A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!

Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Monday, April 20, 2015

Amateur Sleuths are Fun

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?

Then, there’s her real life. I love filtering in those mundane relentless obligations that don't seem to care if there's a murder to be solved. You know, like dinner at your Mom's or that dumb bunny boss who thinks you should come in once and a while. Obligations are something everyone understands and thy're extra funny when they aren't ours. I keep lots of things on my heroine's plate. Finding trouble for them is easy and kind of a hoot. My heroines are unfortunately like me in another way, too: quick to act and slow to worry. They're loved by their communities and have commitments to tend to when not being chased, threatened or abducted. 

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?


jean harrington said...

My favorite thing about reading and writing cozy mystery novels is everything you expressed, Julie. They're fun puzzles. Both to read and write. Humor and mayhem mixed together is a wonderfully enjoyable, and yes, lethal mix.

I like that you emphasized how nearly all cozy protagonists are females. Maybe for that reason their bumbling attempts to solve crimes is charming whereas in a man it would be less so. Hmm. You've given me food for thought.

Cathy Perkins said...

Wonderful post, Julie! After several dark stories, I'm also having fun with the lighter end of the mystery spectrum. Free from the constraints of police procedure, it's so much fun to pull in friends, relationships, the town and personal issues to bring the story to life.
Jean, I read one story (okay part of one story) where the protag was a bumbling male. The less than likeable hero was (sadly) only one of the reasons I abandoned it.

Anne Marie Becker said...

I love this: "Women are tenacious, curious and resilient, not to mention crafty." :D

I write more thriller than cozy, but I love the fun element when reading cozies. The quirkier the better. :)

Rita said...

I enjoy different, the twists and turns. I really like to go back for a second read and see all the foreshadowing I missed. I always miss a lot. LOL.

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