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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Out of your 'comfort zone'

“’Shun security,’ I advise aspiring novelists when they complain to me that they are stuck. 'Get disoriented.’ Maybe your agonizing writing block isn't agonizing enough. Your enemy is comfort.” – John Burdett

Burdett is a former lawyer who lived and worked in Hong Kong for 12 years, where he started writing, including a novel I thought had one of the best titles ever:  The Last Six Million Seconds, a murder mystery set there in 1997, when Hong Kong was moving from Great Britain to China. 

Burdett never really wanted to be a lawyer.  He actually studied English and American Literature at Warwick University where he specialized in the unique combination of Shakespeare and metaphysical poetry.  But, out of despair during the British economic and political crises of the 1970s, he switched to Law.  But, the draw of writing was too great and he abandoned law to pursue a career as a novelist. 


Burdett now splits his time between France and Bangkok and continues to research his novels in various locations in Thailand, where he has created an amazing half-American, half-Thai Buddhist detective named Sonchai Jitpleecheep.  Trust me, this character and these books are fabulous reading and definitely show off Burdett’s ability to write “out of a comfort zone.”

As he likes to say, “The world other than as advertised can be an amazing place.”  Especially when you write about it.

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