What I Love.

I think the best answer to ‘what shall I write’ is to write what you want to read.

For years I wrote ghost stories, and I loved ghost stories. But I have always loved crime stories and detective tales. One day I decided I was ready and sat down and wrote a detective story, and it’s been a bit of a success.

But I occasionally feel like I ought to write a non-genre book, that I should write about the human condition or something rather than a crime ( although I still think a crime displays the human condition more than anything else)

Some books I read feel forced. As if the writer is not writing what they want but what they feel they ought to write. They are writing to aim for a prize, or a label, or a review. But the books that are written because that’s what the author wants to read always seem to be more interesting.

I love the detective stories of the 30s. The authors themselves, Agatha Christie and Margery Allingham and Dorothy Sayers loved detective stories too, and it shows in their skill. And yet they were told they ought to write proper books. (One of them was even told this by their publisher, which doesn’t seem right). Sometimes they felt guilt at writing what they considered ‘trash’ and were convinced their detective books would not survive. And yet their non-detective stories feel awkward and forced. They lack the joy and sureness of touch of the detective tales.

So, I shall write what I enjoy. I shall not write what I feel I ought to write.


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