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'Characters they care about'

8 August 2011

'I write full-time, it's my job, I have nothing else to do. I've got no excuse for not writing a book a year... I have no truck at all with this supposed link between quality and quantity, tell that to Mozart...

I understand that it's not everybody's cup of tea, but because I come from a performance background, I'm not shy when in comes to standing up at festivals or in bookshops. I do enjoy that interaction with readers, if anything it's far more enjoyable than the actual process of writing...

It's terribly easy to shock and disgust a reader. It's much harder to make a reader care about characters; what I think I've learned is that there are all these tricks that crime writers talk about, reveals and cliff-hangers and blood and gore, but if you really genuinely want to create suspense what you have to do is give readers characters they care about.'

Mark Billingham, author of Good as Dead, interviewed by Alice O'Keeffe in the Bookseller