What's your mission as a writer? What do you hope readers will take away from your work?
My writing is set overseas and I hope that as well as enjoying the story and finding the characters intriguing, the reader will come away with a sense of place and culture.
One of my favourite authors is Graham Greene because after reading his books I feel I have learned something about the country e.g. I read The Heart of the Matter when I was in West Africa which gave me valuable insights. †Similarly I read Somerset Maugham before working in Borneo and he prepared me for the heat, the Malays, the expatriate circles.†
I would like the readers to think about the situation, especially if it is alien and speculate why the characters behave the way they do. There should be a sense of mystery and ambiguity like real life. Things are rarely clear cut; characters are complex and flawed.
The story should linger with the reader as they reflect.
Topical events are interesting because news stories are often multi-faceted depending on the politics of the paper. It is good to jolt †readers' misconceptions and preconceived ideas.
The main mission is for the reader to enjoy the story. How often can this be said of some of the great prize-winning novels? Well written but enjoyable?