Today we are speaking with M. Everett Baylor, author of the book The Garden, the first book in the series called the Montclair Murders. Thank you for taking some time to join us.
MEB: It’s my pleasure to speak with you about my book. I’m very excited about the chance to share my writing with the world. I hope that everyone will enjoy reading my books and be inspired take a chance on becoming an author. If you believe in yourself, anything’s possible.
PBR: I found your book eerily haunting. Tell us, please, a little bit about how you came about to write this book.
MEB: I’ve always was fascinated with crime and in particular, serial killers. I have a background in law as a civilian and law enforcement in the military. This gave me the exposure and experience to write this book. When you sit down and conduct interviews with criminals, you get to look into their eyes and get exposed to their psyche. Criminal behavior has always been a fascination of mine.
PBR: Serial killers aren’t born, they’re made – at least that’s what I’ve taken away from your character’s development. How did you research your profiling of a serial killer?
MEB: I did my research for my character based on my years of experience from reading other authors as well as studying actual criminal cases. I believe that serial killers aren’t born but made as you stated in this question. The only difference between you, me and a serial killer is our upbringing. Our family values and being taught right from wrong as a child played a huge role in us being positive contributors to society.
PBR: Who are some of your favorite authors, and what types of books do you most enjoy reading?
MEB: I’m a huge fan of suspense, thrillers and horror novels. I can’t get enough of them. My biggest literary hero is Stephen King. I’ve read practically every one of his books and seen the movies that have come from them. I’m also a huge fan of John Sandford, author of the Prey Novels. I read all of his books during my fourteen month tour in Iraq. I’m currently reading Stephen King’s Novel on Writing – A Memoir of the Craft. It’s the book that every young author should read.
PBR: You’ve quoted many remarks about the devil. Tell us a bit about your views on the subject.
MEB: If you believe in God and his existence then you must also believe that the devil is real as well. Good and evil battle for our souls daily. The devil is very busy in trying to persuade is to do wrong. The devil knows our weaknesses and tempts us daily. In order for us to avoid becoming Kelvin Kettle, we must call upon God for strength and guidance. I believe it was the philosopher Edmund Burke who said “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” If good men like myself do nothing, then the devil wins.
PBR: Your book makes quite a statement about the dysfunctional foster care system for children. Have you any experience with this process?
MEB: Based on my experience, I’ve found that the foster care system in this country is broken. The prison system is filled with men and women who became who they are because of the lives they’ve lived in foster care. Many have experienced physical and sexual abuse. Some have even been killed while under the care of a foster family. I believe that a major change must occur in order to prevent the Kelvin Kettle’s of the world from being born.
PBR: What are your plans for continuing the series?
MEB: I’ve written five books in the Montclair Murder Series. The Garden is the first book to be published and I look forward to releasing the other four. I’m so excited to get this series off the ground and I’m confident it will be a hit.
PBR: We certainly wish you the best of success with The Garden, and look forward to reading more from you in the future.
MEB: Thank you so much for taking the time to conduct this interview. I look forward to speaking to you again about future books in the Montclair Murder series.