Writing a hard-hitting, suspenseful, action-packed, fast pace thriller is much more of a challenge than many, including some critics, may care to admit. Most modern thrillers, regardless of category (crime, political, espionage, etc.) are plot-driven and the style employed by their writers, though there are many variations, tends to deliberately avoid prose steeped in metaphor and exhaustive description—the preferred style extolled by literary critics. Seldom do we hear critics recognize the fast pace thriller for anything more than its story line. Comments about Tom Clancy’s novels after his death in early October 2013 are a case in point. According to one notable critic, Clancy’s novels “…were not particularly well written.” The frequent use of comments such as this when referring to a good portion of action-oriented thrillers seems a comparison of apples and oranges, especially in this case where the critic seemed to be suggesting that Clancy’s work lacks literary sophistication.
I had been trumpeting the 8 November 2013 launch of my international political thriller, Deep Deception, on Twitter and Facebook for weeks when I ran across a blog which I thought might be relevant to the subject I wanted to address, “men writing female characters.” The blog I am referring to is The Year I Stopped Reading Men, by Anna Szymanski. The reason my eyes landed on this piece is because I was looking for a way to introduce my Facebook and Twitter followers to Caroline Dupré, the “incidental” protagonist in Deep Deception, The Last Chameleon, and other planned books in my Vanguard series. The Szymanski blog, I thought, would give me an up-to-date opinion on this still controversial issue. The piece wasn’t, however, quite what I expected. Instead of helping me gain an objective 360 degree perspective on how my novel might be received and whether views about men writing female characters had undergone significant change, it raised considerable concern.