If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Unbelievably Believable Characters

I was chatting to my sister a few days ago (she’s gotten over her ‘F’ word fixation in case any of you were wondering) and she was telling me about going to see ‘Sex and the City 2’. She’d read somewhere that someone had worked out Carrie’s wardrobe would take a salary of in the range of $600,000 per annum to maintain. Why anyone would spend their time calculating this is beyond me but I think they might be related to one of the scientists trying to explain how Santa Clause manages to deliver presents all over the world in a single night.

A slightly odd use of your time but it does raise some interesting questions. For instance, would Carrie and the girls be such a big hit if they dressed according to what they could realistically afford?

I knew a few girls who used to watch the show for fashion tips and ideas as much as the plotlines. They’d take Carrie’s (or the team that styled her) fashion sense as gospel and used to pay ridiculous amounts for outfits or shoes they could barely walk in.

Me? I’m a flip flop type of gal. I’m short. I accept it. I’m not going to wobble precariously around on four inch toothpick heels to try to pretend I’m not.

In books (TV and movies too), we all have to put reality on hold a little and go with the flow. Has anyone else noticed how female characters in so many books wake up and have to do practically nothing to make themselves presentable (which isn’t quite as bad as in the movies when they wake up with a face full of perfect makeup and artfully dishevelled hair – I don’t even look that good after hours of primping!)? Or that the leading man is naturally buff, supposedly without the aid of a gym....actually, I don’t mind that so much.

As a writer, I understand that’s because no one wants to read ‘I showered, brushed my teeth, spent half an hour applying my makeup, blow dried my hair...etc’ because a) it gets in the way of the story and b) the fact I have to do it is enough, why force it on a character too?

Things like that I can accept. I didn’t even really mind when Janet Evanovich’s Ranger grew a few inches somewhere between her first and third book and suddenly became a viable romantic interest for Stephanie. I think it’s necessary to postpone reality a little when reading because really, isn’t that why we’re reading in the first place?

If you pick up a book in the currently popular vampire/shapeshifter Urban Fantasy genre then you’re willingly surrendering reality at the outset because we all know that vampires and shapeshifters don’t really exist (right?). But what about cosy whodunnit’s? When the maniacal samurai sword wielding psychopath, murdering people who have an excess of vowels in their name, is revealed to be the protagonist’s childhood sweetheart/Great Aunt Maude/local mousy librarian? Is that too far out of the realms of possibility for you?

Is it possible? Of course. Is it probable? Not really, but the killer can’t be who you expected all along or you’d whine there was no twist in the tale.

The problem is where to draw the line? For me, this depends on how the author sets up the world of the protagonist initially and how they react in the early dramatic scenes. If Polly the Protagonist trips over a dead plumber in a graveyard in the middle of the night and her response is “Huh. So that’s why he never came to fix my sink.” then anyone from the mousy librarian to the head of the PTA would make a viable murderer. If, on the other hand, Polly screams until she passes out, I’m just not going to buy it when it’s revealed that Uncle Mike, the local ice cream shop owner who loves kids, did it.

The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, if Polly screamed until she passed out, I would find it annoying (I’m heartless, I know) and secondly, her reaction is too close to a real life response in that situation. And in real life I would be seriously disturbed to think Uncle Mike would wield a sword for so inane a reason. Or if the killer turned out to be Polly’s childhood sweetheart, I wouldn’t be able to accept she’d never had an inkling of his swordsmanship tendencies.

Like I said, I’ll happily leave reality at the door and allow myself to be drawn into a well told tale, but for me, you can’t mix realistic human responses and unrealistic murderous situations. I just won’t buy it. Literally. And if I’m honest, I don’t want a realistic human response to murder and mayhem, if I did, I’d watch the news.

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