If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our August interviews feature: Shawn Reilly Simmons on August 10th, James Jackson, August 17th, Julia Buckley, August 24th, and Dawn Eastman on August 31st

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 8/6 Luke Murphy, 8/13 Stan Jones, and our Saturday Bloggers--8/20 Margaret S. Hamilton, 8/27 Kait Carson.

Warren Bull has two short stories, "A Christmas Journey" and "Killer Eulogy" in the Darkhouse anthology titled Black Coffee. Available--Now! Warren's short story collection No Happy Endings is also available at Amazon in paper or Amazon for Kindle.

Jim Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available for pre-order.

KM Rockwood's Abductions and Lies, the 6th in the Jesse Damon Crime Novel series, will be released in April. "Last Laugh," a short story in the anthology Black Coffee is available on Amazon. "Tarnished Hope," a short story in Murder Most Conventional, sponsored by Malice Domestic, April 29, at the conference. "Frozen Assets," a short story in Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning, release date May 14th (an anthology compiled by Chessie Chapter of SINC)

Gloria Alden released the seventh book in her Catherine Jewell mystery series, Blood Red Poinsettias, which is available at Amazon. Congratulations, Gloria.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Endings Can Be Better than Expected

No torture of children or animals, that is a frequent rule magazine publishers state in their submission guidelines. I don’t want to peer into the minds of child molesters as they commit their crimes. I don’t want to learn a sympathetic understanding of parents who consistently neglect and beat their children, as I’ve seen more than enough of that in my work as an RN.

However, we have an Amber Alert in this country for a reason. I’d thought crimes against children were under-reported. When the clergy sex scandal broke, the number of such crimes was staggering. Runaway teens or even teens who are lost are in serious danger of being forced into prostitution and drug addiction.

Fiction doesn’t seek to educate. Its primary goal is to entertain. How can crimes against children be entertaining?

As well as being entertained, I want to know how characters react in different situations, including distasteful ones. I want to take the same trip authors take as they explore characters who’ve survived stress and shock. I want the characters and situations to tie into the society in which I live. I don’t believe novels that explore the subsequent lives of traumatized children are always cathartic outpourings of survivors of such trauma.

Amy McKinnon’s TETHERED, Dennis Lehane’s MYSTIC RIVER, and Laura Lippman’s WHAT THE DEAD KNOW take the reader into the minds of adults who suffered as children. I can believe traumatized children don’t always repeat the abuse they suffered. Perhaps the suspicion that they might makes them hide their pain and the more fortunate shun them.

I wouldn’t necessarily pick up these books or books with a similar subject matter before my flight in economy class. There’s no shortage of books with lighter subject matter in the airport book store so I’m not forced to deal with difficult social issues.

It’s interesting that children and animals are grouped together. Both lack many legal rights and they don’t vote. Naturally, publishers can make whatever rules they wish about what they are willing to publish and I respect that. Not all readers are looking all the time for a constant diet of characters functioning in bubbles of security who never challenge what we thought we knew about the world and our neighbors.

What do you think about novels that cover difficult subject matter?

5 comments:

Polly said...

I write about tough subject matter, and that's what I choose when I pick up a book to read. I've read two of the three books you mentioned. You're right, though. If that type of book bothers you, there are plenty of others to choose from. Frankly, I don't read cozies. Rarely does the main character's meddling involvement in solving the crime ring true to me. I much prefer a dark police procedural, thriller, or psychological suspense to a contrived amateur sleuth plot.

Ramona said...

Pauline, I think one of the functions of art is to address the painful parts of life. My personal preferences keep me from books (movies, TV) with graphic violence, but tough subject matter is not a deal breaker. I love psychological suspense--what's left to the imagination is often much scarier than what's written or shown.

Good post. Ignoring the bad stuff doesn't make it disappear. It's only natural people want to write about it.

Pauline Alldred said...

I'm going to pick up one of your books, Polly. Readers need a choice. That's the whole point.

Pauline

Pauline Alldred said...

Thanks for the comment, Ramona. I believe all characters deserve a voice even if they haven't led normal happy lives, especially if they haven't lead normal, happy lives. Unfortunately, not even the most prolific writer can cover all of society's characters.

Pauline

Polly said...

I wish you could pick up one of my books, Pauline. Maybe one day some smart publisher will sign me up.

By the way, my real name is Pauline. Not many of us around.