THE STORY BEHIND THIS BOOK
I wanted to write a story from the point of view of someone with distorted thinking. As a neuroscientist, I’ve always been fascinated by mental illness, and especially obsessive compulsive disorder. I’m a little OCD myself, so had no trouble making the character, Maxine, suffer, and convincingly so. There are too many people suffering in silence from symptoms of OCD that are not written in all the text books nor publicized in shocking television documentaries. Believe it or not, many sufferers of OCD are not obsessed by hygiene, checking the oven or hoarding. These are the OCD sufferers who suffer in embarrassed silence. My aim is to use Maxine and her excruciatingly embarrassing, non-textbook symptoms to give these people a voice.
Sociopaths are fascinating too, because they are everywhere (4% of the population apparently). Whether a spouse, partner, colleague or relative, most people (whether they know it or not) have a sociopath in their life. I had one in my life and found him fascinating. The way they can look you right in the eye and lie. The fact that they are capable of anything because they are not limited by the same moral boundaries as the rest of us. Even the way they talk, they have this amazing ability to monologue incessantly while actually revealing nothing. I wanted specifically to capture this trait in my sociopath’s voice.
What’s particularly interesting about mixing the OCD sufferer with the sociopath is the combing of a person who feels constant mental pain with one who feels nothing at all.