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.
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.
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/ * firstname.lastname@example.org | 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?