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

Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
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Monday, April 15, 2013

Sometimes You Can Come Home Again

It was with a heavy heart that I left Writers Who Kill last year. I hated to leave my blog mates and our loyal readers, but my life had grown so busy and deadline-laden that I had to let something(s) go. Writers Who Kill was one of the things I had to give up. 

I’ve dropped in from time to time to visit and kept up with many of my blog pals here. It’s been exciting to see all the anthologies in which Warren and E.B. have placed stories and to see Gloria’s and Jim’s new books out. When E.B. asked if I would come back on a more limited basis—I’d been a weekly blogger before—it seemed a good time to rejoin my pals. So here I am, like a bad penny, turning up to rejoin the gang at Writers Who Kill. This time, I’ll be here every other Monday. A big wave to all my old friends and an even bigger one to all of those who are new to me.

In keeping with the theme of homecoming, I’ve been thinking about series books and the way reading a new novel in a beloved series is like a kind of coming home to the places and characters we’ve come to love. (This is an important issue for me right now since my second novel in the Skeet Bannion series, Every Broken Trust, is getting ready to go public on May 7, and I’m naturally anxious to see whether readers will like it as well as they liked its predecessor, Every Last Secret.)

I know when I get my hands on a new Louise Penny or Deborah Crombie or Julia Spencer-Fleming or Margaret Maron or Paul Doiron or Michael Connolly I can’t wait to dive back into Three Pines or Millers Kill and the lives of characters like Judge Deborah Knott or British cops Gemma and Duncan or hotheaded but slowly maturing Mike Bowditch. These are places and people I care about and can’t wait to visit again so I can see what’s been happening with them since my last time in their company.

Recently on the Jungle Red Writers blog, Erin Mitchell talked about some fascinating brain research that shows how the brain actually experiences what it’s reading about in novels. They’ve found that activity shows in the area of the brain dealing with sensory information when the subject reads about a smell or taste and in the area of physical activity when the subject reads about kicking a ball or running from a killer and that studies have shown that those adults and children who read develop more empathy and understanding of varying human behavior and reactions.


I have always maintained that, when I’ve read a book by a really good writer, I’ve truly experienced what happened in that book, as much as if I’d gone through it in real life. This brain research seems to bear that out—and makes it easy for me to understand why these beloved characters seem real to me and I miss them when they’re not around. In fact, I miss Gamache and Gemma and Duncan more than I miss some real people in my life.

As a writer, I’m naturally eager to learn the secrets of making characters become this real to readers. Which characters have that effect on you? What places become real in your eyes? And how do you think the author manages to make it happen?

Incidentally, in honor of my forthcoming book, Every Broken Trust, I’ve put up the first chapter free on my blog and am having a series of giveaways with ARCs and other goodies all month long. So come visit and comment to be entered for the goodies.  http://lindarodriguezwrites.blogspot.com



16 comments:

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Linda, welcome back.

I wholeheartedly agree that I am often more interested in fictional characters than real ones – perhaps it is because fictional life is oftimes more interesting than real life. And it's certainly easier to deal with than some of the tough aspects of real life.

Wishing you the best on the release of EVERY BROKEN TRUST. I’m looking forward to reading it.

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

Welcome home, Linda. We've missed you!

One of the reasons that I must vary my reading is due to that experience factor you cite occurring in the brain. How people can read or watch traumatic events and come away unmoved is beyond me? I had to stop reading Konrath because my dreams became nightmares. Guess that proves that he can write well.

What is the release date for Every Broken Trust?

KM said...

Truly fascinating research!

I have a feeling that this phenomena is exactly why romance is such a popular field (I have to admit I seldom get that from it, but I know lots of people who describe their involvement with the characters that way) I remember reading that in the first of the series romances, the authors were told to generalize physical descriptions of the heroine so that each reader would have an easier time identifying with her, thus enhancing the "I'm there" sensation.

The first book I ever enjoyed after I learned to read (a convoluted tale in itself) was Snow Treasure, by Marie McSwigan. The characters felt like my best friends!

A few of the early Dick Francis characters hit me like that, too. And when that feeling is present, I'm totally hooked.

If someone comes up with a guideline for how to create that in a character, I hope they share it with all of us!

Carla Damron said...

Fascinating. One key to the success of any mystery writer is how well the reader connects with the protagonist. Sometimes, they are like old friends we can't wait to see again.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Jim, I certainly know fictional characters who are more interesting and likeable than some people I know in real life.

I think some of the things I've learned from fiction have helped me deal with tough aspects of real life. I came from a violent, very dysfunctional home as a child, and novels helped me to understand that the bad things I was undergoing were not my fault and to learn how to behave like normal people instead of the violent, negative role models I was given.

Gloria Alden said...

Welcome home, Linda. It's so good to have you back, and I look forward to reading EVERY BROKEN TRUST.

That bit about the brain is fascinating and many of the characters you mention, I feel the same way about. Three Pines is a real place to me. Last summer on a trip through Canada with three sisters, a brother and a brother-in-law, the ones who had also read Penny's books,(all but two) understood when I said I wanted to find Three Pines while we were in the Quebec area. They felt the same way. I'm also one of those who miss certain characters when I finish a book and there's not another one to bring them back.

Warren Bull said...

It's good to have you "home" again. I have a pre-order in for EVERY BROKEN TRUST. I try to use all of the senses in what I write to invite the reader into the story. And Thanks for your review of HEARTLAND.

Linda Rodriguez said...

E.B., I'm very happy to be back with all you great bloggers. EVERY BROKEN TRUST launches on May 7. coming up fast. I just received my first copy of the actual hardcover book. It's even more gorgeous than the cover image, but I can't take a photo of it because my new Android phone needs a memory cartridge before it will take photos. *sigh*

I think you've put your finger on one the problems with the real extreme serial-killer novels that veer into what some call "torture porn." If we're putting those experiences into our brains when we read, are we traumatizing or desensitizing ourselves with such stuff? Either way, it's not particularly good.

Linda Rodriguez said...

KM, I would also like to have that guide to creating a totally believable, lovable character.

I was going to say a writer must be able to like her/his character, but then I thought of Agatha Christie and Conan Doyle, who both came to hate their characters Poirot and Holmes but had to continue writing them anyway. So I guess that's not the way!

Christie wrote a great hilarious send-up of herself as Ariadne Oliver, successful mystery writer, in some of the Poirot mysteries, in which Ariadne goes on at great length about how she detests her character.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Carla,I think you're absolutely right. Making that connection with the protagonist is crucial.

I feel lucky that people have come to care about my own Skeet Bannion and her young ward, Brian. I like them and care about them, but I know that's often not enough. So I hold my breath with each book, hoping it still works. :-)

Peg Nichols said...

I love stories set in places I have never been, but I also love stories about the familiar. I am amused all over again every time I think of Joel Goldman's ex-FBI Jack Davis, (forget which story) who thinks he has rented a house in Brookside, only to be bamboozled later when the real owner shows up unexpectedly.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Peg, I think you're right. There's always a little extra fillip of pleasure when we encounter the familiar in a book. It may be familiar because we live or have lived there, or it may be familiar because we've read and experienced the place through our reading. I think of Louise Penny's Three Pines, which is so familiar to me, yet I've never been to Canada.

Kara Cerise said...

Welcome back, Linda!

Very interesting information. Fictional characters sometimes become my friends. I actually miss them when I finish reading or writing a story. So, I'm happy to hear that Skeet will return in EVERY BROKEN TRUST.

Deb Romano said...

Linda,

It's great to know I can once again read an actual blog post by you on a regular basis!

Your Skeet and Brian are so real to me that I have had nightmares about them being in danger. When I read your book for the second time it happened all over again. Are you sure you're not writing about friends of yours?! It's obvious that you care about them!

I am quite certain I would recognize the neighborhoods that Deborah Crombie writes about and that I could accurately describe Three Pines to anyone who has never read any of Louise Penny's books. I feel as though I have suffered frostbite in Julia Spencer-Fleming's Millers Kill! In fact, I think I might need to wait until summer to read any of her future books set during winter! I've had to wrap myself in a blanket when I've read some of the winter settings during the winter.

As for graphic descriptions of murders, I can no longer read a book that describes torture or maiming. If I find myself unknowingly reading a book with that sort of content, I skip over it. If the book is so full of extreme descriptions I just do not bother to finish reading it,and I do not read anything else by that author. It's too disturbing.

It's exciting to know that your next book will be out in less than a month!

Linda Rodriguez said...

Thanks, Kara. I'm glad to be back. Working on Skeet #3 right now. (Publishing is a slow business.)

Linda Rodriguez said...

Yes, Deb, I do care about Skeet and Brian and all the rest of my people in Brewster, even Jeremy. Of course, I have to be mean to Skeet whenever I write about her, or there would be no book. I'm always happy to be back in that world making up stories about Skeet and all her loved ones, friends, and enemies.

Like you, I feel I know those locales because I've read so much about them and experienced them so strongly. And now brain research backs up our feelings.