Saturday, June 30, 2012


Christine Husom
A couple years ago, when I attended my first meeting of the Twin Cities Sisters in Crime chapter, Christine Husom welcomed me with an easy smile and interested banter. Instantly, I felt  like I had already been a member for years and years.  Later, when I finished reading the third novel in Husom's Winnebago County mystery thriller series, Altar by the RiverI wondered how someone who is so very kind and friendly, can create really frightening, creeping-under-your-skin, characters.

According to Husom, former Wright County, MN, Sheriff's Department corrections officer, it takes a lot of personal energy and extensive research to get inside the head of a madman or madwoman. The author said that before delving into Altar by the Riverwhich deals with satanic ritual crimes, she spent three months combing through literature and case studies to get a clear understanding of the differences between psychopathy and sociopathy.

But I still wanted to know how Husom got started writing these frightening books in the first place.  It turns out that long before she wrote her first suspense novel, Murder in Winnebago County, Husom had written poetry, essays, and a romance novel or two. She never gave mysteries or suspense much thought until her beloved father, a retired jurist, drowned unexpectedly at the hospital where he was recovering from a bout of pneumonia. For his family, the death was inexplicable and emotionally shattering. The circumstances surrounding the loss haunted Husom for a year. She needed answers and began working out many scenarios in her head. Her father had been a district judge, considered fair and compassionate, and, despite this, he had received occasional threats. Husom imagined someone carrying out a vendetta, and the seeds for her first novel and first villian, serial killer Alvie Eisner, were born. 

Inspiration also came while working at the sheriff's department where Husom stumbled across several frightful and repugnant cases. Despite its many rural and rustic features, and relative low population density, Wright County has had its share of gruesome crimes. "We really don't know what's out there," Husom said in a way that sent chills up my spine, but didn't stop me from asking more questions about, you know, ghastly crimes.

The third novel in the series, Altar by the River was inspired by local true-crime events involving the daughters of a local minister who were forced to undergo satanic ritual abuse by prominent businessmen. This is the kind of material, when you think about it happening in your own back yard, will have you staying up all night to finish the story.

Not everything about Husom's stories is scary, though. When I asked the author what she loved about writing, the answers recalled, of course, her memorable and super-likable heroes: protagonist, Sergeant Corky Aleckson, and special friend, Detective Smoke Dawes. Husom said she feels an immense satisfaction when she can transport the characters, heroes and villains, from inside her imagination to the page, and make them come to life for the reader. Some of the best compliments she's received are: "I think I'm going to run into these people on the street", and "I wish I could hang out with Corky."

Husom also loves the surprises that come with writing. Especially when her characters start doing unexpected things. She said it's like watching a movie, scenes suddenly change, things shift. The first thing Husom does when she begins a story is to develop the characters, starting with the villain(s). "I've tried outlining, but that just doesn't work for me," Husom admitted. "I always know the beginning and the ending, and work out the plot points after I come up with characters."

This writer is not only one of the nicest and most genuine people I have ever met, she's also the  busiest. She and her husband Dan own and operate a retail and service-oriented business, Sole and Body, in downtown Buffalo, MN. They have four children and six grandchildren whom they see often, but always on Sundays for a full-family, dinner gathering. The writer is a member of her local Rotary Club and is on the board of Fishing Klinic for Kids Minnesota. Am I done? No. I just learned that Husom threw in her hat in the ring to run for one of five seats for Wright County Commissioner. I hope you win, Christine Husom!

The Noding Field Mystery, Husom's fourth novel, will be published by Second Wind Publishing in November.


  1. She sounds fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Kristi - that jacket was an uber dubber cheapie from Zara, it;s fab, it's really soft and feels like a sweatshirt on yet looks quite smart, they make it in loads o colours, it's part of their basic range, great for travelling.