27 May 2010 4 Comments

How to create empathy as a writer

Malcolm Muggeridge (an old English literateur) once said that George Orwell “was no good as a novelist, because he didn’t have the interest in character.” Well, I didn’t need to tell you who George Orwell was, so you may doubt the judgment of the largely forgotten Muggeridge. But I think he was very close to […]

20 May 2010 0 Comments

Jimmy Carter, apartheid, hemorrhoids and Matt Beynon Rees

I often receive emails from book stores, amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and online literary sites telling me how much I’d like the novels of Matt Beynon Rees. I’m delighted to see these emails, which are based on my other purchases and interests, as only I can truly know just how much the novels of Matt […]

6 May 2010 2 Comments

What do YOU think of me?

A friend of mine was lunching with a Scandinavian author a while back. At one point, the writer joked: “But that’s enough of me talking about myself. What do YOU think of me?” Unlike that writer, I don’t care what you think of me. Don’t be offended – I don’t care what I think about […]

15 January 2010 1 Comment

Writer is pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli

The best thing about moving from journalism to fiction writing is that people show you more respect. As a journalist covering a contentious issue like the Israel-Palestinian conflict, I was often subject to rather nasty verbal attacks during public speaking engagements. For a partisan of either side, I seemed a fine target for their generalized […]

3 September 2009 1 Comment

Acknowledge no one

Here’s my latest post on the International Crime Authors Reality Check blog: Authors are posturing, self-aggrandizing assholes. At least, that’s the conclusion I’ve reached after noting the trend for excessive “Acknowledgements” growing like mold over page on page of nonfiction books. These days they’re spreading their blight all over novels, too. Here’s how I think […]

26 August 2009 5 Comments

My bogus bio

Here’s my latest post on the International Crime Authors Reality Check blog: Since you’re reading this, you don’t care who I am. So I can be anyone I like. At least, that’s what somebody wrote here recently. I posted on this blog a couple of weeks ago about Dashiell Hammett. I noted that, while a […]

9 August 2009 0 Comments

Five smokes and a new novel: Klaus Modick’s Writing Life

When my second novel A GRAVE IN GAZA was being translated into German, I received an email from my translator. He had a number of penetrating questions about certain phrases I’d used in the book. He also happened to be the only translator who asked me a question about any of my books (and my […]

3 August 2009 0 Comments

A Gripping Read, or Gripping your Read

I’m delighted to present a guest blogger today whose terrific new novel STOP ME is out tomorrow. Richard Jay Parker was born in the same South Wales town as me, just around the corner from where my parents now live. In our different ways, clearly, the mean streets of Newport shaped a real pair of […]

28 July 2009 0 Comments

The ex-husband’s trenchcoat and Zoe Ferraris’s Writing Life

Fiction—and lately in particular crime fiction—can take us deep into alien cultures, through the emotions of the characters who act as our guides, translators and social commentators. The more alien the culture, the bigger the challenge to a Western author. Zoe Ferraris took on Saudi Arabia, one of the most closed cultures in the world, […]

12 July 2009 0 Comments

Ingenious book readings: Just don’t mention books!

In his terrific book “On Writing” Stephen King notes that he once asked Amy Tan what she’s NEVER asked about at public readings. “They never ask about the writing,” Tan tells him. Which spurs King to write a book about exactly that. Now controversial UK publishing guru Scott Pack goes one better. Public appearances by […]