Ann Rule Interview


DM) What author inspired you to start writing?

AR) I think writing just kind of caught up with me. I had things I wanted to say. My favorite authors--who influenced me--were Harper Lee, Betty Smith, Thomas Thompson and Truman Capote.

DM) Did any family member or friends read your writings as they were growing up?

AR) Not really. My five children were pretty bored with what I did for a living. Once, Mike--when he was 16--had to write a book report and asked me to tell him about The Stranger Beside Me, and I said, "No way. Read it yourself." He disappeared into his room for two days; when he came out, he said, "Hey, Mom. You're not bad." That's about the height of the compliments I got from my kids. My daughter, Leslie Rule, who now publishes her own books (Kill Me Again and Whispers From the Grave) has a new respect and appreciation for how much work goes into a writing career. I guess you have to "be there" to understand.

DM) Which one of your books is based closest to your own life?

AR) I'm not sure what you mean. The only book I've written which truly touched on my own life is The Stranger Beside Me, about Ted Bundy. Ted was a friend of mine and my partner at the Crisis Clinic long before he was ever suspected of being a serial killer, or, for that matter, any kind of criminal at all.

DM) Did your feelings of friendship disappear after the crimes?

AR) Yes, of course, to a degree--and on a sliding scale. At first, I didn't want to believe Ted was guilty. Gradually, I began to doubt him, though. After almost five years of research after Ted was implicated, and after seeing physical evidence at his Miami trial, I had to accept that Ted was a monster. It is a difficult thing to realize that you can be so misled by a charming sociopath.

DM) Do you still find yourself disbelieving?

AR) No, I think I have long since accepted that Ted Bundy was a heartless killer. And I know there are many more like him out there. You cannot always trust what you see on the surface of a person you meet. Better to wait and get to know who they really are.

DM) What do you do for fun in your "normal" life that might surprise your fans?

AR) It might surprise my fans to know that I don't have a lot of time for fun. I've been writing a book every nine months for a long time now. When I do take a break, I walk on the beach, go shopping for treasures in second-hand and antique stores, play with my five cats and two dogs, and watch a marathon of movies I've missed that I can find at Blockbuster Video.

DM) But can you enjoy the "normal" life, or are you stopped by fans while renting your favorite movie?

AR) Of course. Usually, people don't recognize me or don't care. Some know me but just smile or nod. If people say "hello," I enjoy that. I am not really a famous person; I'm more of an old-friend-type to my readers.

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