How far are you willing to go for Mister Tender?
Do you remember the Slender Man girl stabbings in Wisconsin back in 2014? Two 12-year old girls lured their friend into the woods stabbing her nineteen times, leaving her for dead. They claimed a fictional Internet character “told” them to do this. Both sisters are now locked up in mental institutions for decades.
MISTER TENDER’S GIRL (SourcebookLandmark) by Carter Wilson, jumps off that premise. At fourteen, Alice Hill is viciously attacked by two of her classmates and left to die. The teens claim she was a sacrifice for a man called Mister Tender, but that could never be true: Mister Tender didn’t exist. His sinister character was pop-culture fiction, created by Alice’s own father in a series of popular graphic novels.
Over a decade later, Alice has changed her name and is trying to heal. But someone is watching her. They know more about Alice than any stranger could: her scars, her fears, and the secrets she keeps locked away. She can try to escape her past, but Mister Tender is never far behind…
I loved reading MISTER TENDER’S GIRL. I was on the edge of my seat during the entire read. The connection to a true crime story is always a good hook. Carter Wilson’s prose are pithy and direct. There aren’t any unnecessary words, which makes the pace fly. I was in the dark until the end as to was the “bad guy.”
A Hollywood Production company is currently in negotiations to turn MISTER TENDER’S GIRL into a television series. We can only hope and that Carter Wilson is involved in the adaptation.
A Conversation with the Carter Wilson (courtesy Sourcebooks, Inc.)
Mister Tender’s Girl pulls from a real true crime story. When did you first hear about it, and in what way did it plant the seeds for your book?
I remember first reading about the Slender Man case online, soon after the crime took place. I was both horrified and drawn to the story. About three paragraphs in, I stopped reading because I knew that idea was going to form the basis for my next book. I didn’t want to read any more because I didn’t want to be too tainted by the actual series of events. To this day, I still haven’t read very much about the Slender Man crime or the girls involved.
How did you come up with the character of Mister Tender and his chilling means of persuasion?
He took a few different incarnations, but I knew his name was going to be Mister Tender—that name just popped in my head and felt right. And after a while, it occurred to me that Tender could mean he was a bartender. And what are bartenders good at? Listening and giving advice. So then I thought about those characteristics being attributed to someone evil, and Mister Tender eventually took shape.
What draws you to the thriller genre?
A few things. I enjoy tension, because without it, stories wouldn’t be all that interesting. And I love personal stakes. The idea of an everyday person in an extraordinary situation. I want the reader to be able to put themselves in the protagonist’s place and think, “What would I do? How would I get out of this?” And, more than anything, I love writing paranoia. That sense of all is not right here. Taken together, all the things I love to write point very directly to the thriller/suspense genre.
What author inspires you, and why?
If I had to choose one, I’d be hard-pressed not to say Stephen King. He’s masterful both in his scope of work and his ability to capture nuances of characters with an efficiency of words. I’ve always been impressed with his ability to create tension and fear with just a few choice phrases. His books are long, but they’re not overwritten. They always feel edited to just the point they need to be, which is a really difficult thing to do.
Thanks to Soucebooks Landmark, we have one copy of MISTER TENDER’S GIRL to giveaway. Tell us what you remember about the real “Slender Man” case in Wisconsin.
We’ll choose a winner soon. Good luck!
**GIVEAWAY USA & CANADA only, please**