Q: Who/What inspired you to write My Sister Rosa?
A: Many things inspired me. I talk about them in detail here.
Q: How was it different writing a male protagonist? Would you do it again?
A: The biggest challenge for me of writing from Che’s point of view was not that he’s male, but that he’s such an essentially good person and a romantic. Che’s genuinely nice and, well, I’m better at writing more morally, er, comprised characters. Or at least snarkier characters. Let’s just say that his psychopathic sister Rosa’s dialogue was a cinch to write while it took me several drafts to get Che’s voice right. I’m not sure what that says about me.
Q: You did a lot of research on psychopaths for My Sister Rosa do you find yourself diagnosing people as psychopaths now?
A: Ha! Yes. They’re everywhere! BE AFRAID!1
Q: Aren’t psychopaths all serial killers? Why didn’t you write about a sociopath instead?
A: Psychopaths are not all serial killers. There are people who kill who are not psychopaths and there are many psychopaths—the vast majority of them—who do not kill.
As for why I didn’t write about a sociopath, well, I did. Sociopathy, psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder are all the same thing. If you look up sociopathy on Wikipedia it redirects you to psychopathy. Antisocial personality disorder gets its own entry. Probably because that is the term predominately used by psychiatrists and the one in the DSM. But they are all synonyms.
Q: Why didn’t you write the book from Rosa’s point of view? She’s so much more interesting than Che.
A: Poor Che. I think he’s plenty interesting, he’s just not evil. Interesting is not a synonym for evil, you know.
I wrote the book from Che’s point of view because I wanted to write about an evil child from the point of view of their older sibling. I started the book wondering what it would be like to have a younger sibling who was truly evil rather than merely annoying. My Sister Rosa is the answer to that question.
- Not really. The highest estimate of Psychopaths in the general population is 10% but most researchers put them in the 1-3% range. [↩]