Friends with a serial killer: Peter Perry’s terrifying true story is your next favourite true-crime thriller
October Author of the Month, Peter Perry, offers unique advice for new authors, as well as a FREE COPY of his new book.
What do you know about pure evil, the kind that makes you fear for you life? Peter Perry can tell you all about it. He lived in London, Ontario, during the killing spree of one of Canada’s most notorious serial killers, the Bedroom Strangler. It was a terrifying time there between 1974 and 1978. Russell Maurice Johnson, a.k.a. the Bedroom Strangler, was scaling apartment buildings, sometimes up to fifteen floors, and sneaking into women’s rooms at night to assault them and take their lives.
This is truly what nightmares are made of, and Peter Perry was there for it all. Peter and Johnson would lift weights together at Vic Tanny’s Health Club, a place where, unbeknownst to Peter, Russell selected most of his victims. Co-authored with Geoff Hart and Kathleen Sumpton, ORIGEN: A True Story of Evil, takes us through the rise and fall of one of Canada’s most notorious serial killers, told by someone who was closest to him.
We caught up with Peter to find out how things are going with his book since it launched earlier this year, and he had lots to share with us! Among other unique marketing activities, Peter and Geoff are in the process of pitching the screenplay of Origen to Netflix and Amazon. We wish them the best of luck!
You can get a free copy of Origen between October 27 and November 17!
That’s right, everyone, Peter has teamed up with other talented true crime and thriller authors to offer a round-up of some of the best new terrifying reads. Starting October 27, you can download a free e-book copy of Origen. Not just a free chapter, the whole book! Just click here and select the book cover for Origen to download your copy. You have until November 17!
Origen is a story that’s 40 years in the making. You’re a major part of Canadian history. You not only knew one of Canada’s most notorious serial killers, you were friends with him and played a role in his capture. What inspired you to write this story and share it with the world?
In my youth, I was asked if I believed in the Devil. I didn’t at the time. I wrote this story because it’s important for people to know that there are two extremes. There are the people that will go out of their way to help others, and there are those who only wish to harm. Discerning which is which is difficult, because those who wish to harm have practiced a lifetime at hiding what they truly are. I was befriended by a serial killer. He saw the popularity I achieved through power lifting and wanted that popularity for himself. He was good-looking, charming and I never suspected a thing. A friend told me he was evil. I didn’t believe it. But once his past started to surface, his true nature became abundantly clear. I wrote Origen as a warning to others. Evil exists. And I found it in someone I once called a friend.
Can you tell us what it was like living through such a dark and evil period in London’s history, as the Bedroom Strangler gripped the city in fear?
Just like in the story, the city was paralyzed by what was happening. It was unexpected and frightening. Back then, people often left their doors unlocked when they left the house. It was common for kids to walk or bike great distances, as public transportation wasn’t as accessible. There were no cell phones. This was prime hunting grounds for predators. Worse, very few people believed that evil people existed. But they did. Too many, in fact.
It’s almost Halloween and it’s the perfect time for scary stories. Is there a part of your book that you can share with us that would give us a fright?
Imagine your worst nightmare as a child. Now imagine your worst nightmare come to life. A woman living on the 15th story of an apartment complex leaves her patio door unlocked one night. Little does she realize that a serial killer has scaled the outside of the building, entered through her patio door and is currently hiding beneath her bed.
We have chills!
How have you been marketing your book so far, and what are you looking forward to next for promoting your book?
We’ve hired Sziliva Borsan as a promoter for North America and we’re also using networks through Fiverr to achieve international sales. Thanks to Tellwell, we have a blog campaign and completed giveaways that have been extraordinarily successful. Thanks to all these promotions, we’ve had to expand the bandwidth on our website, twice! We’ve also heard from so many readers who are enjoying the book.
Our next promotional push will be radio podcasts and speaking to networks regarding film rights.
Origen: A True Story of Evil is a definite must read for any true crime junkie! I found it hard to put down. Having grown up just outside of London, Ontario this book hit close to home. Makes one really think about the real existence of evil in the world.Sharon Hogue, Amazon reader review
What advice do you have for authors considering self-publishing a book?
I think my best advice for authors is to keep your ear to the ground regarding promotion opportunities. The landscape is changing so fast, new opportunities are arising all the time. With so many social apps gaining notoriety the ability to self-publish has never been better.
You and your co-author Geoff Hart wrote Origen as a screenplay first, and with all the success the book is having, you’ve been talking with a few film executives.
Yes, Geoff and I wrote the screenplay first. There was so much story to tell. It couldn’t be contained within a two hour format. To do it justice, it needed to be a novel. Geoff assisted with some of the edits and Tellwell did a great job with the final polish. Now that we have the novel and the screenplay, Geoff will be approaching Production Companies and Streaming Sites. With credible book sales, we think Netlfix or Amazon will consider this a worthy Canadian story.
Tell us about the charities that you’re contributing to with a portion of your book sales. Why did you decide to do this?
We weren’t thinking of limiting donations to just charities. There are many organizations (not all have charity status) that make good sense to receive a portion of the sales from this novel. There are many options, but we’d like to keep the list to Southwest Ontario, as this is where the novel takes place. We’re doing this to honour the victims and their family members who were affected by the Bedroom Strangler.
Click here to read a victim letter from Margie Veitch, the daughter of one of the women who survived an attack from the Bedroom Strangler.
What’s next for you and Origen?
Geoff and I are fleshing out ideas for a sequel. The seventies were a fascinating decade and as manager of a gym, I got to know all kinds of people. The subject of Origen Adamantius is also something that readers have indicated they’d like to know more about. So we’ll be exploring many of the themes in more depth than we were able to do in the first novel. We wanted to remain true to events as they happened. Some liberties were taken, but many I’ve spoken with were surprised by how much of the novel was true.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Self-publishing is a growing industry given fuel by the advent of new social marketing opportunities. Everybody wants to create: some interior decorate, some paint, others garden. But if you ever wanted to write a novel, I can think of no better time to start. With so many resources available, and new marketing avenues opening up all the time, becoming a novelist has never been easier. Think of it as the perfect part time job, where you can be your own boss, set your own hours, and tell a story you’ve been dying to tell.
Don’t forget to grab your free copy of Origen! You have until November 17. This give-away goes live October 27 and you can download your e-book here.
You can connect with Peter and learn more about Origen, including where you can buy a copy at origenthebook.com and on Facebook and Goodreads.