Change of pace for the blog in the new year, partially in response to some changes in how I'm going to be writing and publishing from now on (more details to follow soon, I hope). I'll still post occasionally about my e-publishing experience, but I'm going to shift the focus more towards what really matters: reading books and writing books.
One of my new year's resolutions for 2013 was to make a concerted effort to read more books, and in particular, more classic thrillers. I've not exactly been a slouch in this matter up until now, but a gift of the James Bond DVD boxset over Christmas reminded me that I'd only read one of the original books: JFK's own favourite, From Russia With Love.
I quickly resolved to remedy this by tackling the Bond novels, starting with Casino Royale. But when I got started thinking about it, I asked myself, why stop with Fleming?
There are a ton of classic thrillers and crime fiction classics I've had sitting on my 'to read' list for years: Ludlum's Bourne Identity, Forsyth's Day of the Jackal, Le Carre's Spy Who Came in from the Cold. Plenty of classic noir I've yet to read, too: I've only read one Dashiell Hammett, one Jim Thompson and one James M. Cain to date. Raymond Chandler's had a better strike rate with me, but incredibly I've still to get around to The Long Goodbye.
From dead Americans to live Brits - I'd like to read some more Simon Kernick, and maybe some Stephen Leather. The latest couple of Matt Hilton's books look intriguing, and I've been meaning to check out some of Ian Rankin's early non-Rebus spy thrillers.
No doubt there'll be the regular installments from Lee Child and Michael Connelly - just because I'm touring the canon doesn't mean I have to neglect the modern masters. And then there's John D Macdonald's Travis McGee series - I've been meaning to get around to reading the rest of them for years...
It's February, so I've got through a few of the names on my list already, and will be playing catch-up posting my thoughts over the next few days. My goal is two-fold - I'm reading books I've wanted to get around to for years, but I'm also immersing myself in my chosen profession. I'm doing okay as a new thriller author, but I want to be the best I can be. The quickest way to do that is to learn from the best.
That's why I'm changing the name of the blog to Thriller School. Over the next year, I'm going to read my way through as many great thrillers as I can find: new and old, American, British or further afield. I'm going to give my brief observations on each book once I finish it, and in each case, wrap it up with one thing I as a writer have learned from the book.
I hope you like my journey through the pantheon of crime and thriller authors, and I hope I can stimulate the occasional conversation. I'm very open to suggestions, even though my existing list means I won't run out of books any time this decade.
I do know two things: I'm going to have a lot of fun reading, and I'm going to be a better writer at the end of the year.