Author Barbie Wilde takes us into the world of Michael Friday, an art historian that turned serial killer in her novel, The Venus Complex. Barbie hooks the reader instantly with her character development placing the reader right inside of Michael Friday’s mind, and Barbie flawlessly shows us what makes Michael tick. The story is told in first person narrative thru the entries in Michael’s personal journal, and the flow was perfect; placing the reader in the driver’s seat. Well written, the story made me squirm many times, and I was digging every minute of it. Michael gets a taste for the feeling of power that the killings give him. Not for the faint-hearted, The Venus Complex delivers a potent punch with strong descriptive writing; I felt as though I was in the story living Michael’s life. Barbie Wilde proves to be an amazing writer and I am looking forward to her other work.
“A man rises out of an abyss of frustration and rage and creates works of art out of destruction, goddesses out of mere dental hygienists and beauty out of death. It’s also about the sickness and obsession that is LOVE.
Enter into Michael’s world through the pages of his personal journal, where every diseased thought, disturbing dream, politically incorrect rant and sexually explicit murder highlights his journey from zero to psycho.”
Barbie took the time out to give iHorror an excellent interview, check it out below!
iHorror: Can you please tell us about yourself and also where you are from?
Barbie Wilde: I’m a small town gal from western Canada who grew up in the USA before moving to the UK, where I’ve spent most of my professional life as an actress (Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Death Wish 3) and as an author.
iH: Can you tell us how you got started on The Venus Complex? Any inspirations?
BW: A friend of mine, who was not only a sexual therapist, but someone who was in the midst of getting her Masters Degree in Forensic Psychology, played a big part in giving me the idea. She was a professional dominatrix in her “day job” and she once confessed to me that her greatest erotic fantasy was to have sex with a serial killer. This notion shocked me a bit, but at the same time it intrigued me. This started a train of thought that ended up as The Venus Complex.
I’ve always been fascinated by serial killers and their motivations. There were two books by Colin Wilson that were particularly inspirational: Order of Assassins and A Criminal History of Mankind—followed by movies like Psycho, American Psycho and Se7en.
I began to write a “police procedural” about a plucky female forensic psychologist on the trail of a sexual serial killer, but a third of the way through I got bored with the concept. What I ultimately wanted to do was to get into the mind of a murderer and find out his motivations, so The Venus Complex is really more of a why-dunit than a whodunit.
iH: Did you do any research in preparation for The Venus Complex?
BW: I read a ton of forensic psychology text books, biographies of serial killers, crime scene investigation and forensic science guides, etc. I also interviewed a homicide detective based at the Manhattan North police precinct who had just finished up a serial killer case, which was fascinating.
iH: Barbie, Michael is such a strong character and we see him spiraling into madness, but throughout the book he continues to maintain control. How did you develop this dark protagonist? Were any of his attributes based on anyone on particular?
BW: The way that I prefer to write is character—rather than plot—driven. Creating Michael was challenging, I have to admit. For one thing, I’m not a guy, so I had to do my research thoroughly to find out what these particular kind of men really think about women.
I suppose that the real life serial killer who had the most impact on me was Ted Bundy. Ted was an intelligent man who meticulously planned his crimes and who possessed deep-seated and disturbing paraphilias that he managed to conceal from his family and friends. His plausible and pleasing outward demeanor fooled a hell of a lot of people. Ted was only caught in the end because he lost the control, concentration and preparation that he’d cultivated so assiduously throughout his killing years.
iH: What were the beginning years of your writing like?
BW: I started writing stories when I was a teenager, so I’ve always enjoyed the process, but The Venus Complex was a complex and demanding project. It took several years to get the book into a shape that I liked—for the story to achieve the vision that I had of it in my head.
iH: What do you love about being an author?
BW: You’re free to create your own worlds without limits, rather than inhabiting other people’s creations, as you do as an actress. And when the words flow and you’ve got an uninterrupted conduit from your creativity to the page, then there is no better sensation on the planet.
iH: Who is your favorite author and do you favor a particular genre?
BW: Oh, I couldn’t possibly pick just one author! I love Clive Barker’s work: it’s sexy, brilliantly descriptive, scary and funny. I love writers who write short muscular prose like Raymond Chandler, Ernest Hemingway and one of my all time favorites: Patricia Highsmith.
I’d also like to mention some screenwriters who have inspired me, such as David Cronenberg, Guillermo del Toro, John Carpenter and Debra Hill, and the Soska Sisters.
I don’t like to limit my reading to any one genre, but I am a big fan of noir, crime, thrillers and true crime.
iH: Immediately finishing The Venus Complex, I craved a sequel. Have you had any thoughts about creating a sequel?
BW: A lot of folks people have been asking me this question, so I’ll just have to get down to writing the sequel. Michael is demanding it!
iH: Were there any particular challenges that came up during the process of writing this novel?
BW: I wanted to write something different, something outside the normal, mainstream crime genre. And since sex is part and parcel of what we are as humans, I felt it was essential to explore the sexual mindscape of a male serial killer, so that was an interesting journey, to say the least!
iH: Do you have anything coming up in the near future? Films? Books?
BW: Voices of the Damned, my illustrated short horror story collection, was published in October 2015 by SST Publications as a full color deluxe and trade hardback and in April 2016 as a full color paperback. Each story is accompanied by artworks or illustrations by top artists in the genre such as Clive Barker, Nick Percival, Daniele Serra, Steve McGinnis, Vincent Sammy, Ben Baldwin, Tara Bush and Eric Gross.
I’m working on a screenplay based on “Zulu Zombies”, one of the short stories featured in the collection. I’d also like to turn “Zulu Zombies” and my Female Cenobite “Cilicium Trilogy” into graphic novels.
If you want to follow Barbie’s work, please feel free to check out her media sites:
-ABOUT THE AUTHOR-
Ryan T. Cusick is a writer for ihorror.com and very much enjoys conversation and writing about anything within the horror genre. Horror first sparked his interest after watching the original, The Amityville Horror when he was the tender age of three. Ryan lives in California with his wife and ten-year old daughter, who is also expressing interest in the horror genre. Ryan recently received his Master’s Degree in Psychology and hopes to some day write a novel. Ryan can be followed on twitter @Nytmare112