Last Friday, I had another piece up on the Mulholland Books website -- this one entitled, "Hardboiled Academics." The piece was built around my discovery that there are (and have been) a lot of crime writers with academic/scholarly backgrounds. Why is this and how does this background influence crime writers? In retrospect, the path from academia to crime fiction makes sense: people like to read; they read through school; they keep going to school; they take up writing because they like to read; and so on.
I pitched the idea to Miriam Parker, the marketing director at Mulholland, and she liked it, so I wrote the lead-in section and then asked a few other writers to share their thoughts. One passed, but Kenneth Wishnia and Bill Crider responded. Miriam contacted Denise Mina and Megan Abbott, and they both threw in their two cents (or bob), and the piece was born. (And thank you to everyone.)
I would like to answer my own question, but I think I'll let my thoughts fester a little longer. A while back, I thought that my academic work had made me a better reader, and that I could bring these skills to bear when writing and evaluating my own fiction. Now I'm not so sure. I also have this idea that I can generate a certain beat in my prose after years of careful (or at least, slow) reading (and sub-vocalizing). I'm not so sure about that either. I'll think about it some more.