A serial killer?¬† Well, I didn't become one, of course.¬† Not exactly.¬†
But lately, and I have to admit the following part is true, people are
dropping dead all around me.¬† And by my hand.¬†
Of course my hand is on the computer keyboard whenever bad things happen.¬† And
the people dropping dead?¬† Not nice people, for the most part.¬† People you and I
would cross the street to avoid.¬† People who enjoy causing trouble for others.¬†
People who are sure the world revolves around them.
Serial killers get to choose their victims.¬† And there are so many places to
look.¬† Take reality shows, for instance.¬† Haven't you ever wanted to rid
the world‚Äďor at least the television studio‚Äďof some of those judges? ¬†You know
the ones I mean.¬† They're sarcastic and egotistic and often downright cruel, all
in the name of ratings.¬† They're the ones we love to hate, and still, like
bystanders staring at a train wreck, we just can't seem to pull ourselves away.
Well, I got rid of one of them this year.¬† Yes indeed, that particular judge is
gone, finished, departed.¬† First I set him up for the fall, then mercilessly, I
did the deed.¬† And when I finished, I began to look around for my next victim.
Oh, and while I was looking, I also had to come up with the title for my
next mystery novel.¬† Because that's as close to being a serial killer as
I'll ever come. In addition to more cheerful women's fiction, I also write
mysteries.¬† And the novel with the reality show judge?¬† A Lie for A
was just published by Berkley Prime Crime.¬† You'll find it in the mystery
section of your local bookstore.¬† I dare you.
So what's a girl like me doing in a place like this?¬† In real life, I'm meek and
mild.¬† I don't make hit lists of people I don't like.¬† I tend to see the hurt
child behind the nasty adult, the little boy or girl crying out for love and
never receiving it.¬† I rescue small animals‚Äďsee my last blog.¬† My
so finely tuned that I'm still worried about things I said in seventh grade to
other giggling seventh graders.
So why is a meek and mild author, known mostly for feel good novels, killing
people on paper?¬† One victim a year, in fact.¬† All in the same sleepy Ohio town.
The appeal of a mystery novel for a reader is varied.¬† First we have a puzzle to
solve, and a good mystery makes that a challenge while still playing fair with
the reader.¬† Then we have the promise of intriguing, even quirky characters,
usually vividly described.¬† In an ongoing series we have the promise of old
friends who've made a change or two since the last novel, and we can visit a
community that, after a book or two, begins to feel like home.¬† And finally we
have the promise of a payoff.¬† Good will overcome evil.¬† The bad guy or gal will
be brought to justice.¬† The scheming reality show judge will get his just
But what's the pay off for the writer?¬†
I can't speak for my colleagues.¬† I don't know why Diane Mott Davidson does
she does so well, or why Michael Connelly does, or
why the late and greatly
mourned Tony Hillerman
did.¬† I can only speak for myself.¬† When it comes right
down to it, I added mystery novels to my writing resume because the challenge
was new, and the payoff was extraordinary.¬† For the months each year when I work
on my mysteries, I'm transported to a world I created, and into the head of my
sleuth, Aggie Sloan-Wilcox, which is a very odd place to be.¬† Each day I grapple
with good and bad, right and wrong, and always, always, with the promise
that when the book is completed, all will be right with the world.
Now how often can anybody say that?
I still write my other books, too.¬† I love all my children equally, and all my
books exactly the same.¬† Only sometimes, when the characters in my women's
fiction novels are falling in love, I do find myself thinking about my next
victim.¬† Let's hope I never get the two genres confused.
8 comments posted.
Hey - whether you're killing off (deserving) people, or mending family hurts, you are the best!!
Thanks for all the enjoyment you have given me thru the years.
(Betty Cox 12:35pm February 6, 2009)
I'm looking forward to reading this series - I love series esp w/funny female leads!
(Kelli Jo Calvert 1:02pm February 6, 2009)
Thanks to you all. So glad you approved of my victim and my writing. I'm on my way to Guatemala, and now I'm leaving with a smile. Best to everybody!
(Emilie Richards 4:30pm February 6, 2009)
While it is true some people need to be killed ,it always entertaining HOW an author kills...
(Dawn Raymer 4:56pm February 6, 2009)