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      Summer Supporter Giveaway   08/31/2020

      Going on a Summer Holiday (Sort Of...)     The summer giveaway for Patreon supporters is finally here and this time we're doing something a little bit different. I want supporters to tell me where you would go on holiday, if you could go anywhere. The winner will receive a bookish prize based on their answer!   Terms and conditions are as usual. Patreon supporters will be automatically entered into the giveaway and selected at random. As we're a little late this year the draw will be held on the second weekend of September. If you aren't currently a supporter but want to be involved in the giveaway you can sign up to support us here:   https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum  
Michelle

Questions for authors

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I'll read anything that takes my fancy but have an abiding interest in American literature. In my own novels, my detective DI Damen Brook is usually fending off some level of existential crisis, not unnaturally given the job he does and the things he's seen. There are no bigger questions for me than why are we here and what should we do with our brief lives and novels like Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen and Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe tackle these conundrums head on. These are big sweeping novels tackling the big themes that I love. I also have a tendency to veer towards foreign writers as a form of armchair tourism having not travelled nearly enough in my own life. America is a fascinating melting pot of contrasts and I never tire of reading about it.

 

In crime, the writers I like best are ones that take me to their country and show me round. Connelly, Mankell, Larsson and the daddy of them all, Thomas Harris to name but a few.

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Here's a question from one author to the others.  If you didn't write crime what sort of books would you write?  Is there another genre you'd like to work in?

Answering for myself I'd love to write a children's book someday and I'd like to write science fiction/fantasy too which is what I wrote when I first started out.

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Great question, and apologies for not contributing much until now – I've been balancing a heavy workload and a child with seemingly interminable flu....

 

I have written and illustrated two children's books, but they never got published because they were deemed too dark. It was before I started writing dark and twisted adult novels... I'd love to write YA, and think one day I might give it a go – I do like to read good YA, and it's a genre where you can really tap into a reader's imagination where perhaps you might hold back a bit if you were writing for adults. I'd also like to write a really, really good love story, but I fear the protagonists would, behind my back, start doing horrible things to each other....

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Oh and the best first line ever for me is Kafka's Metamorphosis: 

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.

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And have you played the first sentence game? Group of friends, pile of books, pens and paper each. One person chooses a book and reads the title and the back blurb, then everyone writes what they imagine the first sentence to be - only the chooser writes the actual first sentence. Chooser gathers the pieces together and reads them out. You score if your fake first sentence is chosen. Chooser scores if real first sentence is chosen.

Hours of fun. Works well with wine.

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Literary Fiction, no doubt. Something pretentious with no plot demands that just fizzles out and I can take 5 years between books.

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Me too - I'm currently reading George's Marvellous Medicine to my daughter, which I hadn't read before. It's quite dark (and very funny) but I'm not sure there is much being written now that is similar. Definite gap in the market.

Edited by ian

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I'd heard he had written something, but I haven't checked it out (yet). I will do - thanks.

 

Sorry - I appear to have steered this thread off-topic a little!

 

So  a question of my own.

 

I occasionally write short stories of my own, just for my own enjoyment - I wouldn't consider trying to get published. I find that my own writing style changes depending on the writing style that I've been reading lately. Do you find it difficult not to be influenced by the books that you are reading? Also, when a sub-genre suddenly becomes popular, do publishers put pressure on writers to turn out something similar? I'm thinking of all the "Davinci Code" type thrillers that suddenly hit the shelves after that became so popular, or even the "fifty shades" type books.

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I'm not prepared to stop reading while I'm writing as I'm addicted to books so I think I've got used to not letting what I read seep into my own prose style.  As for your second question, I've not had that sort of pressure from publishers but I did once briefly have an agent who wasn't keen on the book I was trying to get published and basically suggested I go off and write a 'big thriller' that she could sell.  We parted company.  When you think about it, it might take a year to write a book and a year to publish it so by the time that's done the trend might be done and dusted.

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What would I write if it wasn't crime? Hmm, I also have thought about YA... probably having three kids inspired that somewhere along the way. I'd really like to give it a go someday. Years ago, when I was a kid then through my teens, twenties and part of my thirties, I used to write a lot of (pretty bad) horror. Would love to give that another go seriously. I remember freaking myself out writing it. And like Julia, I occasionally have desires to write some kind of romance, but fear I may also make despicable and very unromantic things happen to my characters. Crime is perfect for me!

 

Ian, I don't find I'm really influenced by what I'm reading when I'm writing. I know some writers do steer away from reading when they're in writing mode for fear of falling into another style, but like Cath, I find it pretty easy to keep the two separate. When I read, I read for enjoyment, not to compare or copy in any way. Of course, when you pick up a really good book, it's hard not to think 'Wow, I wish I'd written that', but that's aspirational really, which is healthy I reckon.

 

I've not had any pressure to change what I'm writing because of a new genre-fad. I think that may be more a case of publishers on the look out for 'more of the same' by new writers if a genre is doing particularly well, or even re-branding existing authors in that area with covers and new marketing etc.

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How about crime for the YA market - would that work?

Defiinitely! Not sure I'd be able to keep the crimes out whatever I wrote! It's finding the time that's the problem...

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