People sometimes ask me why I write. As opposed to say, shopping, or vacuuming the rug, or taking walks. For a long time I didn’t think I had an answer, but now I do. I write because I like my stories more than I like real life. That’s also why I don’t write gritty police procedurals or gothic horror. I write to create a world in which I feel competent to cope.
You see, most of the time stuff happens to us that we aren’t prepared for. If there’s time and we know where to look, we do our homework and figure out the best way to deal. But in today’s world, there mostly isn’t time, so we punt. We draw on our life experience, take a deep breath, and punt that sucker just as high as we can so our guys can get down the field before the bad guys invade. And frankly, I’m sick of punting. I’m getting older and my kicks aren’t as good as they used to be. My joints are sore. Bad guys rush into my territory unhindered. And it’s rare that my teammates are in any better shape. So I write.
The world that surrounds my characters can be dangerous, but within limits. Betrayal comes from people who give the reader reason to be suspicious in the first place. Reinforcements arrive more or less on time. People get hurt but they get better. Nobody dies, except of natural causes. Emotional turmoil is abundant but manageable, because people step up and help.
Friends behave well, and those who behave badly can be kept at bay. The really bad bad guys come from elsewhere, almost like people from another planet who wouldn’t want to live in our town anyway, because there’s not enough money to be made. The excitement comes from the astoundingly beautiful tropical environment.
All of which means I write tame detective stories. My heroine is an accidental sleuth who is more nosy than knowledgeable. Her boyfriend would like her to stay out of trouble and her friends are ambivalent because sometimes her nosiness is helpful. Lots of people don’t like my fiction. They find it boring or insipid, maybe both. You want to know something? I wouldn’t mind if real life were a little more boring and insipid. I’d like to spend more time immersed in the beauty of the world around me.