Tonight I attended a crime and forensics lecture talk by true crime author, fiction writer and serial killer expert Amanda Howard. And what an experience it was. It contained graphic content and real life stories but from it came more understanding of the minds of serial killers and how the world views them, chilling and thrilling at the same time. Some parts I could not tell if I was shivering and tingling from the cold night or the stories Amanda was sharing.
 
In the last twenty years, Amanda Howard has written twenty books in total, ten of those true crime, with a new release coming out next week. She has also done work in the media with documentaries, current crime affairs, journal articles and print media. Her accreditation of study includes a degree in psychology and criminology and she is currently studying her Masters of Arts in writing.

      

    
 
Amanda first started with where her passion for true crime came from. She started writing at the young age of eight but it wasn't until the 1980s when Silence of the lambs hit the screens that her true passion for crime was ignited. Funnily enough, she mentions that before this she wanted to dance and sing. I admired her character and good energy she was giving off and could really feel her passion come through as she told her story. Silence of the Lambs inspired Amanda to get her hands dirty in the true world of nitty gritty crime. It pushed her to explore the crime scenes, the how and why questions about the minds of serial killers and the dangers involved, the hunt for the truth she called it. She exclaimed that she wanted to be like Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs because she admired her drive and charisma. Through her work as a true crime writer Amanda has been able to interview some of the world's most terrifying and truly evil serial killers to collect a vast vault of psychological profile types of serial killers, their motives and how they performed their crimes.
 
Amanda's main point about serial killers is what I would like to discuss today. She stresses that in today's society the serial killers are just like everyone else and may walk among us everyday. Psychopathic killers are people like us however they also possess horrifying and tragic differences that portrays them as the monsters of society. She goes on to explore this further by explaining how psychological profiles work in the police force and true crime world. Back in the 1990s the psychological profile of a serial killer was your typical young aggressive but charming male in his twenty's, most likely a sexual predator, a loner, antisocial, unintelligent, and of lower class status fueled by rage and desire. But as time went on, coming into the twenty-first century, Amanda points out that the psychological profile of a psychopathic killer changed drastically. The psychological profile could fit anybody, from the rich and intelligent, the family man and the social butterfly to the lower class and crazy and everything in-between.
 
The serial killers are fuelled by power, sex, control and the raging desire to kill. Amanda explains that you have your necrophiliacs, cannibals, blood lusters and ones obsessed with blood; your BTK, blind, torture, kill, complex fantasies and total annihilation. The difference between us and them is that there is  "a line in the sand that we do not cross" and they do, as Amanda stated it.
 
For my very first author talk event it was a very interesting experience. Amanda was amazing to listen to and the world of true crime is always a very interesting one to explore. I think it is the big questions of how and why serial killers are the way they are that intrigues true crime lovers like me. Especially now knowing that the psychological profile has no limit on who could be a psychopathic killer, just like your everyday individual but yet so different, terrifyingly dark, twisted and evil under all the layers of their being. This is also an ever-evolving discussion on true crime as society continues to try and unmask the minds of psychopathic serial killers and what makes them tick.
 
Amanda ended the talk with some helpful writing tips for budding authors and writers that I would like to share.
1. No matter what it is, write it down. Don't worry about spelling or grammar just write because you can have a page full of bad ideas and one miracle that comes out of it.
2. The first draft is always shit so don't you worry, just write and work hard.
3. The first rule of writing is to break the rules and get creative.
4. Writing can get lonely so use your characters as your friends.
5. Read everything and anything you can as much as you can and write.

Lastly, I definitely recommend checking out Amanda Howard's books as I will be and I hope you enjoyed reading.

Published by Jacqueline Ann Lente