When the two old friends reunited, they decided to accomplish a long-lost goal. They wanted to kill people. Not literally, of course. Just in the world of fiction.
Beaufort residents Cyndi Williams Barnier and Jack Gannon renewed their friendship after about 30 years and almost immediately got to writing. The result is "Murder in Twos and Threes," a thriller that lets loose a serial killer in Richmond, Va.
Barnier and Gannon explain how similar minds produce serial killers.
Question. When did you guys first meet?
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Jack: 1977. We were actually best friends at Beaufort High School. So from '77 until the end of the '79 school year, every day we talked about writing. We shared story ideas, poetry, anything. We talked about becoming authors. We graduated. And didn't see each other until last year.
Cyndi: I saw him posting on a mutual friend's Facebook page. I wondered if that was the same Jack. Sure enough, it was him.
Jack: A few weeks later we got back together face to face and the first question was, "Whatever happened to that book you were going to write?"
Q. Describe "Murder in Twos and Threes."
Cyndi: It's a task force novel series. It's a series of books about the best of the best of the military, put together by the government to fight the crime no one else can solve.
Jack: All covert, under the radar. It's all set in real time. We incorporated events that actually happened, implying that our covert agents had a hand in it.
Cyndi: The title is pretty literal. He murders in twos and threes. He gets the name the "Biblical Bomber" because of that. We did a lot of research into studies about psychopaths to make him more believable.
Q. Did you do much writing before?
Jack: I was (at The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette) for a quarter-century, and Cyndi was in emergency management. When we reached the retired world, we realized we had ideas. And that's what happens. You just start putting story ideas on paper. We found the stories started to intertwine, and we went from there.
Q. What was it like to write with another person?
Jack: We developed a very good fighting style (laughs). It actually works because when one is writing, it's from a singular perspective. With this back and forth it actually works better. When you read the book you can't tell who wrote what. And that's because of the constant discussion about characters, scenes, plot points.
Q. And you still get along after all this?
Cyndi: We just picked up where we left off in high school.
Jack: In fact, some of the characters are the same that we talked about in high school.