I never used to read crime or thrillers, as a rule. It just wasn’t a genre that appealed to me. It just goes to show that, despite the fact that I consider myself to be fairly widely read and open-minded, I can still be quite dismissive when it comes to what I choose to read.
However, that changed last year when I became friends with fellow writer Mel Sherratt. We met for the first time over coffee (a sort of blind date, an odd and funny anecdote in itself as I spent ten minutes staring at a woman in the coffee shop and wondering whether to go and introduce myself, only to discover that it wasn’t her at all). Mel is fast becoming something of a local celebrity in my city. She writes gritty psychological thrillers and her debut self-published novel, Taunting the Dead, a police procedural, sold by the proverbial bucketload. She introduced me not only to the fun of self-publishing, but also to a genre that I never thought I’d find myself reading. Since then, I’ve read all her books and the books of other writers I’ve met through her and enjoyed them all. I was so wrong about this genre. I’d always assumed that all books in this genre were written without any sort of literary flair. In fact, way back when, I’d probably read a few like that and, perhaps, that’s why I had left the genre behind. But picking them up again, I’ve realised that there are some amazing writers working in this genre. I recently began Pariah by David Jackson and it contains one of the most stunning opening paragraphs I’ve ever read. I’ve even beta read a manuscript by a very good friend with one of the most gripping story lines and engaging protagonists that I’ve seen in a long time and I’m hoping that she’ll publish this very soon (you know who you are!).
I’ve made a lot of writer friends from this genre and discovered a whole new world. I’ve been exposed to new and exciting influences on my own writing, so much so that my NA WIP now contains a serial killer (yeah, don’t get too excited… we’ll see if that ever pans out!). But every new idea and direction can only help to diversify what I write and make it richer. Which has to be a good thing.