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November 11, 2009



Thank you for posting this. It shows more clearly than anything I've read the situation faced by many authors who should have had a better chance.

Dana King

I read Declan's blog just before coming here, and posted a long comment there. I'm lucky enough to have read three of his books (EIGHTBALL BOOGIE, THE BIG O, and the as yet unpublished CRIME ALWAYS PAYS), and they're all good reads, especially the last two. I thought THE BIG O was one of the five best books I read last year.

I'm even luckier to have gotten to know Dec a little, and we spent time together at the 2008 Bouchercon in Baltimore. He's a fine fellow, and tireless in his support of other writers. I hope he reconsiders to at least find a niche in his life for fiction writing, as his books read like Elmore Leonard writing from a Carl Hiaasen outline and are about as much fun as can be had with one's clothes on. If karma mean anything, Squire Burke will do well.


This is sad, but unfortunately, very understandable.

Scott Phillips

I've felt that way myself a lot the last two or three years, so I understand, but damn it, he's a fine writer and I hope he changes his mind.

Cameron Hughes

Such a shame. Eight Ball Boogie and The Big O are fantastic. He should be a bigger name.

jenny milchman

It seems like if we applied the Wisdom of Crowds approach, this author might be a best seller (as would some others now going unnoticed). I wonder what the publishing model needs to do to bring the right books to the right readers? It's a little hit or miss considering that, as Declan says, lives and careers are at stake.

Pepper Smith

I gave up writing during the first seven years of my son's life, since it felt wrong to take that time away from him when he needed it. Once he was of school age, I eased back into writing. Maybe Declan will find something similar happening with him.

Once the writing bug gets a firm hold on you, it's very difficult to keep it away forever.

maxim j.

terribly sad but understandable. Declan's loss would be regrettable, if understandable

Beth Kanell

The thing is, a well-written work of crime fiction that includes depth and change in its characters is a proposal that says loss can or may be balanced by redemption of some sort. And that's not "diversion" -- an author who can convince us of that truth gives us the hope we need for life on life's terms. That's why I believe crime fiction still calls us to write it well, even though financially it's not the career that we wish it could be. We writers have the chance to add strength and maybe even justice to our world.

Michelle Gagnon

I think Declan expressed very well what a lot of us are grappling with these days. The market is becoming more and more difficult to break into, advances are shrinking, and the marketing demands placed on writers are at times overwhelming. But I love Declan's work, it would be such a shame to lose it...

Edward Champion

The pivotal modifier that Burke uses here is "immoral," which cuts right to the heart of the matter. Writing novels is a fairly selfish and mostly thankless vocation. You have to be a bit crazy and stubborn to do it. While considerable recourse and resources should remain in place to ensure that good talent continues to write, the novelist must understand this basic reality will not waver as he gets older and as his financial responsibilities escalate. The novelist must therefore find the time and the stamina to feed this "immoral" beast in order to assure "moral" output. If the ability to make such a sacrifice is not there, then maybe this might be better for the marketplace. After all, does anybody really want inferior Burke novels? I would rather see Burke return to fiction writing when he feels that his novels are "vital enough or relevant enough to be worth anyone else’s sacrifice." That statement may indeed be more hopeful in its sentiments than folks here are inferring.

Robert Ward

Reading this sad post is like reading the novel New Grub Street by George Gissing. Written in the 1800's Gissing writes about a novelist Edmund Riordan who tries to survive in the "penny dreadful" world of English publishing. Riordan writes a book which is a literary hit, and for a year he's a star, and gets to marry the girl of his dreams. But she's a bourgeois innocent and has no idea of the struggle he's gone through ,nor what kind of life she'll lead living with an "artist". The story mirrors Gissing's outlaw life, which included one tragedy after another. He was great friends with Wilkie Collins and Dickens but still couldn't make a living. Somehow he persevered though and wrote many books about the working class, even early feminist novels! And New Grub Street which every young writer should be forced to read before embarking on the toughest of lives. Keep the door open Declan. The desire to write is usually impossible to kill.

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