I just got home from a long weekend at the SOKY (Southern Kentucky) Book Fest where I had (so So SO much fun!!) the opportunity to meet, chat with and even be on a panel with amazing mystery writers like Duffy Brown, Anna Lee Huber, Tonya Kapes and more. Throughout the event, one question I heard again and again was, "Why cozy?" And the answer I kept coming back to is, "Because cozy is FUN!"
Dead serious. Pun intended. Mystery writing is a load of fun, especially where an amateur female sleuth is involved. Women are tenacious, curious and resilient, not to mention crafty. Let’s face it, once we get it in our minds to accomplish something, it’s going to happen. Period. Clean that stubborn grout? Done. Find Egyptian cotton sheets at a discount low enough to crumble the pyramids? Easy. Catch a killer? Well…why not?
Creating the perfect heroine? Also fun. She’s every woman. Creating the perfect crime was a little harder. If mystery writing taught me anything, it's that I'm no criminal mastermind. I do, however, know how to cause trouble. So, I outline the crime, put myself in my heroine’s super cute shoes and ask myself, “What would I do first?”
Right? If we have a problem, we need a plan to solve it. I am a dedicated planner. Normally, I start with the facts and resources already on hand or readily available. That part’s easy enough, but what happens when the resources run out? Well, that’s when a girl’s got to get resourceful.
My heroines are curious and motivated, just like her creator, but this isn’t a James Bond book. She has to get information in legal ways without a crack team of gun-toting, tech-savvy backup waiting in the wings. This is where I have the most fun. Thinking outside the box. I wonder: How can she get answers? Where should she look next? Better yet, how much trouble can she get into while looking? The short answer to my last question is SO MUCH TROUBLE.
In my Patience Price Mysteries, Patience is eager to find a killer and protect her beloved little island. She looks at evidence, talks to locals and tourists and really gets the ball rolling. Much like you or I would do. As it turns out, killers don’t like snooping. And then the real fun begins for me.
Hey, launching a private investigation is no easy task, especially for an amateur. Stakeouts and tailing suspects can ruin a girl’s sleep and worry her parents. It can also irritate her FBI boyfriend who insists she drop her investigation and stay out of his way. Not something a woman wants to hear, so she doesn’t listen. Obviously. Who does he think he is?
Writing the antics and shenanigans of a small town girls turned investigators is a blast. The locals are quirky. Families are a riot and romance is in the air like napalm. Nevertheless, curiosity prevails. Crimes get solved and bad guys are thwarted. My heroines are everything I would be, if only I wasn’t afraid of my shadow, and writing the investigation of an amateur sleuth wasn’t such a blast. For now, I'll stay home where it's safe and write more fabulous shenanigans.
What is your favorite thing about reading or writing mystery?