BookLife Talks with D.E. Funk
A sponsored Q&A with the author of 'Silent Rage'Funk’s debut work, Silent Rage, follows a teacher who, as a child, escaped a serial killer; now, as an adult, she suspects that one of her students might be one, too.
Where did the characters in Silent Rage come from?
As a teacher myself, I always wondered what would happen if a teacher had a student who fit the so-called profile of a serial killer. Would she report him or think she was imagining things? I decided to write a story about a teacher with a student living in a tough situation that encompassed all the issues associated with serial killers. Once I had the two main characters, my imagination easily added others to enhance the story. To get the descriptions of the characters, I started by writing the action they were engaged in and then gave them physical descriptions and traits. My goal was always for readers to identify with the characters and see their humanity. Then I let the characters speak to me and evolve that way. I have a background in education and working with the homeless, and I enjoy watching people and noticing different traits. This has served me well in my descriptive writing and helps me give the characters lifelike habits.
Your book deals with some heavy and dark elements. How did you keep your own mental health positive while writing this kind of material?
As a Christian, I did not have any trouble dealing with the dark topics, but to get my mind out of the gutter, so to speak, I read lighthearted material frequently. I also believe in getting fresh air and exercise every day. It helps clear my mind of any strange thoughts. But I really don’t spend time thinking about the heaviness of a topic; instead, I like to plot out twists and unexpected events in the story to keep the reader hooked. The best compliment is when someone genuinely says, “I couldn’t put your book down.”
What kind of research did you do to ensure that you were treating these sensitive topics respectfully?I read articles written by experts in the field to make sure I had the characteristics correct. I also checked out social media posts by those who suffer from or have loved ones who experience mental disorders. This gave me insight into what people experience, and I was able to tackle the subjects accurately and appropriately. I also constantly peruse websites hosted by various agencies, which keeps me up to date on trends. I am a huge fan of all types of documentaries and podcasts. Ones about true crime are my favorite.
For writers who want to take on heavier subject matter, what kind of advice would you give them? Remember that the stories are fictional and readers should simply enjoy them. My Rage series may take on some dark topics, but the heroes and heroines are strong and they overcome the difficulties life throws at them. I can’t emphasize enough that my writing is meant simply to entertain and allow the reader the chance to escape to another world. Sadly, there are people who face these mental demons on a daily basis, and I would like to think my books inspire people to get involved with helping others in some way. When I was teaching high school, I often had students who lived in difficult situations. Some rose above their circumstances, but others became another statistic. I want my readers to see there is a dark side to life in hopes that maybe some of them will be able to help another person. Even one is a victory.
When can readers expect another book in the Rage series?
I am currently working on the final book in the Rage series and hope to have it ready in late September.