has occurred in the last decade and that was solved ...

The Truth About My Murder continues in November on CBS Reality
Posted on Thursday 27th October 2022

When a murder is committed, it's always a race against time to find the truth - to separate fact from fiction, catch the killer, and to make sure that justice is served. But what happens when the truth vanishes with the victim?

The Truth About My Murder follows forensic pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd, a man who has performed nearly 23,000 autopsies, inclusive of some of the most high-profile cases of recent times. He's learnt that the dead don’t hide the truth and they never lie. Through Dr Richard Shepherd, you'll be hearing directly from the victims.

From a state-of-the-art laboratory, with ground-breaking technology that uses digitally scanned sample bodie...

Crimes That Shook Australia
Thursday 9 February
10.00 PM
Murder in Paradise
Monday 6 February
10.00 PM
It Takes A Killer
Tuesday 7 February
9.00 PM