Oh, The Questions I Get

Writing books has allowed me to meet so many fabulous readers. I love getting the chance to speak to them about my books.

When I wrote for kids, back in the Mesozoic Period, I used to laugh at their funny and guileless questions.

  • Are you rich?
  • Did your mom help you?
  • Do you really know all those words?

When I transitioned to writing for adults, I continued to get funny and guileless questions.

  • How do you write and take care of your kids and get your laundry folded?
  • Can you help me get an agent?
  • Do you really know all those words?

I get some standard questions, almost every time I’m in front of an audience.

  • Where do you get your ideas?
  • Talk about the research you do.
  • Explain your writing process.

I love answering these. First, because I don’t have to think too hard about the answer, and second, because I ask these same questions of authors.

But recently I was asked a question I’d never been asked before.

And it stumped me.

“Why do you write?”

Hmm. Why do I write.

I stumbled through an acceptable answer that seemed to satisfy him, but I’ve been mulling it over ever since.

Why do I write?

And now I have an answer. A real one.

I write to figure out what I think about something. I write so I can meet readers and other writers. I write to learn about a topic and about myself. I write novels because it seems impossible. I write the next one to see how I’m going to make it happen this time. I write to entertain people, and myself. I write to practice self-discipline. I write to explore human emotion and motivation. I write to make money. I write to prove to the world I was here. I write to learn humility. I write because it seems natural to me to express myself in words. I write because I enjoy a challenge. I write because it keeps me from having to get a real job. I write crime fiction because otherwise, my lifetime of finely curated esoteric trivia about serial killers, poisons, and forensics would spill out at some inopportune place and time and cause deep humiliation for my husband.

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