Why I write How I write
I've found that my writing tends to create strong reactions. People either love it or hate it. I have to say, while it would be nice to be all things to all people, I'm not unhappy to have my books be a catalyst for strong emotion. Because for me, that's the point.
When someone reads one of my books, I want them to have an experience. I want them, at the end of it, to have felt that something happened to them because they took the time to read what I wrote. I'm not talking about cheap thrills here. While I'm sure some will disagree (and there will always be disagreement, that's the way the arts cookie crumbles) I never include a disturbing moment simply to disturb. I include it because when I'm writing, I have a feeling for the book as a whole, for the experience I'm trying to create for the reader, and I've decided that it fits. I'm not interested in writing about murder or death or sexual abuse as a one dimensional, purely palatable experience. You should feel these things, in my opinion. Dead bodies stink. Abused children leave a dark hole in the world. Death is forever.
Melodramatic, maybe, but not dishonest. That's how I see it.
There is the other side, too. I want readers to experience the beauty when it exists. Good is as much a part of the experience as bad. I think you can have gratuitous sorrow in the same way as you can have gratuitous violence, or a propensity of too-happy endings. Love can be as thrilling as chasing a killer. Strong emotions have sharp edges and hard impacts, and I hope to have the reader feel them.
The above isn't what every reader wants from a book. It's not even always what I want from a book. But most of the time it is. I like being grabbed by the throat and taken for a ride. I don't mind if I end up with scabbed knees and a bump on that head that requires a few stitches. When I put down a book, I like to go "F**k Yeah!" (Come on now, sometimes it is the best way to say it.) I want to be wrenched and wrangled, I want tension in my stomach. If lovers are involved, I want to root for them, to have them be the wish fulfillment of us all.
Not much literature provides it all, and I'm not immodest enough to say that I provide it all, either. But it is what I intend. And it is what I am reaching for. And it is, in the end, why I write how I write. I hope to get there someday, or to at least achieve some really magnificent failures.
For all of those who read what I write, and encourage me, and send me the enthusiastic emails, I want you to know: I read them all and appreciate every one and every word. I'm not writing in a bell jar. I live to hear about people reading what I write. I like to hear about someone picking up one of my books at a garage sale for twenty five cents and not being able to stop reading it all weekend - because that's me, too! I've mined a lot of gold in used bookstores and library time and have picked up my share of novels at garage sales. When I was ten and we lived on top of a mountain in upstate New York, we lived in a rented house (the owner was producing a play off Broadway). The house was filled with books, mostly Science Fiction and Fantasy, and I read everything I could get my hands on. I'd crank up the space heater and read until the snow thawed.
I loved the writers who made that possible. I still do. To approach, however mildly, being a member of that same fraternity is a dream. So thanks for reading. I hope you keep doing so.