I came up with the initial idea for "The Butcher of Londinium" while skimming through a Jack the Ripper book for information on police procedure in 1880's London. At the same time, I was watching the first season of Spartacus. The two merged in my head, and I began to toy with the idea of a serial killer, sentenced to die in the arena, who made a deal with a Lanista to survive. Could the gladiators come to accept him? If so, why? What about a man who'd lost everything because of him?
Since I had Jack the Ripper in mind, I set the story in an 1880's alternate version of England where the Romans had never left. Surgery gave me a link between the first and second question, as well as a reason the Lanista might be willing to deal.
Still, it didn't seem like quite enough to me. I needed something more, an emotional center that could tie everything together, and put the two main adversaries, the serial killer and the wronged man, in conflict not just because of past events, but also in terms of present ones.
So Stolo was born.
Once I had Stolo, I knew I had all I needed to start the story. But then I hesitated. I began to doubt if I could pull off a first person story from the point of view of a serial killer. Maybe I should just move on to some other, easier idea? I decided to go ahead with the story anyway as I realized I'd fail harder by not trying at all than by trying and not pulling it off.
I'm glad I did.
-J. Deery Wray