Killer Instinct: S.E. Green On Her Favorite Serial Killers

Everybody has a little morbid curiosity in them — and, after all, curiosity did kill the cat, so to speak. But what is it about dark, twisted things that fascinates us? YA author S.E. Green took her love of murderous television shows like Hannibal and Dexter and crafted her latest novel, Killer Instinct, in which a teen fascinated by serial killers. Today, S.E. shares her favorite fictional and real life killers, so you better leave the lights on for this. Take a look:

I’m a big fan of shows like Hannibal, The Following and Dexter. So when I was ready to write a new series, Killer Instinct and the serial killer theme was a natural fit.

Everyone has a dark side, and this theme is prevalent in both Dexter and Hannibal. The main characters live two lives. Dexter is a blood splatter analyst by day and a serial killer by night. His redeeming quality is that he only targets violent offenders. This “moral code” of his makes him a likeable protagonist that we the viewer root for.

Hannibal lives two lives as well. He is a therapist by day and a cannibal by night. Often times he targets those with bad manners, but they can’t be sickly. After all, he is going to eat them — they need to be healthy! Interestingly enough, when I watch this show I find myself cheering for both his capture and his escape.

The same goes with The Following. Joe Carroll is the antagonist. He has this compelling way about him that draws you in. He will stroke your head, talk sweetly to you, then pull a knife and stab you right in the gut. I’ve yet to find a redeeming quality in him and yet I’m captivated by him. I suppose it’s directly linked to the fascination I have with cults and their equally charismatic leaders.

Now to switch to some real life serial killers. When I first started writing Killer Instinct I didn’t do a whole lot of research beforehand. I never do. I tend to dig for facts as I go along. And, wow, what facts I’ve stumbled across! I could go on forever on all that I have dug up, but let me narrow it down to two: Ed Gein and Jeffrey Dahmer.

Ed Gein was raised by a religious, dominating mother. She taught him that all women were prostitutes. He lived with her alone on a farm well in to adulthood and up until her death. When his home was finally raided, a disgustingly long list of female bones and skin were fashioned into “trophies” he wore in an attempt to be a female. His case influenced The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho and several other Hollywood stories.

Finally, Jeffrey Dahmer. His father was a chemist and his mother was known to be whiny and fake sickness to get attention. His father taught him how to preserve animal bones, and Dahmer began experimenting with carcasses he found in the woods. These experimentations were the beginnings of what he is most known for: raping, dismembering and preserving his victims.

What is so interesting to me is that there doesn’t seem to be an exact formula as to what makes a person into a serial killer. Parents. Friends. Home life. Traumatic event. Nature versus nurture. I truly don’t believe there is an answer. Every situation is unique, and I explore that in the Killer Instinct series.

Plus who knows, you could have a serial killer living right next door to you and you don’t even realize it . . .

- S.E. Green

Yikes! Let's hope not! If you'd like to satisfy your morbid curiosity, then be sure to pick up your copy of Killer Instinct today! And for more chilling YA books, visit our Everything Young Adult page!