We start every GateCrashers interview with a very serious question: What’s your favorite sandwich?
Ooooh, that is legit tough! I’m going to go with a pressed Cuban.
I noticed a lot of Paramore and alternative music references throughout Phoebe’s internal dialogue. What were some songs you listened to while writing this story?
While actually drafting Love in the Time of Serial Killers, I listened almost exclusively to a Metric Essentials playlist helpfully created just for me by Apple Music. But later I did make a playlist with other bands that were mentioned in or thematic to the book in some way, including but not limited to Paramore, Hayley Williams, Chvrches, Taylor Swift, Walk the Moon, and Chumbawamba.
The exploration of the relationship between true crime and its viewers was written so incredibly well through your character Phoebe Walsh. What began your personal interest in true crime?
I don’t remember what began it per se, but I definitely remember checking out Cruel Sacrifice by Aphrodite Jones from the library at a young age. That book was about a case involving four teen girls who murdered another girl a little younger than them. It was so chilling to read about people so close to my age doing something like that, and the cover featuring a couple of the girls smiling in their mug shots as if they were posing for yearbook photos gives me goosebumps to this day. Then, I think I found it fascinating from a psychological perspective – now, after having kids myself, I’m not always in the headspace for true crime, although I go through phases where I engage with it more.
Being a Floridian myself, I always love a book that takes place in my home state. What are some of your favorite places in Florida?
I love the Sunken Gardens in St. Pete and the Ringling Museum/New College campus in Sarasota (my alma mater!). I love Key West, St. Augustine, and Anna Maria Island/Holmes Beach for vacation getaways. And I have a soft spot for each and every venue where I’ve seen live music over the years, including but not limited to Jannus Live, State Theater, the Orpheum, the Amphitheatre, the Ritz/Masquerade, Tampa Theater, the Social/Beacham, and on and on. I love the feeling of really knowing a place, you know? Like don’t ask me to give directions anywhere, but if you want to know the thing that happened on this one particular street corner that I still think about every day of my life, I’m your girl.
Love in the Time of Serial Killers is such a fun and emotionally driven book. How did you come up with the idea for this story?
The title actually came to me first. It was a few months into the early pandemic lockdown, and I was just feeling extra squirrelly and isolated and mistrusting. I started thinking about a character who couldn’t open up to love, which she blamed on being a logical reaction to the state of the world when in fact it was more about her.
If you had to name your absolute favorite rom-com, what would it be?
This question is unfair. But also if you want my true comfort go-tos, they would be the movie Juliet, Naked and the audiobook specifically for Sophie Kinsella’s I’ve Got Your Number.
The storyline involving Lenore the cat was so great. I wish more books featured a cat companion! Are you like Phoebe and feel a little weird about cats or are you actually a cat person?
Part of me writing the cat storyline into Love in the Time of Serial Killers was to fulfill my own inner cat dreams, I think! I strongly believe that I am deep down a cat person, but for various reasons (restrictions on places I’ve lived, allergies of family members, rejection by street cats), I’ve never really gotten to have a cat. One day.
In the meantime, I get to enjoy friends’ cats, who provided some inspiration for Lenore (including her names!)
Finally, what’s up next for you after this release?
I’ll be doing some events to promote Love in the Time of Serial Killers, including both in-person and virtual ones. The best way to find out about those is to follow me on social media (@aliciabooks on both Instagram and Twitter) or subscribe to my newsletter at aliciabooks.substack.com. And then I have another romance coming out next year, the details of which I’m still not sure what I’m allowed to share BUT I will say that I’m personally obsessed with it!
Love in the Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson is available for purchase August 16th, 2022 at your local independent bookstore or wherever fine books are sold.