When you’ve had a fascination with the paranormal, the macabre, and true crime since you were a small child, writing within that genre seems like a natural progression—at least for author Kristina Stancil it does, anyway.
Off Square Books will host the author June 19 at 5 p.m. to talk about her latest book, “North Mississippi Murder & Mayhem.”
“I am a third-generation true crime and paranormal fan,” Stancil said. “I was allowed to watch my first horror movie at a very young age, which was some of the first “Friday the 13th” movies.
My grandmother tells me that she’s had a ghost that has followed her for a very long time, and she happens to live at the bottom of the mountain where Spahn Ranch was located in Los Angeles County, and Spahn Ranch was where Charles Manson had his commune in the late 1960s. So, I grew up hearing about Manson as the boogeyman. Needless to say, my love for those types of crime stories and the paranormal eventually led to the subject matter in my books.”
Stancil said she was a very precocious child.
“My favorite TV shows when I was in school weren’t cartoons or anything like that,” she said. “They were programs like “Cagney & Lacey,” “T.J. Hooker,” and “Hunter” was one of my favorites. And, of course, “Ghosts.”
Her latest book is indeed a reflection of her fascination with true crime. “North Mississippi Murder & Mayhem” is a look at some of America’s first serial killers in the Magnolia State. From the Harpe brothers, who Stancil writes in her book, brutally murdered as many as 50 people at the end of the 1700s before finally meeting their end on the Natchez Trace, to politician William Clark Falkner’s (great-grandfather to Oxford’s adopted son, William Faulkner) untimely death-by-gunshot at the hands of a former business partner, “North Mississippi Murder & Mayhem” is jam-packed with heinous crimes that linger in the shadows of North Mississippi’s past.
The idea for the book was born from the advantageousness of her location, she said.
“I pitched The History Press a book based in New Orleans that I had started writing, but since I was living in North Mississippi—Tremont—they were curious and interested in the area,” she said. “They already had a series of true crime books called “Murder & Mayhem,” so they wanted to know what I could write about north Mississippi. So, I began to do my research.”
Her research uncovered a plethora of anarchy and murderous north Mississippi havoc. So much so, that the book is filled with crime stories, both past and present, that will hold a true crime fan spellbound for hours on end.
Stancil holds a master’s degree in humanities with a concentration in English from Tiffin University in Ohio, as well as a B.A. in social and criminal justice from Ashford University. She is currently enrolled in Loyola University New Orleans’ graduate program in criminology, and is the owner of Blood Reign Lit Magazine, specializing in the publication of new horror writers.
By hottytoddy.com contributor Angela Rogalski