Detective mystery writer Dennis Lehane was recently interviewed in Entertainment Weekly. After five bestselling whodunits, he's hanging up his detective hat for historical fiction. He says, "I was never comfortable with them anyway. I'd be writing these figgin' whodunits and I could care less. I wanna tell everybody on page 2, he killed so and so, he done it! If you look at my books in that regard - and I'll be 100% honest about my flaws - you can see how I was whipping out the kitchen sink just to obscure s---."
So he's done with them.
Which begs the question, if he didn't like them so much in the first place, why did he write them?
Because they were marketable? Because he could garner interest with them? Did he like to read them and think he could write them?
I find this so interesting because, with the publishing industry as tight as it is, I've found myself asking, what is more marketable? What kind of book is more likely to get my foot in the door?
And I tried. I tried to write something I thought might be easier to break into the industry. I just couldn't. Not that I couldn't put the words on the page, but I couldn't fall in love with it. It felt like crap.
I've contemplated the idea of writing as a job. Sometimes jobs aren't always fun. Sometimes, you do what you have to in order to make a living. Do I want to write badly enough to veer from what I am most drawn to? Is that smart, or selling out?
For those of you who are writers, why do you write what you write? Would you write something else if it was the only way to get published? And is that the smart thing to do?