I've always considered authors and readers to be two sides of the same coin and felt that a book should be a form of interaction between them. I sincerely hope when you read one of my books I make it clear that I am in fact talking to you. We may never have met, but I firmly believe that the fact that a reader has chosen to pick up and read a writer's work establishes a definite bond between them.

I suppose, for me, this stemmed from a lifelong aversion to being talked at rather than talked to.

Occasionally I'll hear from a reader or a reviewer of one of my Dick Hardesty mysteries who says "I guessed who the killer was before Dick figured it out," and I am in fact rather tickled when that happens. It shows me two very important (to me) things: 1) that the reader has been thinking for him/her self and taking an active part in the story rather than just sitting back waiting to be told, and 2) that it emphasizes that Dick Hardesty is basically just an average guy and not always the brightest button in the jar. I love Sherlock Holmes, but occasionally his ability to look at a cigarette butt and tell that whoever dropped it was left-handed, has a missing incisor, and walked with a limp sort of intimidates me...and I really prefer not to be intimidated by a writer.

The placing and picking up of clues is another fun part of the game. I go to very great lengths not only to plant clues, but once having planted them, to be sure the reader will, if he/she so chooses...be able to go back at the end of the story and say "Aha! That's what that meant."

Since the Dick Hardesty series is about to expanded from ten books to eleven with the impending release of The Dream Ender, I'd like to feel confident that I have created an entire world in which the reader can feel comfortable. The city in which Dick lives and most of the books are set does not exist on any map, yet I hope the reader feels as at home there as Dick does. The same bars, restaurants, streets, buildings, parks, and geological features--not to mention characters--appear in book after book, and since they exist nowhere else in literature or the world, I like to think this creates a very special connection between me and the reader It's like our secret handshake, our private club.

If you've read my books, I hope you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you haven't, I would hope you might be tempted to find out. Start by going to my website (http://www.doriengrey.net) and then, as J.M. Barry says, "second star to the right, and straight on till morning."

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