310. Heroine Sociopaths and Emotional Suspense: An Interview with Victoria Helen Stone

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First: my apologies. In this recording, Victoria sounds terrific. I’m somewhere underwater, and predominantly on the right side. Egads. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but I apologize in advance. But hey, this conversation is so interesting because of what she has to say! Victoria Helen Stone, also known as romance author Victoria Dahl, has a new book out, Jane Doe [bookmention slug="jane-doe"]. I read it in one sitting - it was terrifyingly good. Her heroine, Jane, is a self-acknowledged sociopath, and hanging out in her head was quite an experience as she gets revenge on someone who did irreparable harm to her best friend. In this interview, we talk about shifting from romance to revenge thrillers - or as Stone calls them, Emotional Suspense. We also discuss: The catharsis of addressing double standards and processing rage through her writing. The enjoyment of burning shit down. The use of genre terms such as “women’s fiction,” “chick lit,” “psychological thrillers,” and “book club fiction.” The empowerment of women taking control, including when they lose control. The freeing experience of writing Jane Doe, a sociopathic heroine who has zero self-doubt, and being inside the head of a person who is determined to exact complete and total revenge. Among her recommendations, we talk about safe spaces to explore kink in romance fiction, and her frustrations with the horror genre. Stay tuned to the end of the interview where she drops this fascinating idea: “Romance and horror are the flip sides of the same human drive to survive.” CW: We talk about gas lighting, harassment, school shootings, entitlement, the foundations of emotionally abusive relationships, and then have an in-depth discussion of sociopathy.

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