Believe in the Author

You would think that when someone says write about anything you want, that would be an easy thing to do. However it’s like an open book test, not that easy.
I didn’t know if I should talk about trends coming up or about new releases from some great authors, so I decided to go a different route. I found myself thinking about authors who write series novels, and how I would like to see some of them take a different direction this year—maybe not write about their main character, but step outside of the “norm” in order to give the reader a fresh story. I’ve said for several years that while I love to read series novels, I think my real passion is the standalone. 

There is something in having to sit down in front of a computer, looking at a blank canvas, and having to create a tale from scratch. With a series character, half of the story has already been written; the author just needs to fill in the blanks with the plot. 

I’ve talked with several authors and a lot of them seem handcuffed by publishing issues or the popularity of their character that they simply can’t step outside that formula. This is also a reason for an author to write under another name. It is sort of like an actor who is identified with a role—for example, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. At this point, he doesn’t want to do another Iron Man movie. But let’s say the studios want to make another one in five years. They would have to reboot the series with another actor, having that new person be compared to Robert. The Spiderman movies are a perfect example. First, you had Tobey Maguire play Spiderman and now Andrew Garfield plays him. It makes the viewer have to really forget about the first three movies. But you see it everywhere, not just in movies or TV, but also music and writing. I had a great conversation with an author about killing off his main character to finally end the series. That author would love to do it, but didn’t want to hear the backlash from fans. Stephen King wrote about this in “Misery.” I believe the name of the character and the book title meant simply that this is where an author can live. 

My plea to fans is this: While you love your series character, realize that you need to believe in the author more. You read the character created by the author; therefore, if they decide to change course and do something different, you need to not only respect that decision, but also trust their talent and ability to create additional stories with brand-new characters that you will love just as much.
John Raab founded Suspense Magazine in 2007. Also the host of three radio shows on Suspense Radio Network (Inside Edition, One on One and Beyond The Cover) also the producer for two more shows, Crime and Science Radio and The Story Blender.
The CEO / Publisher of Suspense Publishing a book publisher that publishes #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Paul Kemprecos, along with several other authors.

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  1. Some good observations here, John. I completely agree with your final statement, about following the author and not always the character. Readers who don't miss out on some terrific crime fiction otherwise.


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