One Reason Why I Write

Richard WheelerThere are lots of reasons why I write mystery novels and thrillers… To entertain myself. To make a living. To tell a story. But sometimes it’s not easy to put my butt in the chair and write. But then I come across a Goodreads blogpost like the one from author Richard Wheeler…and it’s a big motivator.

Each day I read to my wife a couple of chapters from one of Lee Goldberg’s Monk novels, based on the TV series about the obsessive-compulsive San Francisco detective Adrian Monk.

My wife, Sue Hart, is in an assisted living place three blocks from my home. She spent half a century as an English professor, specializing in Montana literature and other fields, before her short-term memory began to fade.

She loves the Monk novels. She had been unfamiliar with them until I started reading them to her in her room, and now she laughs and smiles right along with me, as I spin out the story for her.

There is a genius to the Monk novels. Mr. Monk is crazy and outrageous– but we don’t laugh at him, because there is the pathos about him, and what we feel is tenderness toward him, no matter how peculiar he seems.

These reading sessions, which light up my wife, have made me aware of how gifted Lee Goldberg is as a novelist and storyteller. There is something about reading a story out loud, and catching the response, that tells me more about the work than if I had read it silently to myself. And it is telling me that Lee Goldberg is a splendid storyteller with a great sense of the human condition.

I am touched, and very flattered, by Richard’s post. I’ve received quite a few letters from people who read my books while going through chemotherapy, or healing from an injury, and they tell me how much the laughter, or the mystery, or the adventure has helped them deal with, or forget, the pain. That’s just amazing to me. So now I think of those people whenever I sit down to write.

10 thoughts on “One Reason Why I Write”

  1. I have just read Richard Wheeler’s wonderful words about reading your Monk novels aloud to his wife. While telling a beautiful love story, Mr. Wheeler, gave you an amazing award for your hard work. It is well deserved!!

  2. What a wonderful story from Richard Wheeler. How flattering and yes, it would definitely be an inspiration to write. Very happy that you share your inspiration with us. Thank you.

  3. I always like re-reading a chapter or two of a Monk novel, it just picks me up. It’s just lovely that Richard reads them to his wife, I’m sure it picks her up, too.

  4. Indeed. Your Monk books are wonderful. I saw a lady going through the audiobooks at the library and we got to chatting. She wanted something to keep her distracted during her hours of sitting through dialysis. I grabbed one of the Monk books and told her it would absolutely keep her distracted. Strangely, she’d never heard of the TV show, but was familiar with Murder She Wrote and Diagnosis Murder. She was delighted to have something similar. She was such a sweetheart!

    I’ve a road trip coming up. Your words are going to keep me company. 😉

  5. Lee, I’m touched at hearing about the folks who have enjoyed your novels while going through terrible challenges. This new letter from an author whom I came to admire long ago before I even read anything in the mystery genre delights me, as sorrowful as the background is–the reason he must read to his wife, I mean. Now that I know he appreciates you, I’ll just have to be buying one of his again, and yours that inspired the letter, of course! Thanks for posting.

  6. I’ll add a “Wow!” to these congratulatory comments. I’ve known of couples in Richard’s situation who choose to spend time together sharing faith-based readings or familiar songs. It’s wonderful that – of any number of various choices including Richard’s own works – it’s the Monk novels that do it for them. Wow!
    P. S. I always enjoy your blog, thanks for this.

  7. Sue continues to love the Monk novels. I’ve kept on reading them to her, but was forced to stop by a health crisis. I.m getting past that and maybe can read soon.


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