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

July Interviews

7/1 Lena Gregory, Scone Cold Killer
7/8 Jessica Baker, Murder on the Flying Scotsman
7/15 TG Wolff, Driving Reign
7/22 Leslie Budewitz, The Solace of Bay Leaves
7/29 Cynthia Kuhn, The Study of Secrets

Saturday Guest Bloggers

7/11 Mark Dressler
7/18 James McCrone

WWK Bloggers:

7/4 Valerie Burns
7/25 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Why I Write of Murder

A fellow WWK blogger wrote last week about how mystery authors are able to murder people on the page.  I agree with Gloria that most mystery writers (if not all) are probably quite nice, deeply emotional people.  Certainly any I've met are wonderfully fun people, who come from all different walks of life.  The one constant among them is that they like to write about death.

Like Gloria, I am a crier.  I have my own movies that make me cry, even after the 25th viewing, and always in the same places.  I don't get as teary-eyed when reading books--mostly because I prefer to read mysteries--but there have been one or two books that I've thrown across the room, because I became so upset over what I'd read.  And I will admit that I cry when most of the characters are killed in the Harry Potter books, including Professor Snape . . . even after several readings.

Since I too, am a sentimental person, why do I enjoy writing about murder?  I think I've mentioned before that I think writers are in tune with all the human emotions; even the "uglier" ones.  We need to be so attuned, in order to write believable characters that people will enjoy reading for 200 plus pages.

But I also feel that we get a chance to make the murders end in more satisfactory ways than sometimes happens in real life.  Some might think that writing about murder is "horrible," or "creepy," but those people seem to miss the point that we also write about solving the murder.  We write about killers being brought to justice.  We wouldn't be able to write about such sweet justice if we couldn't first write about the deaths that bring about the need for said retribution.

Take any horrible tragedy that you read about in the daily papers, and we can write it however we want, twisting certain plot points, and introducing characters to bring a somewhat happy ending to something that might otherwise end in more tragedy.  Some murder cases never get solved, because there aren't enough clues to lead the cops to the perpetrator(s).  But a mystery writer can take pen in hand and write the story differently, finding (read "creating") the one piece of evidence that breaks the case wide open.

The other cool thing that comes from writing mysteries (for me, anyway), is that you get to wow all your friends with how quickly you can solve a mystery.  I can't tell you how many times I've had people bet me that I wouldn't be able to figure out "who done it," only to be frustrated later when I point out the culprit before the movie (or book) is half over.

Now's your chance to tell us what movie (or book) you were told you'd never "guess," that you actually solved quickly.  Please don't give away the ending (for those of us who may not have seen/read the mystery), but definitely tell us the title.


Linda Rodriguez said...

I've got to confess, Alyx. When I read mysteries, I'm not reading for the puzzle aspect. I read for the characters and to see how they behave under circumstances that test their mettle. I can enjoy suspense novels and thrillers where the villain's known as much as actual mysteries where the protagonist is having to figure out who did it. If a book is mostly just puzzle, I won't finish it.

That said, if a book is a mystery but so obvious that the protagonist has to be wilfully stupid to miss it, I also won't finish it. Like Whitman, I contain multitudes. ;-)

Gloria Alden said...

Like you, Alyx, I'm usually able to figure out who dunnit. I enjoy matching wits with the author. I'm disappointed, though, if the murderer is brought in late in the story with no real clues before hand.

I just finished reading Elizabeth George's book PLAYING FOR THE ASHES. I'd figured out the killer early in the novel and kind of stuck with my choice even though said killer seemed to have an air tight alibi. For various reasons, I'd discounted the other suspects. I do like George's plots and characters.

By the way, Elizabeth George is going to be guest of honor at Bouchercon in Cleveland this year. My Sinc chapter is working the conference this year so I'm excited about meeting her.

E. B. Davis said...

I read so much, it's hard to remember all the books by title. But, if a book is good, even if I figure out whodunnit, I want to find out how the MC figures it out. I like to see how one clue leads to another and focus on the logic and deductions the MC makes. That's the mystery to me. I also like when the character development makes it natural for the MC's conclusions. Like Monk, who through his obsessive behavior knows details that no one else would ever consider. Yikes! That's a TV show.

Gloria--I'm envious. I've never been to Bouchercon.

Gloria Alden said...

E.B. I never have, either, but it's only 50 miles from me so I thought I'd try it. I understand it's quite large and not as friendly as Malice, Crimebake or Love is Murder - the conferences I've attended.

Alyx Morgan said...

I can enjoy books where the killer is known right off the bat, too, Linda. But I truly do enjoy the mystery solving aspect of the ones where s/he's not fingered right away.

Alyx Morgan said...

I've never read Elizabeth George, so I'll check her out. Thanks Gloria.

And I hope you enjoy Bouchercon. I went to the one here in SF a couple years ago. I only volunteered in the coffee room for a day, but it was cool to be surrounded by all these authors & fans.

Alyx Morgan said...

I LOVE Monk, EB. That was one of my favorite shows. And yes, while I knew early on in the episodes who'd committed the crime, I enjoyed watching Monk figure it out.

I should admit that - while I have a knack for "feeling" who the villain is - I don't always know the clues that point to him/her. Sometimes I've got both down pat, but not always.

Maddy said...

Too many to list, but I'm so 'bad' that if the killer is too obvious in any novel [or movie or TV programme] then I become to frustrated to finish it - although I'm forced to always finish just in case I'm wrong - which doesn't happen often: )

Warren Bull said...

Like most of us, I read as a writer attending to style, character development, and plot devices more than to the puzzle piece. In the movie Chinatown, I commented during the movie about the relationships between father, daughter and granddaughter. That was from my job experience not from my writing. It was extremely well acted.

Alyx Morgan said...

I don't know that I've ever become too frustrated to finish a mystery because the killer was too obvious, Maddy. I have become frustrated for the reason Gloria states about murderers being brought in too late in the story.

BTW, if you want to see a great parody making fun of that exact issue, watch Murder By Death. Such a wonderfully compiled group of actors, & such tongue in cheekiness at the world of mystery writers.

Alyx Morgan said...

I can't say I enjoyed Chinatown, Warren, but you're right. The actors were all wonderful.

Unknown said...

I think the mystery, especially the "cozy," is today's morality play. I'm sure that's not a new thought! There is something very satisfying about creating a protagonist who is mostly good (too boring if there is no flaw) who can defeat the antagonist, mostly evil (but somehow compelling). The mystery writer has a message that problems can be overcome, evil can be conquered, through determination, integrity, intelligence - not necessarily through faith and sacrifice, though. We can leave that to those who write in the spiritual or religious genre...