Last week, we wrote about Minotaur‘s promotional campaign for Evil at Heart, which involved sending mobile phones with text messages from Gretchen Lowell, the female serial killer who stars in Chelsea Cain‘s novels. A reader in Portland, Oregon, informed us that the model in the wanted poster that came with the cell phone was local musician Storm Large, and we decided to find out more.
“Storm and I were sitting across from one another at a charity event,” Cain emailed in response to our questions, “and she mentioned that she was a fan of Heartsick [the first book in the series] and in that moment I looked at her and was like, oh my God, she looks just like Gretchen. I’d seen her around—on TV and in photographs—but I’d never really looked at Storm up close until that moment. It was bizarre… I get asked all the time who I would cast as Gretchen, and I’m always at a loss. You have a character in your head, and no one really fits exactly, and at the same time everyone sort of fits. Then I saw Storm and she was Gretchen.” The author ended up arranging the entire photo shoot, hiring a photographer and stylist and picking out Large’s wardrobe herself. In addition to the wanted poster (which will be wheat pasted on the streets of Seattle and Portland), Large and Cain devised several poses for the official “I Heart Gretchen Lowell” website, which is mentioned throughout the novel.
“I had just finished Heartsick and was secretly fantasizing about playing Gretchen in whatever film, television or internet incarnation the story would become in its next life…so I was really excited when Chelsea said that,” Large concurred. “I love that Gretchen is so zen about murder. How the victim makes him or herself known to her, then a kind of seduction or dance begins with the inevitable gory terrible ending…she is a lovely and twisted woman.”
Cain also helped clear up our confusion about Gretchen Lowell’s age; as we noted in our original item, we’d always mentally pictured the character as at least five years older than she appeared to be in the poster. “Gretchen is 34 in the books, but they’ve never seen her birth certificate,” Cain explained, “so no one knows for sure, and I’ve always imagined that she is like Storm—forty maybe, but just really fucking hot.” And, she predicts, the creative partnership will continue: “I’d love to do more with Storm. She has a great idea for a Valentine’s Day card. It involves nudity and a whole lot of blood.”