Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Why I Enjoy Writing Genre Fiction

I'm currently working on the fourth Donaghue and Stainer crime fiction novel, The Rainy Day Killer, so I thought it would be a good time to discuss why I enjoy writing and why I chose to write genre fiction.

When I was a kid, I was a book reader and a daydreamer. I devoured every juvenile novel the library had on their shelves back then, and I always wanted to be able to tell the same kind of stories myself. Science fiction, sports, historical fiction, you name it. I wrote literary fiction for a while in the 80s, mostly short stories, and sold a few to periodicals such as Fiddlehead and Quarry, but once I went back to work full time with Customs I had to set the writing aside until I was able to take early retirement. By that time, Donaghue and Stainer were ready to burst out onto the scene.

The crime fiction genre interests me because I’ve always been a sucker for a good story. The power of narrative over us as human beings is remarkable, and in genre fiction a strong story is very important. As a crime fiction author, I have an opportunity to use the power of narrative to grab my readers’ attention and move them forward through my story. Once I have them, crime fiction allows me the opportunity to work with certain themes more freely than other types of fiction might allow. Themes relating to our search for justice as a society, the need to explain the existence of evil in the world, and the toll that a career investigating violent crime can take on a person are among those that I've explored.

For those who are new to my blog, the Donaghue and Stainer series is set in the fictional city of Glendale, Maryland, and focuses on the homicide investigations of Lieutenant Hank Donaghue and Detective Karen Stainer. They come from very different backgrounds, and their approaches to investigation and enforcement are at times very different. Donaghue tends to intellectualize, while Stainer is more of a butt-kicker. As the series progresses, they grow closer (as friends and co-workers, but with no romantic interest in one another), and the reader sees why law enforcement officers often bond together for mutual support and protection.

My latest novel presents a few challenges to me: for the first time, I'm writing about a serial killer and I'm doing a great deal of research to ensure that the portrayal is realistic. And because Karen will be marrying her fiancé Sandy in this novel, I've also had to research and plan a wedding!

I'll keep you posted on how it's going. . .

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