Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I write what I like to read.

By R.J Harlick

"Why do you write crime instead of another form of fiction, like science fiction, romance or general fiction?"

Because I like to kill people…..by pen, that is. Not really, though often when people ask me what I do for a living, I will reply that I kill people, which either grabs their attention or has them making a hasty retreat until I say, “by pen”.

But to answer the question on a more serious note, I write mysteries because I love to read them. I grew up devouring the books of Nancy Drew, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Sherlock Holms, Lord Peter Wimsey and the like. Even today, I still read more crime fiction than any other type. So when it came time to decide what kind of fiction I should write, it was a no brainer, mystery, of course.

I enjoy reading mysteries because of the puzzle. I like to test my wits to see if I can guess whodunit before he or she is revealed. So the more complicated the plot the better for me.  As a result I like to write mysteries that are also complicated with several subplots going on at the same time.

I also like to travel and have discovered that mystery books provide the perfect way to travel without leaving the comfort of my armchair. I’ve travelled to so many fascinating parts of the world and often will select a mystery book because of its location. Since there are so many fabulous wild places in Canada, I decided that I would give readers the Canadian wilderness experience with my Meg Harris mystery series

To tell the truth the killing part doesn’t so much intrigue me as the motivations behind murder. So I tend to enjoy those mysteries that explore the psychology behind committing the ultimate crime. I’m not talking about psychopaths, but ordinary people, like you or me, and what has happened in their lives to force them into murder. Needless to say, this is an area I like to explore in my own crime writing.

Lastly I read mysteries to learn something new. Not only does crime fiction take me to another place, but often it introduces me to different cultures and societies and the issues facing them in their daily lives.  This is one of the reasons for my choosing to have an underlying Native theme in my series. I wanted to bring their traditional ways alive to my readers and the issues facing them today.

My apologies for the delay in posting this today.  I’m afraid I got caught up in the revisions to my latest Meg Harris mystery, A Cold White Fear, and lost track of time.


Catherine Astolfo said...

I can empathize, Robin - that's exactly why I love to write crime, too. My shelves (and now my Kindle) are full of mysteries. Keep writing yours, they're in my collection for sure!

RJ Harlick said...

Thanks, Cathy. I think most of us write mysteries because we love reading them.

Paul D. Marks said...

I think you're right on, RJ. We write what we like to read. And we also do it because it allows us to travel and do things we might not be able to do in real life.