The book is available here!
Wanting to write about serial killers had been rattling around in my brain for years, but I just could not get a good handle on how to go about doing the research, interviews and piecing it all together to make an engaging and interesting book.
An unusual situation came up when I was driving with a friend of mine, Christina Ammons, who is a retired deputy with the Hillsborough County (Florida) Sheriff's Department. She was taking me to adopt a rescued kitty cat and I mentioned this book to her about serial killers I wanted to write but couldn't quite get the theme to come into focus.
The deeds of these murderers are usually so well documented, due in great part to the fascination most people have of serial killers, that trying to retell what has been told over and over again in books, documentaries, movies, video games or TV shows seemed pointless.
Social media has added to the fascination with them which didn’t really seem to offer any new information regarding these murderers, however, it did increase the numbers of people talking about them and wanting to know more.
Christina told me that she started her law enforcement career in 1990 with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office as a Corrections Officer. She worked there until 1995 when Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office hired her as a Deputy Sheriff.
“As a corrections officer,” Christina explained, “my powers were limited to the jail. After a couple of years in the jail I applied and was transferred into the transport division which involved moving inmates to and from our jails to court, doctor’s appointments and so forth. We also transported prisoners to and from state prison to our county when they had pending court cases. If an inmate in county jail was sentenced to state prison, we would transport them there.”
She went on to tell me that three of these prisoners were well known serial killers.
"Wait…WHAT? Serial killers? Can you tell me about that? Who did you meet? What did you talk about? What were they like? Did they say anything to you?" She had my complete and full attention.
I felt somehow that the purpose for my book might be linked with her experiences. I asked for more information and, as I incorporate details about Christina and her connection to three of the most notorious serial killers who had walked the planet, I will refer to her, out of respect for the work she was doing and her commitment to the job, as Deputy Ammons.
While working her corrections detail, Deputy Ammons met these three killers:
· Aileen Wournos
· Bobby Joe Long
· Oscar Ray Bolin Jr.
I was grateful when she shared with me her experiences with these people. It was her conversation with Oscar Ray Bolin Jr that really caught my attention. They didn’t talk about his victims, or why he did what he did to them.
They talked about something completely different and mundane, and I found it completely mesmerizing. With full respect for the victims, after hearing her talk about her experiences, I became interested in learning about what happens to the personalities and behaviors of serial or rampage/spree killers after they are incarcerated.
There it was. The missing piece I was looking for, so I began speaking with murderers by letter, email, phone, and in person to ask them my questions and learned a lot of things about who they are now. Some of them talked with me about how and why they did what they did, however, those conversations were unprompted. Even after being behind bars for decades some of these people felt the need to talk about what they had done. I listened.
The companies who handle the communication with inmates refers to them as “loved ones”, and I acquired a whole lot of them over the year plus I spent working on this book.
All of them had unique, remarkably differing personalities and interesting stories to share with me about their lives now or from before they became murderers. Some sent me poems or art they had created, two proposed marriage, one sent me a threatening email demanding that I stop trying to steal his life story (OK!), but each connection, each conversation was distinctive and so engrossing.
I hope you enjoy the ride.