Chainsaw Exorcism with Keith Mccarthy Author of Memento Mori
Tell me about yourself and your writing?
I'm a practicing pathologist of twenty years' standing. I've published over a dozen crime novels, the latest being MEMENTO MORI, which is something of a departure for me. Most of the rest have involved a lot of forensic pathology (the Eisenmenger series) but this one is about love and madness, and the relationship between the two.
Why do you write?
Being a doctor tends these days to be fairly soulless, since we're under so much pressure, and since medicine is increasingly protocol-driven. I did quite a lot of medical research when I was younger and found that creative, but there's very little that's creative in modern medicine. Writing is the perfect antidote to that and the other frustrations of modern life.
What’s the process like? What inspired you to write Memento Mori?
I actually just wanted to write something a little different from the (somewhat) formulaic (serial) killer gets hunted down by police and pathologist. Also, I suddenly hit upon the idea of a (mad)man who loved his wife so much that he wanted to commemorate her by turning her body into music.
Once you discover you can write reasonable prose, you're always looking for a plot that's a little bit different...
What character or characters do you most identify with and why?
Leo Bannister's bonkers but he's driven by the muses in his head. He's a slave to love, and to the artistic instinct.
Inspector Beauchamp is a man who finds himself in the world he doesn't entirely understand, and who's exasperated by all that he sees around him, yet he's fundamentally decent.
There's a bit of me in both of those two, definitely.
What about writing makes you feel powerful?
I have little control in this universe and the older I get, I realise that what little to do have is an illusion.
Except in my books...
Is the novel scary? What’s it like writing scary parts?
It's gothic and it's graphic in places; Leo's dissecting a body to make beautiful things, after all.
They're enjoyable to write, but you have to leaven it with humour. The funnier you can make the lighter parts, the darker you can make the horrific passages.
What did you learn about yourself while writing the (title of your work)?
I like writing characters who are at odds with the world. I guess that's because I find the world around me more and more alien.
What might readers learn about themselves?
I hope that they come to see that unrestrained love, like unrestrained anger, is destructive, both to the lover and loved. I hope that they can find sympathy for a man who is mad because he isn't in control; not being in control is a terrible place to be.
Where can readers go to find out more about your writing?