It was a rainy, stormy day, and I needed something entertaining to read. I subscribe to Reader’s Digest Select Editions, and I had already read three of the condensed novels, leaving A Dublin Student Doctor by Irish author Patrick Taylor. The book looked too tedious, and tedious wasn’t the kind of story I needed for on a rainy afternoon. Finally, I sighed rather laboriously, and decided to give Dr. Taylor a chance.
One thing that really puts me off on any novel is one-dimensional characters that seem to know nothing, feel nothing, and accomplish little except to exercise the other bland set of characters in the story. To say that I loved Patrick Taylor’s book, is not eloquent enough to give justice to what he did.
A few weeks ago I received an email from a man in Florida who had read one of my books and cobbled a review together that blasted me for creating characters that were too complicated. “Your character was too much of a busybody who spent too much time with his love interest, when he could have been doing something else,” he said.
I was not unkind enough to tell this reader that maybe he should read something else by another author, but the thought did cross my mind. I am an old goat that has been around a long time, done most of the things that an ordinary person can do, and I know that real people are very complicated. There was a documentary last year about serial killers. One thing that was surprising to many, but not to me was the revelation that many of these criminals were loving family men; good fathers, considerate toward their wives, and enjoyable to be around.
People are many-dimensional, and it should be reflected in the author’s story. Regardless of how dedicated, busy, complicated, lovable, or depraved a person is, they have someone they love. I love complicated fiction where the characters are many things to many people and their lives are complex, fought with danger, periods of happiness, and frustration. Or to put it another way, I love stories that entertain me, challenge me, and teach me a little of what life is all about. It is the kind of novels I write, and I hope it is the kind of stories you like to read. Enough for now, I need to get back to my latest novel.