When I was a kid, I quickly realized I didn't have much talent for throwing the baseball or playing a musical instrument or anything like that. What I had was a desire to write - which, of course, is not the same as having talent. That didn't stop me from focusing and honing in, practicing my writing the way other kids practiced free throws or 100-yard sprints.
Pretty early on, it occurred to me that I didn't want to run in the same race as everybody else anyway. A writer should have has her own slant on things. So I decided to go my own way. Even though I write what are classified as "crime novels," I don't have granite-jawed heroes or spunky heroines who always triumph over the bad guys. There are enough of those in the bookstores. I write about people with considerable flaws and consuming struggles, trying to make sense of their lives. I don't expect you to cuddle up to them or want to invite them to your Christmas dinner. But I think they have a lot of heart. Not in the sentimental sense. But in the raw, pulsing, heaving, still-beating-in-spite-of-everything sense.
I certainly don't mean to sound high-minded. After this many years in the game, I don't think a novel (particularly a "crime novel") can - or even should try to - cause great social change and upheaval. Most people just want a good story that can help pass the time on a plane. And that's my goal as well. But every once in a while, it can maybe also give you a slightly different way of looking at the world.