Monday, September 19, 2011

Ruth Rendell

Ruth Rendell has won numerous awards, including three Edgars, the highest accolade from Mystery Writers of America, as well as four Gold Daggers and a Diamond Dagger for outstanding contribution to the genre from England's prestigious Crime Writer's Association. A member of the House of Lords, she lives in London.

Her 23d Inspector Wexford novel is The Vault.

From Rendell's Q & A with Alexandra Alter at the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog:

Are you surprised that Wexford has remained popular for so long?

When I first created him almost 50 years ago, I had no idea that he would become a popular character or that his name would become a household word. If I had known, I would have made him much younger to start with. As he got older, I had to eventually retire him…I don’t think I ever will ever kill him off. I can’t.

How has your relationship to the character evolved?

He changed with time. He became more like the sort of person I’d wanted him to be. Men identify with him and women are attracted to him.

Are the Wexford novels easier to write than stand-alones because you are so familiar with him and his back story?

I don’t find any writing to be easy. It doesn’t flow out of me. I do have to think quite deeply about things, but I know what he would say, I know what he would think. So much of him is me, these are my sentiments, these are my feelings. If he’s in a situation that he has to make a moral judgment or form a philosophy, I don’t have to ask what he would think. It’s what I think…He’s tolerant, but...[read on]
Read about Rendell's hero from outside literature.

--Marshal Zeringue