I’m pleased, proud and deeply honoured that Sarah (Jazzfeathers) who blogs at The Old Shelter has awarded Confessions of a Mystery Novelist… this lovely Liebster Blog Award!!! Isn’t it lovely! Thank you so much, Sarah!
Now, before I go any further, let me encourage you to visit The Old Shelter. You’ll find it a rich treasure trove of 1920s history, culture, literature and film, among other great things. It’s one of my must-visit blogs.
As a part of the award, Sarah’s posed 11 questions. Here they are, with my answers:
What is the one reason why you like an author so much that when a book of his/hers comes out you automatically buy it?
Paddy Richardson is one author whose work I automatically buy and read. That’s for a few reasons. For one, I especially like the way she develops her characters. So, when a new book comes out, I know I will ‘meet’ interesting people. For another, her plots are both suspenseful and realistic. So, I know I’ll be drawn in. And her writing style invites the reader (well, this one) to get lost in the story. There are other authors whose work I especially like, but that’s part of why Paddy Richardson is on my ‘auto-buy’ list.
Do you read in just your mother tongue?
I often read in my own language (English), but I also read in Spanish, and sometimes in Brazilian Portuguese. I’ve read in French, too.
Do you think reading in the language a story was written in is the best thing? If yes, why? If not, why?
To me, it’s very difficult to capture the subtle nuances of language. That’s why I have such a deep respect for translators, especially really talented ones. In general, I think it’s better to read a story in the language in which it was written if one can. There are so many subtleties that one catches doing it that way. But translations can be (and often are) excellent ways to discover an author. And I don’t know anyone who can speak all the languages in which fiction is written.
Do you read in a preferred genre? Which one? Why you prefer it?
My genre is crime fiction. The list of reasons I like it so well would take up far too much room on this one post. The whole of the human experience, really, can be found in crime fiction. And, if you think about, quite a lot of fiction, from Shakespeare and earlier to today, has crime in it. And there’s crime fiction from, virtually, all over the world. So, the genre offers priceless opportunities to explore other places and cultures. There are a lot of other reasons, too, for which I love the genre. Those are just a few…
Do you ever go exploring genres you don’t normally read?
Yes, I do. I especially like well-written historical fiction, but I’ve also read some science fiction and, of course, literary fiction. And a few novels you might call comic novels.
Have you ever been part of a reading group? If yes, how was the experience?
I had a wonderful experience as a part of the crime fiction book club, which was an international group of crime fiction lovers. We met monthly via Google Hangouts, and had a great time discussing different books we chose. The different viewpoints were really helpful to me, and I got to read plenty of books that I might not otherwise have chosen. I hope there’ll be something similar at some point in the future.
How do you feel about all the new formats available to readers?
I love it that reading is available in so many formats! We all read and learn and know differently. So, it makes complete sense to me that books should be available in different formats. It can be challenging as an author, since it means making sure your work’s available in formats that people want. But for me, it’s worth the effort.
I’ve met people who basically only read in one format (for example only ebooks) Do you? Would you?
No, not really. I read in different formats. For me, it allows for more flexibility. What’s more, it allows me to read the work of authors whose stories aren’t always available in, say, paper format.
Today, getting in touch with our favourite authors is a lot easier than before. Have you ever taken advantage of it?
I am very fortunate when it comes to that. Several authors whose work I really like have been kind enough to get in touch with me, and I am grateful for that. It shows me that writing is not a ‘zero sum game.’ Authors can help one another; and, I think, should do so.
Turning books into movies. This most upsetting practice.
To be honest, I’m a bit of a purist about film adaptations. To me, a film adaptation should be a faithful re-telling of the story in the novel. And there are some truly excellent examples out there. I have a real problem with adaptations that change fundamentals about the story, especially if the purpose is to add ‘thrills.’ So, I tend to be very cautious about seeing such films, particularly they are adaptations of books I’ve loved.
Would you ever write the novel you want to read?
Oh, I hope so! One important purpose of writing a novel is to invite people to read it and, hopefully, be drawn into it. If something I’m writing isn’t something I would want to read, why would I expect anyone else to want to read it? Admittedly, everyone’s taste is different. That said, though, I do think that’s a helpful question for authors to ask themselves: ‘Would I pick this up in a bookshop if someone else had written it?’
Thanks again, Sarah, for this award. Now, I’m supposed to pass this award on to eleven other blogs. But the problem is, there are too many excellent blogs out there for me to choose just eleven. So…Please feel free to grab this award for yourself if you’d like. You’ve earned it!
*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.