T. Marie Benchley, author of Once Wicked Always Dead
Once Wicked Always Dead

Over the past ten years, my husband and I have been blessed to have two of the most wonderful women work for us.  From Monday through Thursday they arrive smiling with coffee in hand and proceed to go upstairs to our office to diligently perform their individual duties.  These women have become a huge part of our lives and are not just employees, but two of my closest friends.  So when I started working on Once Wicked Always Dead, I would occasionally let them read various parts of the manuscript and in return they would ask me while looking at me strangely, how did I ever come up with such a story.  Well, the answer to that question is quite simple. 

As a writer you never know where an idea for your next book is going to come from.  It could be the interesting chap who you notice sitting at the table next to you, dining alone; it could be a tragic story which you read in the column of your morning newspaper.  In my case, it was one evening when I was watching the news and I became transfixed by the image of a politician, who with his wife by his side, made a confession to the world that he had a gay affair.  The fact that another politician was confessing his transgressions was not what I found so interesting.  After all, living in today’s society I must sadly say we are becoming very used to politicians getting caught with their hands in various cookie jars. 

What I did find interesting was the fact that his wife was standing in loving support by the side of the same man who had blatantly betrayed her.  This was the particular moment that started my wheels turning.  I could not help but wonder what this woman was really thinking as the cameras rolled.  Was she angry?  Was she being forced to stand there or did she really want to be there for him?

Then there was the question as to how this betrayal was going to affect her life, her future, her self-confidence.  After being so deceived by someone she loved, would she ever be able to trust her own judgment in future relationships?

Throughout the week I pondered over this scenario.  I found myself thinking of the husband who felt that he had to hide his real sexuality all of those years.  I mean, could you imagine if you had to go through your whole life living a lie? What would that do to you as a human being?  Would you unknowingly come across angry, and now that he was out of the closet did he feel a sense of relief?  If you have a child and you do not allow this child to be themselves, will their future and those who love him end in tragedy?

My own answers to these questions are what generated Molly and Phillip Madison—two characters who had lived a large part of their lives based on a lie, then both finding the courage and strength to start over. 

Now you may be asking yourself, well that’s all well and good about Phillip and Molly, but what about that crazy woman who is going around and killing all those men? How did you ever come up with something like that? Okay, let me explain it like this. 

When writing any wicked, rotten type of character, it is not only a little naughty but it’s also fun.  I am a happily married woman with two of the most wonderfully talented and lovely children in the world.  I know that I have been truly blessed.  So when you have such a wonderful stable life, it is fun to get down and dirty in your writing.  Being a woman and a mother, I created a villain that viewed herself as a hero ridding the world of what she perceived of as evil.  I wanted the reader to not only be shocked by what this sociopath was doing, but to ask themselves, did these evil-doers get what they deserved? 

I hope you enjoy Once Wicked Always Dead and that you find a few chuckles along the way.