I’m back! Yup, I have yet another ‘Author’s We Love’ post today, thanks to the brilliant Rob Zimmermann for inviting me back. So sit up straight children, and listen, because it’s very interesting. Yes, even you at the back.
Most of the authors I love seem to be older ones, as last time I chose Charles Dickens, and this time I am choosing…..Agatha Christie.
Of all female writers who wrote crime, she was definitely a pioneer. She wrote not only a character called ‘Miss Marple’, but also another character, a favourite of mine, Mr Hecule Poirot. Just saying his name bring up the wonderful image of the short, elaborately-moustached Belgian detective. In a time where women and men were thought to think in different ways, she wrote a male character-and he was more than believable. Agatha Christie showed that a woman could think as sharply as a man-if not more than most people anyway, in her case-through her novels.
I loved that it showed you could write anything you wanted, with no barriers, and it had a huge effect on my writing. To this day, I write as I want, no barriers. I blend several genres in the same melting pot, and cook them into something (hopefully) readable. I don’t panic when I have to write a male character, as I’m confident enough that from observing human behaviour, and talking to men, I can create a believable character. Christie’s novels showed me that as a writer you must not only write what you know, but also what you learn.
I remember the first novel I read by Agatha Christie was Murder on the Orient Express. Now, I pride myself on being that annoying person, five minutes into the film, says “I know who did it!” But I never saw the twist coming. I’m sure most of you reading this may have at least seen the film, if not the book, but in case anyone has I’m not going to mention it here. But it was enough of a twist that I put my book down at the point I found out, stared into space for a few seconds as I thought it over in my mind, and realised that if this had ever been done since, it had never been so well, and this had been the very first one. It was an original twist. Something that I at least strive for in my novels and stories.
Agatha Christie also had a great command of dropping ‘red herrings’. Anyone who has read my novels knows that she definitely influenced me here. I drop them left, right, and centre like they’re going to be rotten tomorrow. The subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) dropping of clues which are misleading is something of an art form. She managed to lead people just far enough down the garden path to let them make their own incorrect conclusions, leaving you hanging on to see if you were right, until she spins around with the lead-pipe in her hand and says, “Ah hah! No, this is where I hid it.” And bam! Christie hits you with another twist. I also want to do this in my novels, because although there are within the paranormal genre, they are at least slight thrillers. It can be great fun to spin readers around until they get dizzy and point to the wrong word, all while unfurling the story further along the road for them to discover. I can’t think of a single Agatha Christie book where this wasn’t done.
A complaint I hear a lot in regards to Christie’s novels is, “But it’s something old people watch or read; what enjoyment will I get out of it?” Okay, so I don’t know anyone who asked me that well, but I’m not going to muddy this post by including a Teesside accent from England. The beauty of Christie’s novels is that they are timeless. Even if you are somehow unaffected by the opulent grace and style of the Thirties, or the posh English and clipped American accents bickering over who killed Grandma across afternoon tea, you can still appreciate that her storylines continue to this day. All of the morals she brings up still exist, and people do still murder each other and try to get away with it. It’s the sign of a great book, that it becomes so classic it will never go out of fashion.
Agatha Christie inspired my writing maybe as strongly as Charles Dickens, and that is the main reason she is another of my favourite authors. I strive for her cleverness and quit-witted thought in all my writing, pondering how I could make something seem more mis-leading, or altogether a fat red herring. Aside from being an amazing writer with an incredible knack for getting a character exactly right, she had humour and logic in her novels, two qualities I feel set her books apart. There have been many attempts to imitate her, but I feel none will ever touch that amazing thought than ran through my head when I discovered the twist of Murder on the Orient Express.
I was born in Guisborough, North Yorkshire in 1987 and have lived in various places around Britain, including Newcastle and Glasgow.
My writing is inspired by various writers, including the vivid characters of Charles Dickens, the imagination of Stephen King, and the gothic imagery of Anne Rice.
My love of horror began at an early age, when I was only three or four. I could read proficiently at the age of three, and devoured fairy-stories, but I always had a bent towards the darker stories, such as the Brother’s Grimm’s tales…Red Riding Hood was always a firm favourite, although I always felt sorry for the wolf, despite him having tried to eat everyone!