Canuck Noir #FridayRecommends

Okay, I’m lying. I can’t recommend Andy Potter’s books because I haven’t read any, nor am I likely to read any. Why not? BECAUSE BLOOD AND GUTS DUH.

For my readers who like blood and guts, though, I would recommend this author’s work sight unseen.

Why?

Because he writes clear, clean prose and has a straightforward way of engaging his blog visitors. Because I liked the professional way he approached me for a blog spot and the quick completeness of his posting package. And because I dared to read some of his novel sample and it reminded me of Hemingway and I love Hemingway.

So.

Why I Write Genre Fiction
A. M. Potter

Thank you, Marian, for inviting me to your blog. Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes. That’s a large part of Genre-land, and I’m very happy to be here. Years ago, in my misspent youth, I tried to write literary fiction. I loved reading literary fiction, so why not? The more obscure the prose and plotline (read: lack thereof), the more I loved it: James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Thomas Pynchon.

I wanted to write a Finnegans Wake redux. I even read Finnegans Wake. It took me a whole summer. I was an undergraduate with a night job so I had the time. I read all the books you needed to approach Finnegans Wake: the skeleton key, the concordances, the academic treatises. And then I read the opus itself. To the last page: 656. Approximately 200,000 words.

People were impressed; well, some people. Had they read it? No. In fact, no one I knew had read Finnegans Wake. Anyway, I tried to write like Joyce. I didn’t get anywhere. I eventually realized writing FW-like fiction was a lost cause. Who’s read all of FW (apart from academics)?

I deserted literary fiction. You could say I became a traitor. I went to the dark side – the Noir side. Hallelujah! I started reading genre fiction, specifically crime fiction. I wanted to read a good story. I wanted whodunnit puzzles, not prose pyrotechnics. Then I started writing crime fiction. I found a home.

Which brings me to Part B of this post. I’d say the number of crime/mystery novels published annually is second only to that of romance novels. Why are mystery stories such a big part of our current cultural milieu? Why do so many people read mysteries or watch them? People must get something out of the genre. Of course, there’s the voyeur element. “Look, he’s bloodier than buffalo guts.” “Hey, her head’s half there. That incision looks like shark teeth.”

I’m not a psychologist or mind reader. However, I’m going to take a stab at answering why people find murder mysteries so fascinating. Violent unexpected death is horrendous. People cannot or do not want to face it directly. One way of handling murder, one way of coming to terms with the worst of all human crimes, is to watch someone solve it. “Look, they caught the perp.”

Perhaps crime fiction is soothing. It conquers evil, and somehow puts the world in a positive light. Good guys win, bad guys go to jail. On the flip side, I could be barking up the wrong tree. Maybe people just want blood and guts.

A.M. Potter writes detective fiction, which he calls North Noir, aka Canuck Noir. On the bio side, he grew up in Nova Scotia and Boston. He’s traveled the world, working dozens of jobs. Like any good detective, he knows both sides of the thin blue line. He’s used numerous aliases (for non-nefarious purposes, of course). You’ll have to take his word on that.

A.M. Potter recently published Bay of Blood, the first novel in the Detective Eva Naslund series (from Black Opal Books).

See https://ampnorthnoir.com/category/my-books/ * amp-northnoir@outlook.com | ​ampnorthnoir.com (disponible en Español/Spanish translation available)

I disagree with Mr. Potter on the subject of literary fiction, in that I think good literary fiction definitely has plot, just seldom a lot of physical action. And anybody who likes blood and guts is welcome to read them some Chuck Palahniuk.

Good to have you visit, Andy! If you ever write a book without an excess of blood and absolutely no missing bits of heads, please let me know. I like your style.

A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Is your main character squeamish? Are you, in real life or in your reading?

MA

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About

I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Canuck Noir #FridayRecommends

  1. A.M. Potter

    April 26, 2019 at 9:37am

    Hiya Marian. Me, I’m not squeamish at all. Not that I’m immune to violence. As for Detective Eva Naslund, she isn’t squeamish either. However, in Bay of Blood, she doesn’t find it easy to look at the first victim’s face, one of her friends.

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    • Author
      • A.M. Potter

        April 26, 2019 at 10:10am

        No. In fact, it has absolutely no graphic violence (I never write scenes of gratuitous violence). As for gory detail, that, I think, is relative. I do describe what the detectives, coroner and forensic pathologist “see” – and it is bloody and detailed. However, it is not in the book for the sake of blood. The novel is a police procedural and readers expect/want a dose of “harsh reality.”

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        • Author

          Marian Allen
          Twitter:

          April 26, 2019 at 10:23am

          I found that Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct books started out to my taste, but gradually became more “gritty”, until they grittied themselves out of my ability to tolerate the harshness of that reality. I loved Quincy, MD, the TV show about the coroner played by Jack Klugman. Where does BAY OF BLOOD fall on the grittiness scale?
          Marian Allen would love to share..Canuck Noir #FridayRecommendsMy Profile

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          • A.M. Potter

            April 26, 2019 at 10:34am

            I’d say 7-7.5 out of 10 on the grittiness scale. It’s not in the realm of Ed McBain or Ian Rankin or Elmore Leonard. I don’t want to alienate the reader. A few readers have told me that they glossed over the “bloody bits,” but there weren’t many. One reason, perhaps, is that the novel takes place mostly in small-town Canada. There is not a lot of overt violence. In fact, a lot of the grit in Bay of Blood is psychological.

            As a generalization – to ply dangerous waters – to me, psychology seems to be the main element in most crime writing, if not all. The difference in the crime subgenres is mainly due to way the characters are portrayed, both cops and criminals, as well as the hardness of the psychologically-based scenes – the POI interviews, for example. A cozy mystery is soft-edged, and, at the other end of the subgenre spectrum, a black crime novel is at times almost inhuman (think Ian Rankin, at times).

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  2. AM Potter

    April 26, 2019 at 5:09pm

    Thanks very much for inviting me, Marian.
    I certainly agree with you that good lit fict has plot. Compared to genre fict, I find the lit fict pace slower (another generalization). The typical crime/mystery writer ups the pace (gotta find the murderer) and doesn’t spend a lot of time on description, for example. But that’s the typical scenario. We could debate this one. For yonks. 😉

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