Killing People

Killing people is all in a day’s work for a novelist but it doesn’t always come easy. Sometimes it’s clear that it has to be done, though the demise of any of my creations, even a monster, can sadden me. Sometimes it’s a tussle between sentiment and plot. Plot needs to win. Readers may howl and sob, but there it is. I feel your pain.

Recently I’ve been rereading my favourite Larry McMurtrys. This morning, woken early by a window-rattling easterly  –  a grand day for the drying, as they say in Ireland  –  I decided to read a couple of chapters of Lonesome Dove before I got up to brew tea. And gosh dern it if (SPOILER ALERT) Augustus McCrae didn’t up and die again. Nooooh……

It gets me every time. ‘How,’ I think, ‘can I go on and read The Streets of Laredo now Gus is gone? But I do. Bereft but still hooked, I read on.

On the topic of bereavement, I’ve also been speed-reading the much praised A Half Baked Idea by Olivia Potts. I bought it having in mind to give it to someone who seems a bit stuck in a rut of grief, but I thought I’d read it myself first, with very clean fingers.

It’s well-written and very moving but I could have liked it a whole lot more had I not been so horrified by the appalling waste of ingredients, failed projects scraped into a bin, sacrificed on the altar of perfection required for a Cordon Bleu Diplome de Patisserie. However I did very much like the idea of incorporating Rolos into a banana cake.


  1. Linda Fallas on September 11, 2019 at 2:37 am

    Woodrow was my favourite, but maybe that was my crush on Tommy Lee Jones! Happy days,my copy of your new book has arrived at my library just in time for my holiday.

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