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

16 Oct
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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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