Why do I write what I write and why do I write what I write in the way that I write?
A question that everyone who’s ever tried to write a story, poem, play has asked themselves, though they may have asked the question better.
Over the years when I’ve tried to write, I knew I wanted to be a writer, I tried many different styles, many different types of story that I wanted to tell. I’ve no real reason why I settled on what I have now. I’m no expert on literary theory and can only explain it in terms of music, though I have no musical training either.
‘For years I tried to play in a string quartet before I realised that all I wanted to do was play in a garage band’
Just to say, that’s in no way a comment on either string quartets or garage bands, it’s just the best way I can describe it. Nor is it a comment on anyone’s writing style or subject matter. I really do believe that, in essence, each of us can only write a certain way. No two people can write the same way. No two people can write the same sentence. I found crime fiction, and more specifically I found my own niche of crime fiction.
I’ve no particular interest in police procedurals, in serial killers, in CSI type analytical stories. What I love is Noir, that amorphous bastard offspring of the crime genre where failure, damnation and despair rule, and yet where the protagonists try to obtain some form of redemption through their actions, though they know that it will ultimately achieve nothing. The world will go on despite them, the bad guys will often win and the good guys, if they survive, will not ride off into the sunset with their best gal by their sides.
Noir isn’t about providing corpses for a genius detective to mull over, providing cadavers for sadistic, unrealistic and often farcical serial killers to murder in increasingly bizarre ways. If Noir provides a body it’s to serve as an example to be held up of the failings of the protagonists, the people around them, the world at large. That one person is murdered is a failing of us all. And remember, in the world of Noir there is no afterlife, there is no happy ending, you will not be rewarded. You strive, you fail, yet you continue, ultimately knowing that you will fail, but in the words of another writer, you go on, you fail better.