Confessions of a Noiraholic


NYC HIROSHIMA ANNIVERSARYGive me a dead body and I’m happy.

Rural England, 1793, two unaccounted-for corpses found in an old woman’s coffin.  Island of Bones by Imogen Robertson. These are the types of stories that keep me up till 2am, scrunched in the little white corner chair squinting beside a lamp intended for a doll house. But not just historical mysteries either. I share equally this passion with regional mysteries – Gianrico Carofiglio, Arturo Perez-Reverte. Foreign landscapes and trips back in time light up the inside of my brain and have a way of inspiring the more mundane writing of my grown-up life.

While plotting the beginnings of a new thriller, I find myself once again reverting to the books I most loved when I was little. The Chronicles of Narnia, The Princess and the Goblin, The Velveteen Rabbit, so many.


Though not really thrillers, their imaginative details collectively began germinating the landscape of my imagination. A little girl in a lonely castle with a magic ring that leads to her invisible grandmother. To this day, John MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin is one of the most clever stories I ever read. So when I’m stuck in my writing, and either don’t know where to go next or just lose my steam, I keep copies of my childhood favs readily in my home office. What were your favorite childhood books? Download them and start reading them again the next time your well feels dry…and something magical might happen!


2 thoughts on “Confessions of a Noiraholic

  1. Mark Ross

    … not much into fiction/fantasy… I’ve a true story: back in the mid 80s I was riding my bicycle down the west coast of Ireland. While going down “The Corkscrew” my freewheel came apart and I had to “scooter” (push with a foot) for 7 miles… to the little town of Lisdoovarna. I checked into this giant hotel… only to find that I was the only guest. There were wings in all directions and ball rooms… and the locals were all at the bar. Knowing something of Irish hospitality I talked up my predicament… and lo and behold the owner of the hotel himself offered to take me to a nearby town to a bike shop. He called ahead and arranged a meeting later that evening. After effecting the repair we returned to the Hotel where I was told that they turned on the boiler so I could take a shower. All the water from the shower drained into the lobby, however. I awoke that night to see a human hulk hovering over me… it was my rain slicker hanging from the closet door. So there.

  2. John Orman

    Yes, I love the Velveteen Rabbit, and look for magic as well in other classics like The Little Prince and Charlotte’s Web. Anything by Dr. Seuss will get me started on some offbeat ideas!

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