The Best Feeling
People often ask me why I decided to write, and, to be honest, there are times I ask myself the same question. When it’s going well and the words tumble out of my fingers and onto the computer it’s the best feeling. The act of creativity is powerful and totally absorbing and I can’t think of anything I would rather do.
When it’s not going so well, it’s sticky and there are breaks, deletions and a whole lot of staring at the wall. But, I took early retirement from work to write, so I suck up the bad days and crack on. I always compare it to learning to play a sport or a musical instrument; there are geniuses who can do it all naturally with what seems like little effort, and then there are the rest of us, who don’t expect (or get) instant fame and fortune, but who expect (and get) to spend a long. long time learning and honing our writing craft. If that learning leads to publication and kind reviews, then all the effort is absolutely worthwhile. In fact it’s incredibly exciting to see your own book in print, and to know that people are reading and enjoying it – priceless.
As a child, I read my way through all the Greek and Roman myths. I loved the fantasy element of these powerful gods playing havoc on humanity. At the same time, my mother’s boss gave me the complete set of P G Wodehouse Wooster and Jeeves books, which introduced me to silliness, and the clever sidekick. I learned about story, about humour and character. In my teenage and early adult years I loved science fiction and fantasy, devouring HG Wells and John Wyndham, revelling in the fact that they made it all up. I read Asimov, Bradbury, and in fantasy, David Eddings, Raymond Feist (I doubt any series has bettered The Riftwar saga), Sherri S Tepper. I could go on, for a year or two probably. Later, in my thirties, I got into crime, and now I am a Scottish noir addict: Stuart MacBride, Pater May, Rankin, McDermid, love them all. Lee Child for a wonderful hero, J D Robb for a brilliant heroine, Kate Atkinson for Jackson Brodie. So, I guess that is why, when I finally sat down to write a novel, crime was the first genre I felt comfortable enough to have a go at, and Dan Hellier was born.
In fact, my comment about the early sci-fi writers is the key to the whole pleasure of writing for me. I get to sit in my room with a computer and make stuff up. I can create an evil baddie, and get my detective to destroy him in the end. I can search the area where I live for interesting crime scenes, and then just make it all up. After a lifetime of doing what other people told me to do, being quiet (tough), not letting my imagination run riot, sticking to the facts – it’s completely liberating!