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

June Interviews

6/3 Gretchen Archer, Double Trouble
6/10 Kaye George, Deadly Sweet Tooth
6/17 Annette Dashofy, Til Death
6/24 Adam Meyer

Saturday Guest Bloggers

6/6 Mary Keliikoa
6/13 William Ade
6/20 Liz Milliron

WWK Bloggers:

6/27 Kait Carson
6/30 WWK Writers--What We're Reading Now


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!

WWK is proud of our four Agatha nominees. Kaye George for Best Short Story--not her first time to be nominated, Connie Berry and Grace Topping for Best First Mystery Novel, and Annette Dashofy for Best Contemporary Novel--her fifth nomination! All are winners but without Agatha Teapots. Onto 20121!

Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and 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.

Kaye George's second novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Deadly Sweet Tooth, was released on June 2. Look for the interview here on June 10.

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

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!


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time long, long ago, someone told a story while sitting around a fire. Of course, we have no idea exactly when story telling began or who that first story teller was. It doesn’t matter who the storyteller was, or who all the forgotten storytellers who followed were. It was an attempt to make sense of the world.

The beginning stories; myths, folktales and fairy tales, usually had elements of magic like dragons, wizards, witches, talking animals or magic objects like magic mirrors, a magic ring and even beans as in Jack in the Beanstalk. The number three was often important in those stories, too, like in The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Wishes, and The Three Billy Goats Gruff to name a few. The number three carries on with three main characters; victim, villain and the hero who goes on a quest to save the victim or thwart the bad guy and often has to fulfill three challenges to reach his goal. The only heroine I can think of offhand in those early tales was Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, who killed the evil witch and saved Hansel.

Over the years the stories have been altered and changed, but many sill followed the same motif of good conquering evil with a happy ending as in The Chronicles of Narnia and The Harry Potter series. This is not true with more modern literary works, but it still holds true with most mysteries, albeit with an absence of magic except in some paranormal mysteries.

I have always enjoyed reading folktales and took a class in college about folktales. It was one of my favorite classes. Folk tales have been told all over the world. Much of the fairy tales originated in folk tales like Cinderella which comes from France as does Puss in Boots and  Beauty and the Beast and others. The Fisherman and his Wife, Little Red Riding Hood, and many, many others came from Germany. In North America there was People Who Could Fly, The Wonderful Tar Baby Story (Uncle Remus) and Paul Bunyan’s Cornstalk, and many more told by American Indians.

Some authors have picked up on the fairytale or folklore theme and altered them like Gregory Maguire, the author of Wicked Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, and others written from the point of view of one of the characters from a fairytale. The same was done even earlier with children’s books like The True story of the 3 Little Pigs! By A. Wolf as told to Jon Scieszka. One of my favorite children’s picture books was An Undone Fairy Tale by Ian Lendler in which the princess locked in the tower by her wicked step-father in the end rescues Sir Wilber, who comes to rescue her. It’s a delightfully funny tale immensely enjoyed by all the classes I’ve read it to both in my own classes and in the many classes I substituted for later.

Because we live in a world often filled with violence, dishonesty, and unfairness, we still hope for the happy ever after ending portrayed in many fairy tales even though deep in our minds, we know it can’t always be that way. Of course, some fairy tales are cautionary tales like The Fisherman and His Wife or The Emperor’s New Clothes, but most mysteries, other than noir, and especially in cozies, do follow the fairy tale motif ending of: “and they lived happily ever after,” unless it’s part of a series where we’re only given hints that if we keep reading the series it eventually will be with a happy ever after ending.
Of course it’s rarely the same joyful tripping down the path of happiness we envisioned when Cinderella was romanced by the handsome Prince Charming, and they went off to live in his castle where her life then became perfect; no quarrels, no problems, no dirty diapers, no sickness, and all was love and laughter, Sigh.

No, mysteries are more realistic than that. However, we do have the same motif; victim, villain, and hero/heroine. The heroes or heroines may be flawed. In fact, that makes them more interesting if they are. The reader may not know who the villain of the story is in advance, but will follow with the hero/heroine’s quest to bring the villain to justice, trying to figure it out as they read along, either who the villain is or how the villain will be uncloaked. Usually the hero or heroine has a friend or sidekick, although not seven dwarfs like Cinderella had, but someone to bounce ideas off of and help them when necessary. There may not be a Cinderella ending, but it almost always brings satisfaction to the reader because justice, at least in mysteries is served. And that’s what makes mysteries so popular. It brings a sense of justice to the reader. At least it does until they pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV.

Do you like happy endings in your mysteries?
Do you like folk tales or Fairy Tales?


Kait said...

I like fair endings in my mysteries. Often those are happy for someone, but not for all. I do like tables and fairy tales and will often pick up classics. Especially if they are well illustrated.

Kait said...

Make that fables. I’m posting from my phone. Finally got it to let me post on Blogger sites. Now to better train the fingers

Gloria Alden said...

Kait, I like fair endings to mysteries, too. I have a whole two shelves of classics although I haven't read any of them recently I don't want to get rid of them. My daughter from California and my sister from Tacoma Washington were often on their phones and sometimes didn't hit the right letter, either. I'm sure if I had a smart phone I'd have the same problem. Sometimes it even happens on my computer.

Jim Jackson said...

Fables and fairy tales each have their place and I enjoy them both.

I don't care if an ending is happy; as long as it's fair. I'm much more likely to remember a novel if it leaves me with tears streaking down my cheeks.

Liz Milliron said...

I'm with Kait, I like fair endings. I just finished a book last night with what turns out to be a not-particularly-happy ending, and I'm...conflicted. It's a good ending, I just don't know if I like it.


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Fairy tales and fables, yes.

Realistic endings, yes. Fair endings, yes. Fairy tale endings where everything is neatly tied up with a bow...not so much. Life is messy. Much of the time, nobody wins.

Debra H. Goldstein said...

When I was a child, I wasn't sure most fairy tales had happen endings, despite what they said. After all, the narrative of the tales never continued, so who was I to believe... "They Lived Happily Ever After" by a narrator who might not be a truth teller or my imagination? I decided everything is open-ended -- life, books, stories. So, if the main threads are tied up in a fair manner, I'm happy imagining there is more to happen because that's how it really is.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your blog. Yes, I love happy endings! It's like I have received a reward for following the characters through their trials. _ Laura

Warren Bull said...

I think happy endings give a sense of justice in a world where it is too often lacking.

Gloria Alden said...

Jim, I hear you on that. I tend to tear up when the ending is sad, too, even though I prefer a ending that is fair. To tell you the truth, I have teared up sometimes when I'm writing one of my books. In one book, a teenage boy was the murderer and it was because of his parents.

Mary, It's hard when it ends in a way that's not particularly happy and you're not sure if you like the ending even if it seems to be a fair ending.

Margaret, I hear you on this. How many girls end up like Cinderella does? Not many.

Debra, just because Cinderella married Prince Charming doesn't mean her life was lived happily ever after, does it?

Laura I feel that way if the book has the characters in trouble or hurting or sad and it all ends well.

Warren, I go along with that. I read the newspaper every day and listen to the news on NPR. So much that is neither happy or fair. I always like it when they publish something in the newspaper about someone stepping in and saving a life or helping out someone who needs help.

KM Rockwood said...

I like satisfying endings. I have to admit that I'm not a fan of realistic but tragic endings. There's a lot of that in real life; I'd just as soon leave my fiction reading (and writing) with some hope.