Someone recently asked me why I write. It’s a fair question, and after stating the obvious reason (to silence the voices in my head by putting them on paper), I came up with three additional reasons, all of them beginning with C.
Comfort – I find it oddly comforting to write a certain kind of novel, specifically, gothic mystery thriller/horror. I have written five novels of this kind to date, including two I have already published (The Birds Began to Sing and The Thistlewood Curse), and three I have yet to publish (The Wormcutter, The Irresistible Summons, and The Spectre of Springwell Forest). Quite why I find this genre so appealing to write I am not sure, but whenever I return to it, I breathe a deep sigh of relief and feel like I am well and truly in my “comfort zone” (if you’ll forgive my use of an obscenity).
Challenge – The second reason for writing often comes when I want to try something new, or attempt something definitely outside of my happy place as detailed above. My motivations for doing this are often raw ambition, or simply wanting to resist typecasting as a certain kind of writer. But sometimes, this reason for writing arises simply because someone requested a particular kind of novel and then, wouldn’t you know, I get an idea and have to write the damn thing. Echo and the White Howl is a good recent example, as my youngest son wanted a novel about wolves and animal fiction is way outside what I would usually write. In fact, most of my children’s novels were very challenging to write.
Catharsis – The third reason I write is to exorcise the demons of my past, and sometimes my present. I don’t do this consciously and don’t even realise I am doing it until after the fact. The best example of this from my currently published works is Children of the Folded Valley, by far my most successful novel to date.