Thursday, 28 April 2011


By Richard Jay Parker

Is it possible to know a writer too well? We're all familiar with authors we love, the subject matter they're most adept with and their own particular style but does it dent our reading experience to learn too much about them? Or even to know them personally?

One of the advantages of an author being a mysterious figure is that we don't know the ratio of material they've concocted and what they've actually experienced.

I've met a lot of authors through their work but when I read material by friends I know exactly if they've visited the places they're writing about and when they're using the licence of their imagination.

We don't all write about what we know and, particularly in crime and horror fiction, we want it to stay that way.

It doesn't ruin the reading experience but for me it is different to picking up a book by someone I know only by a jacket photo. For me I can't see the joins between them and the story they're telling.

But I have been captivated by lots of the books on my shelves written by people I know well which is probably the best endorsement for their writing.

Probably worth bearing in mind when you're tentatively passing your new project around. Friends are usually brutally honest so if you can elicit compliments from them you're probably on to a winner.

1 comment:

  1. I find that strangers are brutally honest about my work. With friends & family I can't really be sure if they are being kind. Fortunately my ratio of good to bad from strangers is about ten down to one.