|With my first contract, and the "memento"|
Okay – I’m going to give one of my “No, but yes” answers to the first part of this question. What do I mean? If I have a choice I don’t read other mysteries when I’m writing, but sometimes I have to, so I do. If I’m due to participate in or moderate a panel during writing (vs editing) times of the year I have to read the books of other panel members…and I’m pleased to say I thoroughly enjoy that indulgence! However, I usually choose not to, for no other reason than that I’m likely to be too far submerged in my own work to surface and connect with that of others.
Do I choose to not read mysteries when I’m writing because I fear it will affect my own voice? No, not really. Sometimes I happen upon a sentence or turn of phrase (or an entire premise and story) that makes me want to spit nails and cry “Damn you!” at a fellow author who has done something so well I just want to throw my hands in the air and give up writing altogether...but I can only hope that doesn’t happen too often.
My happiest reading times are when I take breaks from writing and editing (usually 3 x two weeks during the year) and I get to read for pure enjoyment and make a bit of a dent in my TBR pile. That’s when I gobble up mysteries and am my true reading-self. Like most writers (I believe) I am first and foremost a reader. During these periods I find I’m able to truly connect with what other writers are creating, and I do my best to read like a reader not like a writer, so my enjoyment is closer to that which I have felt my whole life.
|In memory of Dad|
|Mum and Dad visiting me in Canada 2003|