Friday, 25 February 2011


By Richard Jay Parker

I signed a book for another police officer this week. Should I adopt the paranoia of my protagonist? Are they watching? I've already been accused of having a sick mind by another reader recently retired from Scotland Yard. Have I been earmarked?

The creativity of killers and criminals in contemporary fiction usually far outstrips anything you find in real life. It's a good job that writers aren't tempted to sample the exploits of their characters. They'd be damn good serial killers. This may well have happened but writers are writers because they respect the boundary of their imagination.

Authors very often go to a dark place to give their crime and thriller stories authenticity. Some do this in a very casual way - writing about murder and mayhem while juggling their domestic chores. Others inhabit their characters until the book is finished.

Method writing anyone? There's research - visiting locations, watching procedures, interviewing people relevant to the backdrop of your story. And there's research - immersing yourself in character and subject matter to such an extent that it monopolises your life even after the final chapter's been written.

Some writers get very depressed by the worlds they create and the hard-hitting crime and thriller genre is one that necessitates spending time with a lot of unpleasant subject matter.

A strange occupation. Which sort of people would want to put themselves through that?

Probably very similar to the millions of people who want to read about it.

Read a sample chapter of STOP ME at:


  1. I love this blog... all things that have crossed my mind as a huge mystery/thriller fan. Interesting how some people love a nice fillet mignon.. but are disgusted by/ignorant of/oblivious to the process that provides it.

  2. This is really interesting. I have experienced something similar. It is not the created world that haunts me. For me there is so much of me in my writing, and sometimes it is hard to deal with the emotions that come out. I went through a long period of time where I couldn't write because I thought I couldn't deal with the emotions at the time. I truly live what I write.

  3. Hi James,

    A good point. Everyone has their boundaries and, as a writer, you'll inevitably step over somebody's line. It's just a case of writing what you feel is relevant to your story.

    Thanks, Cindy. I do try to disconnect as soon as I turn off the computer but, as you'll probably appreciate, this is often easier said than done.