Author Robert Goddard tells us what inspires him to write mystery thrillers and why his work always takes a turn for the dark and devious
Mysteries chose me
Does a writer choose a genre or does a genre choose the writer? I suspect the latter's more often the case. Certainly, I think it should be, because writing fiction is challenging enough without trying to write the kind of story that doesn't come naturally to you.
Tightly plotted mystery thrillers suited my writing personality from the first. I'm sure a light romantic comedy in my hands would soon take a turn for the dark and devious. It's all about how my imagination works.
One of the things I most enjoy about this kind of book is the potential for loading the plot with twists and surprises, not just for the reader but for the characters. And for me, of course.
The pleasure for me is not finding out what happens next, because I already know, but finding out how the characters are going to react to that and what their reactions will mean for what follows.
Plotting as art
The art of plotting – of constructing a story that grips and satisfies from start to finish – is the aspect of writing most neglected by critics and academics. But it's what draws a reader in and leaves them fulfilled by the experience.
It's key to that most mysterious literary experience, the suspension of disbelief. And that doesn't apply just to the reader, but to the writer as well.
Ultimately, then, these are the books I write because these are the books I believe in, and that's the best way of ensuring readers will believe in them too.