As a writer, I believe in listening to readers. At least twenty people (mainly, but not exclusively, British) read my thrillers before they’re published. In fact, I use a rather corporate questionnaire to seek their feedback. After a rewrite, the books are crisper, tighter and even more fast-paced.
So what do readers ask for? The top request is more sex, to maintain that racy, blockbuster feel. They’re also deeply interested in the characters’ emotions. Darker feelings in particular – resentment, jealousy, fear, shame, desire and revenge – are powerful drivers that keep the plot moving. After all, stories aren’t just about the setting, even in an enigmatic industry like Big Tobacco.
While sex sells, at Easter, it’s chocolate that fills the TV screens. Ads that combine both (for example, Cadbury’s Flake) are tremendously successful. Eating chocolate is said to trigger pleasure chemicals in the brain – just like other activities we find enjoyable. Without commenting on the science, it’s rather obvious that chocolate contains energy-boosting sugar as well. If it tastes wonderful, it’s bound to make you feel wonderful, so on this lovely Easter day, have a little of what you fancy – it’ll do you good.
The draft of my third thriller, due out Summer 2015, contains a chapter to please chocolate lovers! But will they ask for more?…
By the way, if you’re in Birmingham and looking for that feelgood factor without the calories, come along to The Book Club at Waterstones, High Street, on Tuesday 7th April at 7pm. In a two hour event, I’ll be reading a new short story live, plus a chapter from seductive thriller After The Interview, and there will be lots of great chat and networking going on. No need to book your free ticket; just turn up.
I’ll be telling newsletter subscribers more about my third novel and giving them a chance to read the draft before it’s published, so please subscribe here to stay informed!