Enjoyed an author event at Waterstones in Nottingham last Thursday. Great double act of Mark Billingham and Peter Robinson. As well as readings from their newly published books, they talked about life as writers and something of their practical routines.
What I picked up on though was the comment from both of them about how irritated they become when people tell them they enjoy their books, then add, 'When are you going to write a proper novel'.
It's something that came up when I attended the event with Roger Ellroy in Derby. People were asking what settings and topics they should use for their books. He told the story of going into a bookshop in the US, where a whole floor was devoted to crime fiction. And he said it was subdivided into so many different interests, like gardening, stamp collecting and walking that it didn't matter what interests you. There are likely to be other people interested too.
In short, the whole of life can be encompassed in a crime novel. I was walking past a man yesterday on his mobile and the split second excerpt I heard had my mind buzzing. 'You could always bury it in the garden.'
That's what I heard and I was off. For the rest of my walk home, my mind was spinning with so many ideas about what 'it' was and why burying it in the garden might be the solution.
I get irritated sometimes that the crime fiction section of the Guardian Review is so short when there are so many great writers, and I use that adjective deliberately, at work today.
Going back to Peter Robinson. The book I liked best of his work is Friend of the Devil because he draws together threads from two previous books and creates a seamless masterpiece about revenge, penance and absolution. Masterly.