There’s enough misery in the world without me adding to it.
That’s why I like to escape into a fictional world. If I want gritty realism and the worst humanity has to offer, I can watch the news or a hard-hitting documentary or drama. When I’m reading, I want to be entertained with a great story, filled with engaging characters, an exciting and twisting plot and a healthy dose of humour.
Yes, I know people can be inhuman and commit barbaric acts. All I’m saying is that I don’t want any of this in the books I read or the dramas I watch on TV. They’re no substitute for a great story.
I’m not looking for some rose-coloured perfect world where everyone is nice to each other. That would be dull. But you can have suspense, tension, intrigue and conflict without graphic descriptions and bone-crunching violence.
And as for sex scenes – I suspect most people’s imaginations can do better.
To those who believe we need to confront the horrors of our times, to expose the cruelty and inhumanity that exists, I agree. But treat the readers and viewers with some respect. Most of us can imagine and empathise. We don’t need to be shocked or won over with graphic detail.
We don’t need to be spoon-fed the horror in bite-sized chunks till we feel sick.
Having said all that, you may wonder why I write crime fiction. After all, there’s nothing pleasant or enjoyable about murder or any serious crime. Loved ones are hurt, lives are changed forever, society feels threatened.
But crime fiction is about the fight for justice, the battle between the police and the clever killer, the satisfaction of solving the crime. Like any book or drama, you learn about people, about settings, about issues that matter. You see the best and worst of people, but safely, in the pages of a book.
Like any book, a crime novel tells you about the world it inhabits and the world around you. Some authors strive to get into the minds of killers and rapists, to understand what turned them into what they are.
And some authors simply want to entertain you, to take you away and give you a break from reality for a short while.
That’s why I write murder mysteries. I know people swear, but it doesn’t mean my characters have to. I know people can inflict horrendous cruelty on others. It doesn’t mean I have to describe it in great detail.
I want to entertain readers, to surprise them not shock them, to intrigue and baffle them as they try to work out the identity of the killer. I want to show them new worlds and different perspectives without making their stomachs turn. I want to laugh, cry, and feel part of the stories, all in a realistic, if fictional world.
Agatha Christie, Colin Dexter, Dick Francis and the like entertained and thrilled readers the world over with clever plots, cunning twists and turns, memorable characters and good writing. They are my role models. They set the benchmark I aspire to with crime writing.
The first in the series, No Accident, is currently on offer for only 99p on Amazon Kindle – less than a cup of tea on the High Street.
If you know anyone who enjoys a whodunit, then please share this post and let them know.
The fourth Kent Fisher murder mystery, No More Lies, is currently my January challenge.
It’s no secret that I’ve struggled to write the first draft of this story, but that’s a tale for another post. As 2018 came to an end, I knew I had to get my act together. So I set myself a challenge for complete the first draft by the end of January.
After a tiring third week, where I wrote over 12,000 words, I’m fast approaching the climax of the story and aim to write it this week. I’ve crashed past 90,000 words and the pace is picking up nicely as Kent Fisher starts to solve the mysterious cold case that’s left the police baffled for so long.
But you know it’s not going to be that simple.
Something for the weekend
How about a little escapism with Billy Howard’s King of the Cops? Enjoy!