I get asked where my characters come from. My poor deranged head is the only real answer. Problem is, the next logical question is, "How the hell did they get there?"
Answer: In bits and strips.
Things people say. Stories in the news. Imagined outcomes when the real ending hasn't happened yet.
Now, I don't doubt whacko folk can be found pretty much anywhere. And I don't believe for a minute that you've got to go off the grid to find them. What's more, I'm pretty darn sure every last one of us has been certifiable at least once in our lifetimes, some of us (taking a bow, here) more often than we care to remember.
I like situating my extreme characters in a place I love: rural Ontario. It lends itself to living outside society's "accepted norms". Not because country life is unhinged. It's just separate. Writing about the backwoods keeps my scenery simple, but it's more than that. You see, things can happen off-road that might get noticed—and interfered with—if they happened smack downtown.
Like ice fishing.
I'm not saying it takes a whacko to sit on a lawnchair in the middle of winter waiting for fish to bite. But when I came across this video posted by fellow Ontarians . . . well, let's just say there's another bit and strip in there somewhere.