Today, I’m thrilled to present Mandy White, author of several novels including The Feeder. I had the pleasure of reading The Feeder and posted my review yesterday. (If you missed it, click HERE.) Before we begin the interview, let’s have a look at the blurb for The Feeder.
The Feeder gives brutality a new meaning… Victims horribly mutilated, with parts missing and inserted in their mouths… An aspiring actress-turned-prostitute falls victim to the killer, leaving behind a grieving twin obsessed with revenge. Warning: Graphic violence and scenes of mutilation. Some readers may find the content of this book offensive. Read at your own discretion.
Tricia: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Mandy: I’m a Canadian, born in British Columbia and raised on a farm in a small town. I currently live on Vancouver Island. I’m the outdoorsy type, and prefer the wildlife in the forest to any wildlife I’d encounter in a city.
Tricia: When did you begin writing?
Mandy: I’ve been writing stories ever since I was old enough to know how to write. It’s the only thing I’ve ever truly wanted to do my entire life.
Tricia: Can you tell us about your most recent release?
Mandy: The Feeder is a murder mystery/thriller novel about a pair of twins, one of whom finds herself in trouble in Los Angeles. The main character, Sammie, flies to Los Angeles to rescue Camille and bring her home but instead finds her dead and ends up being thrust into the role of serial killer in order to avenge her murder. The bloodbath that follows is violent, graphic and brutal – not for the squeamish.
Tricia: How did you get the idea for the book?
Mandy: Like my first novel, Avenging Annabelle, The Feeder started out as a flash-in-the-pan short story about 2000 words in length. It was more of a scene than a complete story, depicting a serial killer dressing up as a prostitute before hitting the streets to hunt for victims. It seemed to have potential to be more, so I used the short as a jumping-off point and went from there.
Tricia: If you could recommend just one of your books to my readers, which book would you choose?
Mandy: I would have to go with The Feeder, provided they are prepared for some blood and gore.
Tricia: Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
Mandy: Sammie is my favorite. This character is so complex and unusual – there’s an ongoing inner struggle between a soft, sensitive side that yearns for acceptance and a coldhearted, cynical side that gains satisfaction from punishing those who (in Sammie’s opinion) deserve it.
Tricia: What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
Mandy: The most challenging aspect of writing this book was keeping certain details about Sammie hidden from the reader until about halfway through the story. For the same reason, it’s difficult to discuss Sammie in much detail with someone who hasn’t read the book yet.
Tricia: I understand. It made it challenging to write a review as well, but you did a splendid job keeping up the suspense in this novel. What is your primary goal as an author?
Mandy: My primary goal as an author is to write the type of books I’d enjoy reading. I aspire to entertain readers like myself, who like edgy stories and unexpected twists. If I can do that while earning a comfortable income from my work, then I consider myself to be a successful author.
Tricia: What projects are you currently working on?
Mandy: I am currently working on a sequel to The Feeder, so we haven’t seen the last of Sammie yet. The sequel, tentatively entitled Fed Up, takes place in the main character’s home city of Vancouver, BC. Sammie’s murderous past resurfaces along with a threat of blackmail that sets off a new adventure. It promises to be every bit as brutal as the first book, with some changes in the instruments of murder. There is also romance on the horizon for Sammie – there’s an ideal mate for everyone, even serial killers.
I’m also working with a very talented group of writers known as Writers, Poets and Deviants (WPaD for short). We publish anthologies in various genres, donating half of royalties to Multiple Sclerosis-related charities in support of members of the group who live with MS. We have done four to date, the most recent being a fantasy collection entitled Dragons and Dreams. Next in line is a holiday-themed collection to be released in November, followed by a post-apocalyptic one and a second volume to Creepies, our popular horror collection.
Tricia: I’m glad to hear there’s going to be a sequel to The Feeder. What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
Mandy: Don’t let anyone discourage you if writing is what you want to do. If you want to self-publish your work, then go ahead and do so, but be wise and research the process ahead of time. Hire an editor and a cover artist to ensure you are putting out your very best. If you feel that the only way to be a “real” author is to find a publisher to do everything for you, go into it well informed to avoid getting scammed. The publishing industry is rife with predators waiting to prey upon star-struck authors who will sign anything without reading the fine print.
Have realistic expectations right from the start – understand that publishing is not a get-rich-quick scheme, regardless of whether you are an indie or have a publisher. You may be a good writer, even a great one, but so are plenty of others. That alone will not necessarily sell books.
Earning a living with your writing is a very attainable goal, even if you don’t become famous. Be prepared to learn. Seek out the people who are succeeding at what you want to do – that is, authors who are earning a living with their writing. LISTEN to what these people have to say and learn from them. You will learn things you didn’t even know you needed to learn.
And finally, read as many books as you can. The more you read, the better you will write. But – the first book you should read is Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran. That book is like the Bible of self-publishing and I recommend it to every aspiring author I meet because it answers all of the questions they have.
The headline screamed up at me from the morning edition of the LA Times. I scanned the front page article then tossed the paper aside in disgust. “Victim” was what they called him. They made no mention of all the women he had victimized. Some were little more than children – starstruck teenagers enthralled at being in the presence of what they mistook for greatness. Being one of Hollywood’s hottest leading men apparently gave the scumbag license to abuse women without fear of consequences.
I had researched my victim while making preparations to take him and what I had learned was revolting. Dirk Davis was not a nice person at all. I already knew this from what I’d read in Cammie’s journal but one didn’t need to look far to learn more about the sick son-of-a-bitch.
It seemed Dirk had some nasty fetishes that he indulged with any woman unlucky enough to find herself in his company on a one-on-one basis. His sick little sex games resulted in permanent scars for his victims, both of a mental and of a physical nature. A handful of Dirk’s victims came forward and tried to press charges against him, with shocking tales of the sadistic things the Tinseltown bad boy had done to them.
Roofie rapes were his standard M.O. but he hadn’t been satisfied with just having sex with them. The ones who remembered their ordeals and had the courage to talk told tales of horror. They experienced rape with foreign objects, cigar burns and mutilations to the most sensitive parts of the body, the genitalia in particular…
Victims with the courage to testify were torn apart in court by Dirk’s lawyers. A celebrity with his kind of cash and status had no trouble assembling a ‘dream team’ of legal defense that made OJ’s team look like a pack of baboons. After discrediting and reducing to tears one victim after another, Dirk walked away a free man every time. He didn’t pay a dime of settlement to any of his accusers. His victims’ lives were ruined after having endured what they did at Dirk’s hands and then getting mentally raped again by his dicksnot lawyers.
Toward the end, Dirk had felt all of their pain. I had made damn sure of that. He deserved what he’d gotten and I felt no remorse for what I’d done. I had enjoyed every second of it.
So now, I was apparently the serial killer known to the Los Angeles media as “The Feeder”. Nobody had the faintest idea that I was a mere copycat of the real killer.
An eerie nickname it was; bringing up mental pictures of one who feeds upon his or her victims’ remains. I was reminded of the ritual performed by ancient Native American hunters following a successful kill. They gutted the animal, typically a bison, and passed the fresh liver around. Each hunter took a bite in celebration of the kill. I’d tried it once before, after killing a moose. I found it a little weird but not the worst thing I’d ever tasted. I could see it being palatable once a person acquired a taste for it.
I admit I had been curious, but resisted the urge to taste my human victims. We were such a repulsive species – riddled with drugs, toxins and social diseases. Thinking about it made me feel ashamed to be human but then, I was no stranger to shame.
I had sliced a couple of small pieces off of Dirk and kept them, not as souvenirs or late-night snacks or anything – that would be sick. I kept them as insurance, for when I located Camille’s killer. The real Feeder would be made accountable for the things both he and I had done.
Another player in my sister’s miserable life was dead. I should have been satisfied but there was still one more out there. A ruthless murderer (besides me) was still walking around free, thinking he’d gotten away with killing my sister, some guy at the White Surf motel and lord only knew how many others.
I stared into the bathroom mirror, analyzing the solemn face that gazed back at me. Camille looked tired and sad… so sad. I had failed her. I was exhausted, mentally as well as physically. I had nothing left inside. Part of me just wanted to turn and walk away from this pointless vendetta and go home. I could be on a plane within hours, back to Canada where I could resume my normal life and put the killing behind me.
No, I couldn’t.
I couldn’t bring myself to leave while Camille’s killer still lived, unpunished and free to kill again. As long as he was free, I never would be. I had to find that nipple-slicing psycho and finish him before I could allow myself to return home. If I didn’t stop him, more would die – of that I was certain. More women who were beloved sisters and daughters… more innocent bystanders who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I felt a responsibility not only to the ones who were dead by his hand due to my interference but also to the ones whose lives might be saved if I intervened just once more.
The problem was, I had run out of clues. The rest of the names in Cammie’s journal all seemed to be dead ends.
The only thing left to do was draw on my own personal experience and utilize what skills I had.
I was an excellent hunter. Regardless of whether I was after ducks, deer, moose or bear, I seldom returned home from a hunt empty-handed.
I knew that when a trail went cold the hunter needed to go to where the prey was most likely to be found and possibly lure it with bait. The most logical hunting ground in Los Angeles would be the area where Cammie was staying before she was killed.
I would go trolling for the fucker, using the best bait ever: Camille.
As I pulled on my fishnet stockings and clipped the garter belt around my slender hips, I daydreamed back to a time not so long ago when I wasn’t a killer; back to a time when I still had a twin sister. The stubborn ache in my chest refused to fade, following me every day as I pined for Camille and seethed with outrage at her murder.