On producing a page-turner

Do literary authors ever set out to write page-turners? Ms. Ninja, for instance, starts with a thriller idea and crafts it into a literary novel with sass, momentum, and cinematic potential, but much so-called literature feels like a real slog, I can see why this young person might start with the idea to write something fast-paced enough to be read in one sitting. I have written most of two novels: a literary one that revolves around guns and explosions, and fantasy one that revolves around literary tropes. I would hope either would be page-turning, given that the only way I come back to them every day is if I find the story interesting. How do people ever complete boring novels?

Pictured: Not Carmen Starnino

But my ultimate goal remained to write a book so compulsively readable that a fast reader might devour the whole thing in a single sitting: one airplane journey, or one rainy afternoon spent curled up in an armchair.

There is something singular in the escapism offered by a book that hooks you from the first pages and won’t let go. During the strange year of 2020, as I struggled to adjust to life under the ever-shifting restrictions, I found that my relationship with books shifted too. Reading went from being a pleasure and mental exercise, a joy sprinkled over the top of my life, to a form of essential escapism. Any book that grabbed my attention from the opening pages and held it until the last, that allowed me to spend those in-between hours somewhere other than my room, felt like the greatest find.

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