By Abby Normal
HOUSE OF HOMICIDE is a battle between good and evil. Our protagonist, Cindy Fairbank, tries to do right by her family but unwittingly puts them in danger when she buys a suburban house that seems to be perfect.
When Cindy hears about an urban legend that centers on her house, she dusts off her investigative journalist skills and begins to research the stories. She discovers that there is much more to the history than expected, with a series of gruesome homicides spanning over forty years and restless souls of murder victims who are clamoring for revenge. As Cindy gets close to uncovering the killer, the killer gets close to her and the ones she loves.
To find out more, let’s talk to the author, Eileen Magill.
Is it true that you almost bought the house that HOUSE OF HOMICIDE is based on?
I did! When I was looking to buy a house, my agent, Dawn, sent me a list of houses that fit my needs. One stood out well above the rest, and I was pretty much set to buy it without seeing it. Thank goodness I didn’t. When we got into the house, we both got a very bad feeling. Truly, my hair on my arms stood up. Not good! Dawn went into the kitchen to look at the disclosure documents, and I went into the first bedroom. It was in horrible shape. There were holes in the floor and the walls. Windows were broken. And that bad feeling I had when I first entered the house? It was overpowering in that room. Back in the kitchen, Dawn reminded me that if anyone had died in the house in the last three years, it had to be listed in the disclosure documents. And there had been. Quite a few, including ones that were listed as “violent, non-disclosed.” I got the heck out of there, but the house “haunted” me. My brain couldn’t let it go. It became the basis for HOUSE OF HOMICIDE.
Do you believe in ghosts?
At the time that I was looking to buy a house, I was mostly a non-believer. I’d never experienced anything paranormal, but wanted to believe in them. I guess you’d say I was a skeptic. When I was in that house, it felt evil. I didn’t know if it was from ghosts or residual energy, but it scared me enough to get out fast.
If that house was that bad, why would your protagonist, Cindy, buy the house?
Cindy is a widow trying to provide a better life for her son, daughter, and an aunt who has Alzheimer’s. The house was perfect on paper, exactly what she needed. But she didn’t feel the energy in the same way I did. She also was only told that one person had died there, and the cause of death was listed as heart failure, not murder. She started hearing rumors about the House of Homicide’s evil past, and then her son found a murder weapon in the crawl space.
What research have you done to make the events in the book accurate?
Research has been a lot of fun. I’ve interviewed a lot of people, from septic system workers to paranormal specialists. I’ve even been on several investigations with the Bay Area Ghost Hunters. I went back to school and got a BS in Criminal Justice so I could be sure I got things right. I went to survival school, too. Actually made fire with sticks and wood that I found and carved. The most fun event was my experiment with luminol. I wanted to figure out a way to hide blood so that it wouldn’t light up when luminol was sprayed on it. Part of the fun was just trying to get a significant amount of blood, and my family members refused to donate it. I tried restaurants, butcher shops, and grocery stores. The reactions I got from the employees were Candid Camera quality. At one place I was asked––none too politely––to leave the store. Maybe it was because I was wearing my Sisters in Crime T-shirt, I don’t know. But it sure was funny. I laughed until I cried. Most managers blamed health regulations as why they couldn’t give me a cup of blood. I spend countless hours on research and then only a few lines make it into the story or go into a file for future stories.
Are any of the characters in HOUSE OF HOMICIDE based on real, living people?
Two characters in HOUSE OF HOMICIDE are my friends. Dawn Thomas is the real estate agent in the book, and she is my agent, as well. And Laura Lee is also a friend. She’s an incredible psychic medium. Both Laura and Dawn are amazing ladies, and I’m honored that they allowed me to call them by name in the story. Other characters are based on people I see in public. The airport is a great place to people watch. Some are under stress, others are excited. I admit that I eavesdrop on conversations. You hear the damnedest things. And then there are the victims…when I was a kid, one of my sisters picked on me. A lot. I promised to get even with her. So someone with a version of her name will die in each book, probably horribly.
Eileen Magill knew she wanted to be a writer since she was a child, but because she liked having a roof over her head, she worked as a civil servant instead. She struggled to make an enjoyable life for herself and her only son Tom. As a hockey mom, she spent early mornings and late nights freezing in the ice rink, all the time wishing her job was as an author. So she wrote news stories about the hockey games for the local paper.
Years later, while writing HOUSE OF HOMICIDE, Eileen was still working full time, and instead of sleeping, she earned two BS degrees at the same time in less than two years. Eileen is someone who sets a goal and doesn’t stop until she achieves it. If anyone stands in her way, they should expect to be a murder victim in an upcoming novel, as evidenced by the high death count in HOUSE OF HOMICIDE.
You can learn more about Eileen and her writing on her website or pick up a copy of Impressions LPC Anthology 2015 for her first published poem called, Do You Remember Me? A Father with Alzheimer’s.
About Abby Normal
Abby Normal has been conducting interviews for the past several years. Her eclectic interviews have been with drag queens, paranormal professionals, TV personalities, and authors.
Abby got her start in show business doing standup comedy, which evolved into TV and movies. Always looking for the abnormal, Abby finds the lighter side of life through fun and adventures. Her time of living in a haunted house led her on a journey of self discovery and eventually found an affinity for energy and sound healing.
You can read more of Abby’s interviews on her website.
Interested in becoming a member of the International Thriller Writers? ITW offers Active and Associate memberships.
Latest posts by ITW (see all)
- September 18 – 24: “What are some other countries that might take center stage in the future?” - September 17, 2017
- September 11 – 17: “Describe fiction’s regard and disregard for the long-term unemployed.” - September 10, 2017
- September 4 – 10: “Best symbolism employed in thrillers in recent years?” - September 3, 2017