There are lots of reasons why I write mystery novels and thrillers… To entertain myself. To make a living. To tell a story. But sometimes it’s not easy to put my butt in the chair and write. But then I come across a Goodreads blogpost like the one from author Richard Wheeler…and it’s a big motivator.
Each day I read to my wife a couple of chapters from one of Lee Goldberg’s Monk novels, based on the TV series about the obsessive-compulsive San Francisco detective Adrian Monk.
My wife, Sue Hart, is in an assisted living place three blocks from my home. She spent half a century as an English professor, specializing in Montana literature and other fields, before her short-term memory began to fade.
She loves the Monk novels. She had been unfamiliar with them until I started reading them to her in her room, and now she laughs and smiles right along with me, as I spin out the story for her.
There is a genius to the Monk novels. Mr. Monk is crazy and outrageous– but we don’t laugh at him, because there is the pathos about him, and what we feel is tenderness toward him, no matter how peculiar he seems.
These reading sessions, which light up my wife, have made me aware of how gifted Lee Goldberg is as a novelist and storyteller. There is something about reading a story out loud, and catching the response, that tells me more about the work than if I had read it silently to myself. And it is telling me that Lee Goldberg is a splendid storyteller with a great sense of the human condition.
I am touched, and very flattered, by Richard’s post. I’ve received quite a few letters from people who read my books while going through chemotherapy, or healing from an injury, and they tell me how much the laughter, or the mystery, or the adventure has helped them deal with, or forget, the pain. That’s just amazing to me. So now I think of those people whenever I sit down to write.