|Although Karin Slaughter's books consistently include grisly murders or other serious crimes, she dislikes being categorized. "I'm sold as a literary writer in Holland; I'm sold as crime fiction in England; and a thriller [author] here [in the U.S.]," she once told a reporter. "I think of it as just literature. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD--that's crime fiction. That's a murder story. . . . OLIVER TWIST. What's more violent than a bludgeoned prostitute? A lot of novels use crime as a stepping stone to talk about greater issues. So I just think of myself as a writer." Slaughter was born in Covington, a small town in Georgia. She knew from an early age that she wanted to be an author, but after graduating from Georgia State University, she embarked on a series of steadier and more practical jobs; at one point she operated her own sign-manufacturing company. She wrote in her free time, however, and after a few years she had completed a manuscript she felt was good enough to show to an agent. Her debut novel, BLINDSIGHTED, was published in 2001 and featured Grant County medical examiner Sara Linton and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, now popular recurring characters. The book, like many of her subsequent novels, landed on the bestseller list and was also nominated for a Crime Writers Association Dagger Award. In addition to Linton and Tolliver, her other series protagonists include Will Trent, a special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The aptly named Slaughter has explained that Trent's jurisdiction includes the entire state, "which broadens [my] victim pool to almost ten million people."