Since my thriller books all deal with ordinary people trying to survive the onslaught of a serial killer, I thought I would offer up my advice on how not to become the guest of said serial killer.
1. Be aware of your surroundings. Look around you. Don’t get distracted. Notice the people that are closest to you and/or the guy eyeing you from the other side of the parking lot. Hang up that cell phone. If it’s important, you can wait until you are safe inside your house before returning the call.
2. Don’t carry yourself like a victim. Look people in the eye. It doesn’t matter what color shoes they are wearing or who dropped that piece of gum on the sidewalk. Keep your eyes up. Stare people down, no matter how creepy they may look.
3. Never show fear. Laugh in the face of disaster. Spit in the eye of the person holding the knife at your throat. Stomp on their feet; scratch their hands. Don’t just sit there and freeze up. Do something…NOW!
4. Drive to safety. Notice what the other cars are doing. If the black car behind you made the same five turns as you, don’t lead him to your house. Keep driving around in circles. Drive to the nearest police station and sit outside it for awhile. Flirt with the cops if you have to and then wave to the black car as he passes by.
5. Don’t open that door to strangers. If a cop, service technician, or hot model suddenly shows up at your door, ask to see some ID – they can hold it up to the peep hole, slide it under the door, or flatten it against the window. Call someone to verify who they are, or you just may want to call up your ten girlfriends to come over and ogle the stranger. Either way, you did the right thing.
6. If you get a sudden text or email saying someone you know has been in a car accident, don’t fall for it right away. Grab the nearest phone and call him or her. If you can’t get through, call someone you trust that can verify the horrible truth. Then run, don’t walk, to the hospital!
7. Have emergency contacts on speed dial – your mom, the police, 911, the FBI. If someone suspicious approaches you, hit the speed dial and then stick the phone in your pocket. You never know when it might be the real thing. If this is just a test, ignore the above instructions and then spend the next five minutes apologizing to the operator how you accidentally butt dialed the number.
8. THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP OF ALL! If you witness a murder, call the cops right away. Do not hesitate, do not pass go, and do not collect $200. It probably won’t matter, though, because by the time they arrive, you just might have become the next victim, but at least you tried. Good luck!