Tuesday, October 8, 2013


At time of writing, we’re very much between “Those Books I Won’t Name” and “The Next Big Bandwagon”. I watch my social media with trepidation, waiting, anticipating… Because we know it will happen, and soon everyone, including your horsey sister and your mother’s next door neighbour’s aunt will be reading Those Books. They may never have read one of Those Books before, and probably never will again, but hey, you know, their excuse will be, “…my cousin’s best friend from Bible study told her about it, and I was curious…” (The rest, as they say, is ancient history.)

You’ll find yourself on the train, watching a young woman furtively trying to hide what’s on the screen of her iPad or Kindle, in case someone should see her reading one of Those Books. No. I’m not making this stuff up. Every once in a while, said young woman will squirm uncomfortably like her jeans just got too tight.

Moving swiftly onward… I don’t have a problem with Those Books. In fact, I edit authors who write books very similar to the Those Books that recently captured the throbbing clits of what feels like half the planet. I’m very happy for authors who actually make money writing tales that have mass appeal.

But, guess what? I’m not one of Those Authors, and I’m not one of Those Readers, who’ll avidly read Those Books Everyone is Talking About.

Don’t get me wrong. I do sometimes write schmexxors in my novels. I don’t shy away from a good boinking if the plot calls for it. But it’s not the overarching motivation for me when I’m telling my stories. Because, guess what? I’m one of those sad, sad authors who writes the kind of stories *she* wants to read. And my imagination of late is a very, very strange place that might not have universal appeal.

So, a word of advice, please don’t approach me with that glazed expression on your face, when you grip my arm and say those immortal words, “Have you heard about That Author, who writes Those Books?” (Or mention an article you read in the papers you assume I would have seen.)

To which I can only nod dumbly while my assailant blithely continues, “You should write books like that.”

Um. No. No. No. No.

Dear reader, you’re missing the point. Those Books are not right for me. Now, please go away and let me continue writing my devious tales of lost worlds, madness and stolen faerie princes. My vampires don’t glitter and, guess what? They have fangs. Here be dragons and all that.

If that means I’m doomed to my small but rather rabid cult following, I’ll take my teeny tiny posse of fans any day rather than rely on the fickle attentions of riding on the global Next Big Bandwagon.

Lastly, you are free to read the books you want to. Just because the whole world and his wife rages about how cool or how devious a story is doesn’t mean you have to automatically like it too. On the opposite end of the scale, not every author who’s at the helm of a universal bestseller is dreck either. I make no apologies for thinking that JK Rowling is the dog’s bollocks and I couldn’t give a damn whether you disagree with me.

The point is, you choose to read a particular story because it makes you happy and, for a while, offers you an escape from the crushing misery that is our reality. If it means you want to be a sappy teenager in love with a vampire who has a dodgy hairstyle, or be a wondrous boy wizard with a special wand, that’s your call to make, and no one else’s. I’m not sitting here in judgment. Just let me do my thing on my own terms, okay? My way’s not better; it’s different. That’s all.

PS, actually, I've come close to writing some of THOSE BOOKS.

If you like the schmexxors, then go give Hell's Music or Tainted Love a little lube.

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