Posted: 6/21/12

TAMIU Professor’s Novel Published



As you make your way through your summer reading list, put an exciting thriller by a local author on the top of your stack of books. A murder mystery, “Suicide Kings,” written by Texas A&M International University associate professor of psychology Dr. Christopher Ferguson, takes readers on an adventure set in Florence, Italy, during the Renaissance.

Well-known as an expert on the effects of violent video games on children, Dr. Ferguson found inspiration to write a novel while on a trip to Florence, Italy.

“Florence retains a sense of its Renaissance past. It’s full of mystery and secrets and it seemed an ideal setting for a murder mystery,” said Ferguson.

“I wanted to write a book that would be accessible to both teens and adults with a central character, Diana, who people could relate to. I think readers will connect with her as she struggles to solve the mystery of her mother’s death in a male-dominated Renaissance culture,” he explained.

The novel follows Diana Savrano—a young woman used to a life of privilege, elegant balls, handsome suitors and frivolity—as she evades assassins while trying to unmask those responsible for her mother’s death. Along the way, paranoia and loneliness set in when even her closest friends reveal hidden agendas. The further she follows the intertwined threads, the closer they appear to lead to her own father.

While the trip provided inspiration for the setting, Ferguson revealed he likes writing about women characters more than men.

“I suppose I am inspired by the strong women in my own life, my wife and my mother in particular,” he said.

Even though he found inspiration to write the novel, finding the time to actually write it proved to be a bit trickier.

He mostly squeezes in his writing at night, once his son is asleep and when he’s not debating violent video games on NPR, being interviewed by the LA Times, writing for time.com or teaching classes.

“The second and third chapters of the book were written while I was still in Florence and parts of the third chapter were written sitting on the floor in Heathrow airport on my way home during a layover,” he recalled.

Despite his busy schedule, he already has ideas for his second novel.

The upcoming book is closer to fantasy adventure and sees him turning to the Greeks and a young woman who was born under mysterious circumstances and later becomes a slave soldier during the Greek Dark Ages.

It’s not all completely fantasy. The scholar does do research after all.

“I actually read a lot of non-fiction, history book in particular, not surprisingly!” he exclaimed.

“Suicide Kings” is published by L&L Dreamspell.

He will be promoting the book at the Laredo Public Library during the upcoming Laredo Book Festival, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012.

For more information, contact Ferguson at cferguson@tamiu.edu, 326.2636 or visit office in Dr. F. M. Canseco Hall, room 302C.

University office hours are 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday – Thursday and 8 a.m. – noon, Friday.

Additional information is also available @txamiu on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and on the free TAMIU mobile phone and table application at tamiu.edu

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu