AS one of the world’s best known authors, Karin Slaughter has sold more than 35 million books, and her crime novels have been translated into 36 different languages.
The American will reveal the real life story of serial killer Paul John Knowles, the Casanova Killer, to British presenter Simon Toyne in Written In Blood, which starts Tuesday at 10pm on CBS Reality.
Has the documentary made you want to do more?
I loved having Simon here in Atlanta, seeing his pasty face in our hot climate (laughs). If he ever wants to come back I might have a few more ideas for stories.
How did you discover the Casanova Killer story?
Writing my novels I’m lucky to have a good relationship with local agents from the FBI. Fifteen years ago they said I should look at his story, and it was fascinating.
Why was he called the Casanova Killer?
I got access to files, autopsy reports, everything, and it seems he was called that just because he was handsome. But like the real Casanova he was evil.
Wasn’t the real Casanova just a serial lover?
I had a great English teacher who taught us about how language reaches different audiences. Most just want his romantic story, but others know that he was really debauched and evil, protected from the law by patrons. Knowles was like him.
Have you used Knowles for character inspiration?
In my books? Yes. A lot of crimes against women are by people like him. It’s dangerous to be female in America just now because if there’s a gun in the home there’s a high possibility it will be used to kill you.
Writing about killers, do you get emotional?
I’ve been doing this a long time, so now the only emotional response I have is anger. I write because I want to talk about what violence against women means for society.
Have you ever felt threatened by men?
I remember speaking to my Dad, who thinks I’m a strong woman, and when I told him I had been molested, assaulted and flashed at, he was shocked. Really shocked. It’s nothing to do with how strong you are.
So men are playing catch up in all this?
The majority of men are also shocked when they realise, and there are a lot of guys hearing this for the first time now with things like the #MeToo movement.
Has social media made things better or worse?
If you are a woman on the internet you have to be so wary. My advice is choose your words very carefully.
You have 24 hours left to live. How do you spend it?
I would take my family and cats to the beach and just wait it out. I’ve been lucky to do so many interesting things, so I wouldn’t need more adventures.