Alafair Burke (b. October 16): “The best crime novels are based on people keeping secrets.”

16 Oct

Alafair Burke, born 16 October 1969, is an American crime novelist, professor of law, and legal commentator. She is the author of two series of crime novels — featuring Detective Ellie Hatcher and prosecutor Samantha Kincaid. She is the daughter of novelist James lee Burke.

Quotes on writing:

  1. I was the weirdest kid: I wanted to see the police file – in grade school! I was convinced I could crack the case if I just had that file.
  2. The best crime novels are all based on people keeping secrets. All lying – you may think a lie is harmless, but you put them all together and there’s a calamity.
  3. I strive to make my books appear effortless. For readers to lose themselves in a book, they should be able to believe that story, characters, and settings exist in a parallel world.
  4. The horrible things people do to each other – and the ways those acts can bring out the best in others – is tremendously fertile ground for a writer. I wrote a book a few years ago where every single character was motivated by love. We tend to think about people as good or bad, but I think crime fiction challenges those simplistic assumptions. 
  5. I was downright obnoxious. In second grade, we had some program where we kept a public list of all the books we’d read. I think it even included the number of pages. In my nerdy mind, having the longest and most impressive list was somehow going to make up for the fact that I couldn’t climb a rope or do a backwards somersault in PhysEd.


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