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Slayton sisters come together to publish ongoing book series

The first two books in the "Serial Killer Eyes" series are out now.

This multi-book series follows Santee Smith, a young woman with strange gifts and a painful past.
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SLAYTON — Writing a book can be a daunting task, but for Slayton sisters Verla Gayle Stoffel, 74, and Vicki Lynn Stoffel, 68, it’s one they’ve tackled together in order to put their series “Serial Killer Eyes” on the market.

Written under the name Gayle Lynn — a combination of the sisters’ names — the first Serial Killer Eyes book was published in July 2021.

“Vicki has been writing just about her entire life,” Verla explained. “When she was a kid, she would sit there and rewrite the scripts for her favorite television shows or she would write up new stories for them.”

Vicki’s love of writing carried her into the 1980s, her sister noted, and she completed several novels. However, without an agent, it was a struggle to get published.

It wasn’t until three years ago, when a neighbor introduced the sisters to the idea of independent publishing, that Vicki and Verla decided to give it another try — this time with an idea Vicki had contemplated for quite some time.


And thus, “Serial Killer Eyes” was born.

The series follows Santee Smith, a young woman with a painful past and a strange set of gifts, as she attempts to navigate life. The series starts out on a South Dakota ranch as Smith rediscovers her love and connection with animals, as well as the people around her.

The first two books in the series are available now, with the third — “Serial Killer Eyes: Vengence” — sent off to the publisher earlier this month.

It’s a long process for the sisters, especially since the first two books were written in longhand by Vicki, and retyped by Verla.

“It was so hard to read,” Verla said with a laugh. “(Vicki) would edit text as she wrote, so the page is covered with arrows and notes, saying ‘put this three pages down and follow the red line to where I have the star,’ and I’d have to go back and figure it out.”

After a lot of coaxing, Verla convinced her sister to make the switch to a computer. Vicki writes, and Verla handles preliminary proofreading and editing, before sending the finished work off to the publisher.

Verla also handles much of the research that goes into Vicki’s writing, as well as all of the public relations for the books. The “Serial Killer Eyes” series has sprawled into nine complete books, with a 10th in the works. That means lots of writing for Vicki, and meticulous notes by Verla to keep track of characters, plots and other details.

“It’s been a lot of learning by just going through the process,” Verla said.


For all the bumps in the road, Vicki and Verla have enjoyed their successes. With the launch of their second book, “Serial Killer Eyes: The Return”, a book signing event was held at the Nobles County Library in Adrian.

“It was a fun way to kind of break-in, since we both graduated from Adrian,” Verla said. The sisters have made their rounds in Minnesota schools, with Verla spending 34 years working in the Tracy school district as a special education instructor, while Vicki worked as a substitute teacher. “It was so nice to be back in familiar territory.”

Friends and fans of the series attended the event, which was a welcomed experience for the sisters. While Verla said they’d be happy to do another in the future, their books keep them plenty busy in the meantime.

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Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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