A Short Follow-Up

As a short follow up to yesterday’s retread, my wife tells me that instead of just asking authors if they are what they write, I should be asking the READERS in the crowd if THEY think authors are what they write?

If there’s a homophobic moron spouting nonsense in a book or story, does some part of you wonder if the author him or herself is homophobic?

If the details of a killing are especially gruesome, do you wonder if the author has a lust for blood?

Or do you even care?

15 Responses to “A Short Follow-Up” »»

  1. Comment by Barbie | 06/21/07

    Nope, Rob, I never give it a thought. Just as being a reader of such books doesn’t make me want to do any of those gruesome things, I don’t assume that writing such stuff makes an author that way either.

  2. Comment by Mark Terry | 06/21/07

    No, not specifically. I will suggest, though, that from time to time I read an author whose work–and perhaps the author–I do not like because of an overall “personality” or approach to things that offends me. It’s hard to put my finger on it, but sometimes, for instance, I might read something with particularly graphic violence that will bother me. Generally I’m not bothered by this in fiction, but there might be something callous or perhaps gratuitous about it that will bother me and I may feel that there’s an issue with the author here rather than with the content itself.

  3. Comment by patti | 06/21/07

    i think there is a bit of me in every character, but i am not my characters, and mostly when my characters do something like maim or kill or cuss out their dogs it’s because something in that character made me go there.

    and nope i don’t think authors of books i read are what they write…but it does make me think about how they can write certain things that make me queazy…

  4. Comment by Jeannie | 06/21/07

    I always thought good writers were just really good story tellers. However I do remember the story Stephen King told about a woman who wrote him letters all upset because one of his characters kicked and killed a dog. She attacked him for doing such a thing. He wrote back saying there never was a man, there never was a dog and it never happened because ITS FICTION.
    So ya just never know what people are thinking.

  5. Comment by Lisa Kenney | 06/22/07

    I’ve never thought fiction writers who write novels with sex and violence bear any resemblance to their characters; however, your wife’s original question was interesting. Regular readers of thrillers don’t typically have an issue with anything they read in them because they know what to expect and they like thrillers. People who don’t normally read books with sex and violence, or don’t typically read at all — like people who may buy a book and read it because they know the author or his wife (yikes) — it’s possible they could wonder about the guy that dreamed the story up. But unless you live in an Amish community or something (no offense to the Amish), I have a hard time believing any grown person in this country would be shocked to read about violence in a crime fiction novel. Tell her she shouldn’t worry about those kind of people, who should be very few in number, if any — especially since she probably knows a lot more people who will be incredibly impressed that she’s married to a published novelist. :)

  6. Comment by Jaynie R | 06/22/07

    I admit, I sometimes wonder about a character’s attitudes and if they reflect the writer’s. Usually, when it seems as if some sort of political or moral statement is being hidden in the text.

    But, no. I don’t presume my favorite crime writers kill people, or the romance writers have kinky sex, or the science fiction writers have met aliens.

  7. Comment by Naomi | 06/22/07

    Maybe the wife should have her own blog? :-)

  8. Dru
    Comment by Dru | 06/22/07

    No, it never crossed my mind, unless the author write that it’s autobiographical.

  9. Comment by Brett Battles | 06/23/07

    HA! I LOVE Naomi’s comment!! Get her on line, Rob.

  10. Comment by Joe Moore | 06/24/07

    Generally, I don’t associate the writer with the story. But there were a few times when I first read RED DRAGON by Thomas Harris that I looked at his picture on the back of the book and wondered what the hell was he thinking!

  11. Comment by Allison Brennan | 06/24/07

    Asking people who visit here, who are predominantly writers or involved with writers, probably isn’t getting the right answers. I’m going to remember this next time I speak to a readers group!

    Most people who contact me don’t seem to connect me with my books, except I did get one nasty email from a guy who thought I needed professional help because my book was so “sick.” Ironically, everything in that book was pulled from a variety of real-life events (teenagers “cutting”, teen thrill killers “peer pressure/group mentality”, and a specific form of anger management therapy.) If he thinks I’m sick, what must he think of the world at large?

  12. Comment by Jennifer | 06/25/07

    I think you don’t get the magic if you don’t get a piece of the writer.

  13. Comment by Rob Gregory Browne | 06/25/07

    Well, I think I can safely say my wife was wrong — and believe me, I don’t get to say that very often! :)

  14. Comment by Teresa | 07/23/07

    Looks like work got me again and I’m late to the party. Haven’t had a chance to visit for a while… but I must say I agree with everyone else and no I don’t think people who write crime stories are like their characters. I think they have excellent imaginations and great story telling skills.

    That’s why I find the latest trend in schools to “council” kids who write crime or horror stories to be very disturbing. Why is it okay for an adult to write this type of fiction, but if a teen does it, they must be disturbed in some way? Just my take. *grin*

  15. Comment by Rob Gregory Browne | 07/24/07

    Better late than never, Teresa. Thanks for stopping by.

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