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

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.


Monday, July 14, 2014

The Lure of Fiction

My agent would like me to write a memoir. Lately, I’ve been considering it—how I would go about it, what I would start with, which narrative elements I would emphasize, what theme(s) I would use to guide me into and out of the story. It can be exciting to think about the materials of my life from outside as the materials from which to build a narrative.

Soon, however, I have a fascinating character approach me seductively or an unusual situation or background catches my interest, and I’m adding notes to the long, long list of the stories and novels I want to write. As I read it over, I realize I’m unlikely to ever live long enough to write all of these, and I find my interest in the memoir withering.

Fiction wins out again. Because it is a superb thrill to successfully bring to life a character who’s never existed before. Because I want to explore certain backgrounds and themes. Because I love to inhabit a world that lives only in my imagination until I magically make it real on the page. Because life is short and the stories I want to tell are neverending.

I understand that good memoirs are in great demand right now. I understand that, if I wrote a memoir, it would receive more serious critical attention than a mystery or fantasy or historical novel or any mashup of those three genres would. I understand that I can probably command more money for a memoir, sell more of them, and make more money in royalties. These are all good reasons for writing one.

Still, the ideas for people and places and situations well up, and I add them to that lengthy list. I realize that, if I want to try to write even the majority of these ideas for books, I’d better begin now and work like a stevedore. So I set aside the memoir and look at my list and see two ideas/characters/situations that could be combined, and enthusiasm and excitement sweep over me.

What is this lure of fiction? Do you also find yourself seduced by your own desire to create people and a world for them to live in?


James Montgomery Jackson said...

My first published book was nonfiction. I too have many stories I want to tell (or learn from as I write them), but they don’t draw me any more deeply than nonfiction ideas. The attractions are different, but at any given point, if the strongest concept was nonfiction, that’s where I would go.

~ Jim

Anonymous said...

Linda, I planned to write a memoir of my oldest son's death and my path towards overcoming the almost debilitating grief. I even started it as "Letters to John." It was to be a help to others who had lost a child to show that there can and will be a happy life ahead. However, it was years later and although the loss of a child is always a part of a person, it doesn't have to be the only memory, and for me, I didn't want to spend time reliving that period and also, I didn't want to be writing about what my other children were going through at that time, either. It wasn't fair to them, but to write that memoir, they would have had to be included.

So since writing had become so important to me after I started college after John's death, I turned to fiction and can't imagine not creating characters and places. I have so many stories to tell, so many people to create in my fictions. But I haven't totally let go of that period of my life, either, because the protagonist in my series loss a child and a husband through death (mine was divorce :-)) so I've taken one of my life experiences to give my character background and more depth. Also, for a nonfiction memoir, I have my daily journal that I keep. Boring perhaps, but a record of what's going on in my life that will more than likely end up in some dumpster after I die, and that's okay with me.

Gloria on her daughter's computer in California

KM Rockwood said...

Fictional characters take over my imagination and demand to be heard.

And to tell the truth, I've never considered writing a memoir. Too much there that I don't really care to revisit, and it would probably be terminally boring for anyone else to read. Plus, my family would probably be furious at the invasion of their privacy--and I can't see how I could write one without doing that.

I do, however, like to read memoirs of people who have met their challenges and persevered.

Warren Bull said...

I have been tempted to write a non-fiction account of my experience with cancer. However so far fiction holds greater appeal. I may leave the cancer story for some future biographer.

Linda Rodriguez said...


I'm not as truly drawn by nonfiction ideas as by fiction. I was an academic for many years and have written a good deal of academic and popular nonfiction. I have biographies and histories I'd love to write if time were unlimited, but all the many fiction (and poetry) projects draw me much more--and my time is limited, as it is for all of us. I'm just at the age where I have to face that fact now. :-)

Linda Rodriguez said...

Gloria, I think your idea of memoir as a help to others is a great idea. Part of my reluctance to write a memoir is similar to yours--I lived such a horrible, violent, traumatic childhood that I hate the thought of reliving all that pain. Also, though, I don't want to write something that just holds up what I went through as a kid and says, in essence, "Pity me." I have seen memoirs like that, beautifully written, but I don't think we need another. I'd need to find another purpose for it, such as your idea of a help for others going through something similar.

Linda Rodriguez said...

I'm with you, KM. Characters invade my head and just take over, wanting to be written. I'd hate to die without ever giving them voice and life on the page.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Warren, you have come so much in your fight against cancer that I'm sure your memoir would be truly inspiring, but I understand so well your desire to write fiction instead.

Anonymous said...

I much prefer fiction . . . real life is just so messy with less clear lessons and often unsatisfying conclusions.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Mary, that's one of the reasons for fiction, indeed for all art, that ability to create some kind of order and meaning out of the chaos of mundane life.

Sarah Henning said...

When I was entertaining offers from agents, one of them wanted me to put my fiction dreams on hold and write a foodie memoir first. It was a fun idea, but I didn't see that as where I wanted to go. Fiction is, and probably always will be, what I want.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Yes, Sarah, I think it's simply a matter of where our dreams lead us. I love well-written memoirs and creative nonfiction, but my true loves are the novel and poetry.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Except for short essays, I have never been drawn to writing memoir. Fiction fascinates me because it's a new exploration, a new journey. Family history intrigues me, but my own life is still developing, so I'm not quite ready to revisit it yet!

Linda Rodriguez said...


I agree with you totally. If I were to write a memoir, it would have to have some other purpose or theme than just "look at my life."