Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Why...or why not? by Cathy Ace

Craft - We all write the kind of novels we want to write. What kind of novel would you never write?

This is going to be a looooong list! I honestly don’t think I could write literary, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, or erotic…so I’m pretty much left with “crime”. 

Even within my chosen sub-genre I don’t think that legal, forensic, procedural, military, global, scientific, historical or action thrillers are within my wheelhouse either. So I suppose I’m left with traditional, cozy, psychological and suspense...and twisty! All of which I have written. I'll admit to two procedural novellas too, but that's all!

Now I have to ask, and therefore answer, the critical question – why, or why not?

I think it all comes back to the fact that I try write the kinds of novels I like to read and, whilst I have read all of the above list of “not for author me” types of books, and have enjoyed many of them, all I could do while reading them was spot what I didn’t want to to do be able to write a good book of that type.

I don’t want this blog to become a moaning critique of all the reasons why I don’t “find the idea appealing” to write certain types of books, because I’m as happy to sit down with a historical global action thriller based upon a medico-scientific premise that’s led to a dystopian vision of the world as the next person. But…I don’t want to do the research and world-building that would be needed to be able to write one. 

I feel I want to be able to specifically draw on my experiences of life when I write. Luckily for me (and maybe my readers?) I’ve lived what some might call “a fairly colorful life”, and – upon reflection – there are certainly elements of my list of “no thanks” that appear across my books.

Cait Morgan has visited places where I have lived or worked, and which I know intimately. I wanted to be able to write books set in many countries around the world, and to examine different cultures, but to try to not appropriate any of those cultures. I hope that having Cait always be a “visitor” allows me to do this. And I gave her a late-in-life relationship to deal with, as I myself experienced. 

The women of the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries also inhabit a world of which I have real experience (yes, even Henry Devereaux Twyst, the eighteenth duke of Chellingworth, is based upon an ex-boyfriend…but I can’t tell you who, because I could end up in The Tower!) but the books also allowed me to portray the way people from the four Home Nations of the United Kingdom live and work together, without the apparition of Brexit hanging over them – hence “cozy”, because it’s so far from the reality of life in Wales and the “UK” at the moment. Another thing – the main characters are all female, and I wanted to explore how a group of disparate women can and do work well together as a supportive team.

The Wrong Boy (publication date January 9th 2019) reflects life in Wales (still without the Brexit issues) in part in the way I know it – though it’s not a national history, so you’ll only get a few drops of the entire flavor of the Wales of today, and yesterday. The book’s allowed me to examine some of the themes of my life, by giving those themes to others to deal with. I can’t say more than that, sorry, because of spoilers…I suppose you’ll have to read the book for yourself and try to work out what on earth my life’s been like. (Wink, wink!)

All that being said, there’s a great deal more I could (and might) write, that differs somewhat to the places (physical and psychological) I’ve taken readers to to date. Maybe I’ll get to it, one day.

I'd be honoured if you'd consider reading my work:



Dietrich Kalteis said...

Good post, Cathy. I agree, you can only write what inspires you to do so.

Cathy Ace said...

Thanks :-)