Indie Spotlight – Mystery Writer Sharlene Almond

Annabella Cordova quickly becomes embroiled in the conspiracy involving the university she studies at. Her life is turned into chaos when her friend disappears, seven days later a gruesome package is delivered to Andres Valero; the troubled detective, returning from forced leave, only to be faced with horrific crimes that brings his memories to the surface. 

Annabella’s past collides with her present, a traumatic childhood event leaving her deaf and without both of her parents. Her ability to read facial and body language in people leads her to discover parallels from an earlier century.

Initiated to Kill takes the reader back in time to the 19th century; creating a psychological profile of the serial killer that wanders the London streets, his paintings depicting crimes only seen by a killer’s eyes. 

Annabella  and Andres combined must stop this person at any cost, and reveal a conspiracy hidden for centuries.

Unveiling the Mystery of Body Language

I have always been intrigued by the interpretation of facial expressions and body language. The TV series “Lie to Me” increased the popularity of learning more about this interesting subject.

The incentive for me to finally decide to study Body Language came when I wrote my first novel, Initiated to Kill. My main character, Annabella Cordova is deaf, so fully understanding how body language could be read and interpreted was essential to me; as I wanted my novel to be an authentic as possible. I immersed myself into the fascinating and complicated world of Body Language.

One of the key things to remember when writing or reading a person’s body language is that it is not what they reveal in their baseline behaviour, but the change from that behaviour to something quite different.

Armed with a diploma in body language, people tend to ask me “what is my body language saying to you now?”

They might cross their arms, or do something fairly common like that, then want me to basically give them a run-down on what that body language is revealing.

However, it doesn’t work like that. A lot of people think that by crossing their arms they are being defensive or closed off, and yes, that might be true.

That doesn’t really tell me much. Instead, it’s watching people that change from one behaviour to another that exposes what is actually going on.

That is why people in law enforcement talk so much about establishing baseline behaviour. It is crucial at any point if you’re wanting to find out if someone is lying or omitting something, that their baseline behaviour is first established. That way, when you go to the line of questioning you really want to address, you can immediately see a change of behaviour; and that’s what really gives it away.

Now, some people may ask, “well, if it’s that clear cut, then why doesn’t law enforcement immediately know if someone is guilty?”

Unfortunately, body language isn’t an exact science. Although, much can be revealed, people may still not know why that change occurred. But it can give an inkling that they need to dig further into that line of questioning.

So, how important is it to know more about body language? Well, 38% comes from vocal tone, while 55% comes from body language. It is even thought that at around 90% of our communication to others is through our body language, without even consciously knowing we are doing it.

People tend to look for exaggerated displays of body language, but often, it is the subtle displays that are truly revealing.

Body language in relationships can even divulge what the other person is feeling. It may seem out of nowhere, your partner suddenly wants to end the relationship, while you didn’t even think there was a problem with the relationship.

Think about it. Was your partner withdrawing? Was your partner sleeping further away from you, or being less affectionate? Did they sit on another chair instead of being close to you? Has intimacy seem to have gone out the window?

Although very subtle signs, they are also very telling, revealing that inwardly your partner is withdrawing; thus, revealing in the increase of the distance between you. However, if this is recognised early on, you can then try to make changes to help the relationship, or at least be prepared for when the relationship is over.

In a dating situation, does the other person lean closer toward you when you speak? Are their hands on the table close to yours, or in their lap? Do their eyes dart around the room, or mainly stay focused on you? What about their feet? Are their feet pointed straight ahead towards you, or in another direction?

No matter how insignificant it may seem, never underestimate the small changes, words are only a very minor part of the overall picture.

Just by looking in one direction it can reveal someone is telling the truth, while another direction they are thinking up a story. Every little bit contributes to the overall picture.

These aspects are important to consider when including body language in your writing. The more you understand how it works, the easier it will be to write a realistic portrayal of a witness, victim, cop or perpetrator.

And what may surprise many people, is that body language experts believe that the legs and feet are considered more accurate communicators than the face.

Think about it. What is your body language saying about you?

Sharlene Almond has a diploma in Body Language and Criminology, enabling her to explicitly portray her characters. Living in Auckland, New Zealand with her two dogs and partner. Currently, she is working on an advice monthly newsletter to encompass all of my training – Body, Mind and Writing Newsletter. Her education in Cognitive Behavioural therapy, Freelance Journalism, and Editing give her the ability to better understand the human mind and to write about it in a comprehensive manner.

To learn more about Sharlene, visit her blog and follow her on Google Plus and Pinterest .

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