My name is Rhiannon D’Averc, and I’m a crime writer based in the UK. I work variously as a copywriter, ghost writer, and author under my own name as well as under pseudonyms. I’ve been a professional writer for over a decade, and also keep myself busy as a fashion photographer and Chief Editor of London Runway magazine.
Boy Under Water — Dennis Nilsen: The Story of a Serial Killer
LINKS: https://www.amazon.com/Boy-Under-Water-Dennis-Nilsen-ebook/dp/B07D51W8K3 — Available as an e-book and paperback via Amazon, free on Kindle Unlimited.
What sets your book apart from all others?
A lot of research went into Boy Under Water in order to produce an account of the crimes that was as realistic as possible. I used direct quotes from Nilsen, working on understanding his speech patterns in order to make the dialogue fitting, and really got inside his head. I worked as closely as I could to understanding his motivations and thought processes, with techniques like listening to the music he was listening to while writing scenes. I also exchanged letters with him in prison before he died. This all took me to some very dark places, where I could almost understand his decision to take lives — after finishing the book and resurfacing, it was like coming up for air out of a deep pool. I was living his darkness, and that really comes across in the authenticity of the book and the way it will pull you in as a reader.
Who is your target market, who should be reading your book?
True crime fans and murderinos will love the book! It’s also suitable for a more general audience because it’s written in a fictional style, which makes it more accessible. There’s no dry recounting of facts or long, dull courtroom scenes — it’s all action.
What authors inspired you most and how so? What do you admire about each one?
I have three authors who probably inspire me more than anyone else. Haruki Murakami, who has this no-nonsense style of writing that really allows you to dig in to the story without needing frills and bows. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, for the way he was able to keep you hooked and waiting for a crime to take place even through chapter after chapter of philosophising, which from anyone else would be a turn-off. Finally, Ann Rule, who is such an inspiration in true crime and probably the one author that all the rest of us are trying to beat.
What is your genre of choice and why? How did you come to write in that particular genre or niche?
I chose to write in crime and true crime because they have been a fascination of mine for a long time. That came originally from my father, who also has that interest. When I psychoanalyse myself, I think it comes from a position of self-preservation. The more I know and understand about killers, especially serial killers, the better chance I would be able to avoid being killed by one (or becoming one). I actually love writing in a wide range of genres, from romance to fantasy to dystopia, but I wanted to choose one area that I could really master and flourish in. It could only ever have been crime.
How’d you come about discovery of your writing talent, gift or ability?
I’ve been writing since I was able to hold a pen. Before I could write, I would tell stories out loud. It’s something innate in me that has always been there.
What are your future writing endeavors? What’s next on your authorship agenda?
I’m currently working on a fiction novel, the first in what I hope will be a long series. I’m establishing my own detective duo. There’s a good foundation of the Sherlockian private eye trope, more than a dash of Nordic noir, and a heaping helping of London grit. I’ll be releasing book one this year.
Is writing for you synonymous with living and breathing, or just something you do as a hobby, and how so and why?
Oh, yes — writing is everything to me. If I’m not writing, I must be dead. You could lock me up in an unfurnished concrete cell and eventually I would have to bite through my skin so I could write on the walls in blood. I just can’t not do it.
Indie/Self-Published Author and/or Published? What do you favor more and why?
I’m self-published, and it suits me quite well. I’ve done work with publishers previously under a pseudonym and I didn’t particularly enjoy the experience. It’s nice to get that extra exposure and have the backend taken care of, but you start to feel annoyed about the cover choice, you feel their editor isn’t up to the standards you expected, you want them to be doing more, you sit around waiting for them to tell you your royalty statement… in the end, I prefer having more control. I love obsessively refreshing my Amazon KDP report to see how many books I’ve sold in the past few hours!
How is your writing controversial, profound or mind boggling, or how would you describe it?
I’m sure some people would consider it controversial. Taking the tragic deaths of real people and turning them into a work of fiction doesn’t sit well with everyone. I always try to be respectful, however — it’s not about glorifying a killer, but understanding how they got to that point and how it could have been prevented. The victims deserve to have their stories told, too.
What’s the greatest compliment that you ever received regarding your literary accomplishments and what did this remark do for you, how did it transform your life or your writing?
Like many younger writers these days, I started practising my craft through fan fiction as a teenager. I wrote one short series about a couple of characters from a well-known franchise going off and becoming detectives (because of course!). This was an early experiment in crime fiction and I soon forgot about it. A couple of years later, though, someone I was talking to online found out that I had written that series and they gushed about reading it and enjoying it, and how well-regarded it was within the fandom. It turns out it had spread a lot further than I thought — someone had shared it elsewhere and it had attracted a bit of attention. That was a real rush for me. It made me think about my work going beyond my own little corner of the internet, being read around the world.
What have you sacrificed, if anything, to be a writer, or to write as you do? What have you gained from writing, how has it rewarded you personally?
I’ve probably sacrificed a lot of financial freedom and sleep. I could have been working more, as a freelancer, if I wasn’t working on my own projects. But I see this as my real, long-term career. When I stay up late at night to squeeze in a few more hours of writing or research, that doesn’t feel like a chore or like I’m stressed out about meeting targets. Those few hours of writing are what I’m working hard for the rest of the time. I can’t find the words to explain how good and right it feels for me to write my own books. It’s like I’m sitting in my correct place in the universe.