Please welcome David Grace as today’s Wednesday’s Guest. His approach to choosing what to write about sort of fits mine. In this era of “branding” it is recommended that a writer stick to one genre and one market, but I find that difficult. Story ideas just come to me, and it is hard to ignore them even if they don’t fit in the genre as my last book. Do you write for the marketplace or do you listen to your muse? Before we go on, just a reminder that my mystery, Boxes for Beds, is free through midnight tonight for Kindle and Kindle apps.
A friend of mine who has both a Ph.D. and a law degree loves a certain popular novelist’s books. It used to drive me crazy. I think this particular author is a bad writer whose books are trite, whose characters are two-dimensional and whose plots go beyond unbelievable and into the ridiculous. I used to mutter, “Mike, you’re such a smart, educated, sophisticated guy. How can you like this junk? I’d have a hard time reading this stupid book if you paid me.” But what could he say? He just liked it.
I don’t ask that question any more because I realize that people’s pleasures are generallyunrelated to their intellect. If they weren’t only morons would laugh at “The Three Stooges”.
What’s my point? Every writer starts with a blank page and has to decide what story to tell. I think success as a writer and, more importantly, gaining enjoyment from writing, requires that the author pick the right kind of stories for him/her. I have learned this the hard way.
At one time it seemed that serial killer books were popular so I decided to write a serial killer novel. This was logical and it was wrong. I picked a novel type based not on a story I wanted to tell but instead based on what I thought would be popular. The book turned out OK but today I would describe it as thoroughly mediocre.
A couple of times I’ve become intrigued with the idea of writing a thriller. The books were, again, OK but, I think, just OK. Whenever someone asks which of my novels they should read, I never recommend either of them.
Now I just write stories that I find emotional and exciting. I begin every book with the hope that at some point the story will bring some of my readers to tears. I want to tell stories that I find exciting and emotional and that say something about people’s humanity and inhumanity.
I don’t know how to put that into a searchable key word. I can’t categorize or demographically predict who will like my books. I do know that I plan to never again pick a story based on what seems to be popular. Now I just try to figure out a story that I find emotional and exciting and hope that a few other people stumble across it who feel the same way.
Veteran Homicide Detective James “Big Jim” Donegan and his partner, Chris Hunter, have been called to the scene of their latest case, a strangled call girl who has been put halfway through a wood chipper that was left unattended in one of the city’s parks.
Since he was eight years old Chris Hunter has looked up to Big Jim as a father-figure and a mentor. Today Big Jim intends to use this case, like every other crime that they have worked together, as an opportunity to teach the technically brilliant but socially awkward Hunter how to be a great cop. The training, like the work, is endless. Big Jim and Chris know that they have chosen a career that is never finished, that never stops, that death never sleeps.
Hunter is doing his best to understand how people work and how to succeed on the Murder Police but the work gets harder when two more murders, one new and one old, are added to his caseload. Of course, Chris Hunter wants to solve these crimes to bring the criminals to justice but even more than that he wants to solve them to make Big Jim proud.
David Grace is the author of 14 novels; five collections of science fiction short stories; two collections of crime short stories. His short fiction has been published in Analog Magazine and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. He has also penned eleven screenplays and shared story credit for the “Outer Limits’ Joyride” episode. An attorney, David is licensed to practice law in courts in the State of California and before the Supreme Court of the United States.