Sunday, January 25, 2015

1/25/2014 Isabel Allende rips the mystery field

January 25, 2014.  Isabel Allende is a bestselling mainstream novelist.  When her crime novel Ripper came out she appeared on NPR and said a few things that didn't go well with the mystery world.

The book is tongue in cheek. It's very ironic ... and I'm not a fan of mysteries, so to prepare for this experience of writing a mystery I started reading the most successful ones in the market in 2012. ... And I realized I cannot write that kind of book. It's too gruesome, too violent, too dark; there's no redemption there. And the characters are just awful. Bad people. Very entertaining, but really bad people. So I thought, I will take the genre, write a mystery that is faithful to the formula and to what the readers expect, but it is a joke. My sleuth will not be this handsome detective or journalist or policeman or whatever. It will be a young, 16-year-old nerd. My female protagonist will not be this promiscuous, beautiful, dark-haired, thin lady. It will be a plump, blond, healer, and so forth.

Nothing to win new fans like announcing you're slumming in their field.  By the time she apologized in February her book had received tons of publicity.  Perhaps that was the point of the exercise?

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