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Comment from the book world in May 2019

May 2019

'85% of crime readers are women'

13 May 2019

‘I get gendered questions about the violence. I'll give you a case study: a few years back, I got an email from Lee Child - who I love - saying he just read my recent book and he had just finished writing something with a similar theme. When I was doing press for that book, I got a lot of questions about the violence; Lee didn't get any. And there's Jack Reacher, going around killing around 3,000 people and beating everybody up...

With Reacher, you're never really scared he's going to get hurt. My characters are more vulnerable, so if I kill one person in a horrible way, it resonates. Keep in mind that 85% of crime readers are women. It makes sense that women reading about women being murdered is going to resonate more, probably because the real world is a very dangerous place...

I love character-driven books but hate when the crime is almost secondary. But I never want to go the opposite way. I think James Patterson does a really great job at what he does, but you're never going to close a book of his and wonder what's happening with those characters a week later. I want my characters to be strong enough that they live on in readers' heads for a while.'

Karin Slaughter, author of The Last Widow (to be published in June), Fractured, Faithless, Pretty Girls and 15 other novels in the Bookseller.




'It's just an opinion.'

6 May 2019

‘Why would anybody be intimidated by mere words? I mean, neither I nor any other atheist that I know ever threatens violence. We never threaten to fly planes into skyscrapers. We never threaten suicide bombs. We are very gentle people. All we do is use words to talk about things like the cosmos, the origin of the universe, evolution, the origin of life. What's there to be frightened of? It's just an opinion.'

Richard Dawkins, ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author of The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, The Enemies of Reason, River out of Eden, The God Delusion and 9 other books.

'Living in a novel for ages'

2 May 2019

‘I knew it had to be a long book. That was partly because I guess I was thinking that the one thing that the novel as an art form has over other art forms is time. I think I got this from those 19th century books I read when I was younger. One of the great pleasures I used to get was sort of living in a novel for ages. And I suspect that with a first novel you are unconscious of your influences, so what I grew up reading is still kind of in me. I may not have been reading 19th century books while I was writing, but there might have been some unconscious influence. Maybe I've written something slightly old-fashioned in the sense that it's a great sprawling thing with tons of characters.'

Isabella Hammad, whose highly-praised nearly 600 page first novel The Parisian was published in April.