Inspiration for Woman in White
By Kristin Dearborn
When my friend Melissa asked if I wanted to go on a tour of the Maine State Crime Lab, I enthusiastically said yes. An avid CSI fan, she’s worked at the lab for several years, and I’d always been intrigued by her stories there, particularly the place in the garage where they hang up the bloody clothes after an incident. (Our tour never made it to the garage, a detail about which I was very sad.)
It was the tail end of 2013 and I was home in Maine for Christmas. It was a typical Maine winter day, the sky the same shade of grey as the dingy snow on the ground. It was quiet in the lab, not a lot of staff present. We spent a great deal of time talking to forensic chemist Alison Gingras, and she told me about several cold cases she’d worked on where DNA evidence allowed her to confidently identify criminals. One case was the highly publicized murder of Pearl Burns. Pearl was missing for thirteen months before new developments in technology allowed the police and forensic crew to locate her body in her basement. Her husband buried the body there after he’d bound her and bludgeoned her.
When I walked into the crime lab, I didn’t have a story in my head. I was working on some edits to a historical werewolf piece, and my mind became a clean slate to absorb all the information Alison and Melissa gave me. After chatting extensively with Alison, Melissa took us to the section of the lab which was her domain, where she cataloged DNA. The space had to be sterile, and a huge part of Melissa’s job was keeping the workspace clean. We talked a lot about contamination, and that was where my brain started to churn. She told me about DNA she finds in blood, and how the pieces and parts add up to a profile of a person, but if there’s an error, say, some bleach finding its way into the sample, the blood becomes useless. Something about the idea of blood, stripped of any identifying components, really stuck with me.
Driving back to Vermont, I got caught in a snow storm. I spent the drive thinking about naked blood and swirling snow. What could those things have to do with one another? How could all the DNA be stripped out of blood? I chewed over what kind of horrible thing would do that. Bleach, sure, but that’s no fun. I wanted something more sinister, something less tangible. For anyone who hasn’t read Woman in White, I won’t tell you what I came up with. I did lean heavily on my visit to the crime lab for the story, though mostly in a tangential way. Lee’s character is an employee of the lab in Augusta. She shows up in Rocky Rhodes ready to use her crime lab skills, only to discover the problem afoot is very, very different than what she was expecting.
Inspiration lies everywhere for writers, and I think horror writers have even more fun, because we take the everyday inspiration and make it awful. We can take little, everyday things, and infuse them with darkness and terror.
Woman in White, Synopsis~
- Print Length: 139 pages
- Publisher: Dark Fuse
- Publication Date: February 28, 2016
Rocky Rhodes, Maine.
As a fierce snowstorm descends upon the sleepy little town, a Good Samaritan stops to help a catatonic woman sitting in the middle of the icy road, and is never seen or heard from again. When the police find his car, it is splattered in more blood than the human body can hold.
While the storm rages on, the wave of disappearances continue, the victims sharing only one commonality: they are all male. Now it’s up to three young women to figure out who or what is responsible: a forensic chemist, a waitress struggling with an abusive boyfriend, and a gamer coping with the loss of her lover.
Their search will lead them on a journey filled with unspeakable horrors that are all connected to a mysterious Woman in White.
Kristin Dearborn, Biography-
If it screams, squelches, or bleeds, Kristin Dearborn has probably written about it. She’s written books such as Sacrifice Island (DarkFuse), Trinity (DarkFuse), and had fiction published in several magazines and anthologies. Stolen Away was recently a limited edition offered from Thunderstorm Books, which sold out. She revels in comments like “But you look so normal…how do you come up with that stuff?” A life-long New Englander, she aspires to the footsteps of the local masters, Messrs. King and Lovecraft. When not writing or rotting her brain with cheesy horror flicks (preferably creature features!), she can be found scaling rock cliffs or zipping around Vermont on a motorcycle, or gallivanting around the globe. Find more on Kristin at http://kristindearborn.com/
“Horror born straight from a nor’easter, Dearborn’s Woman in White is a great read for a winter night—with a monster I’ll never forget.” —Christopher Irvin, author of Federales and Burn Cards
“Kristin Dearborn’s Woman in White is a rip-roaring monster tale with sharp-eyed characterization and something to say about the power dynamics between men and woman. Thought-provoking and entertaining as hell!” —Tim Waggoner, author of Eat the Night
“Great stuff! Suspenseful, quickly paced, unpredictable and wonderfully evil tale. Kristin Dearborn’s best yet!” —Jeff Strand, author of Pressure