When strangers on a train or a plane ask what I do for a living, I say, I kill people. This response makes for a short conversation. No eye contact and no sudden movement from my seat-mate. Only peace and quiet. Rare is the fellow passenger who asks why I do it.I suppose I got tired hanging out in a book all day waiting for a story to begin. I write the kind of novels I want to read. And why the theme of solving murders? Violent death is larger than life and it's the great equalizer. By law, every victim is entitled to a paladin and a chase, else life would be cheapened.And the real reason I do this? My brain is simply bent this way. There is nothing else I would rather do. This neatly chains into my theory of the writing life. If you scratch an artist, under the skin you will find a bum who cannot hold down a real job. Conversely, if you scratch a bum... but I have never done that.The heart of my theory has puritan roots: if you love what you do, you cannot call it honest work.