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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Why I Write Cozies

     Like many novelists who have been writing for several years, I have written in several genres—mysteries, romantic suspense and books for kids. Recently, I find myself drawn to writing cozies. Here's why:

1. I enjoy writing mysteries and prefer leaving the CSI end of it to others. I’m interested in the puzzle aspect. The human factor. How my characters relate to one another. Why was a person or persons murdered? How does my sleuth track him or her down and prove his or her guilt?

2. I love writing a mystery from an amateur sleuth’s perspective. Not a homicide detective armed and trained to solve murders, but a so-called “average” citizen with enough intelligence, drive, and curiosity to solve a mystery. Like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, cozy sleuths observe suspects. They ask questions. They eavesdrop. They do research. They befriend the police investigating the murder. In my Haunted Library mystery series written as Allison Brook, Carrie Singleton is the head of Programs and Events of the Clover Ridge Library in Connecticut. Sleuths in my other mystery series are a high school English teacher, a retired CEO, and a college professor who leads a Golden Age of Mystery book club.

3. While I enjoy plotting, my characters are my priority. What makes each of them tick? How do they relate to one another? Why do they behave the way they do? Some of my characters are quirky. Others are likable. They are very real to me. They have to be since they appear in one book after another.

4. I love writing cozies because they’re written in series. I love writing series because with each new book, readers get a chance to learn more about my sleuth and her friends, family, love interests and enemies. My characters evolve and mature. In the Haunted Library series, Carrie Singleton starts out as an unhappy loner who dyes her hair purple and wears Goth-style clothing. Over time she develops friendships, a romantic relationship, and a growing concern for the town where she lives.

5. I ADORE secrets. Many of my characters have secrets that impact their current behavior. Secrets can make a character look guilty when she isn’t. Secrets can drive a character to murder.

6. Cozies are set in small towns where everyone knows everyone else. A cozy’s setting is another character of the story because it affects all the characters. My Haunted Library mystery series takes place in Clover Ridge, CT, a small town with centuries-old homes, restaurants, and shops built around a village green. The library where my sleuth, Carrie Singleton, works is housed in one of these large former residences.

7. Romance winds its way in many cozies. In DEATH OVERDUE, the first book in my Haunted Library series, Carrie finds herself attracting the attention of two very different men.

8. Animals and cozies go hand-in-hand. In DEATH OVERDUE, a stray half-grown cat attaches himself to Carrie and she ends up bringing him to work with her. Smoky Joe proves to be very sociable and becomes the Library Cat. In one book in the series he helps solve a mystery.

9. Cozies are resolved on a happy note. The murderer is caught. Future books in the series give one’s sleuth an opportunity to forge more adventures and solve more mysteries.


Kait said...

Perfect description, Marilyn. And in these troubled times, cozies are the perfect reading material to take us a way from it all. Not too much of real life has a guaranteed satisfied and usually happy ending.

E. B. Davis said...

After talking with agents, I'm beginning to warm up to cozies. I read them, but I also like other genres, too. Thanks for your list.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I'm with Elaine. Everyone wants cozies. The trick is how far I can push the boundaries.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Thanks. I might add, they're also fun to write.

I read many other genres, too.

I choose what topics I want to write about. And I don't concern myself with too many boundaries. Otherwise it would be boring.

Susan said...

I like your explanation, Marilyn. Lots of people love to read cozies for the same reasons.

Shari Randall said...

Hi Marilyn, I do read other genres, but cozies keep me coming back. There's such a huge variety that I never get bored.

Warren Bull said...

Cozies give us a sense that justice has prevailed.

KM Rockwood said...

Cozies are a comfortable read. On a stormy, chilly afternoon, I like to bundle up in front of a fire in a warm afghan with a glass of wine and, of course, a cozy mystery. Let the weather do its worst; I am happy.

Marilyn Levinson said...

I agree. Cozies cover a broad spectrum of themes and styles.

Yes, Warren! In cozies, justice prevails. A satisfactory conclusion.

Let's face it—cozies are…cozies. We're dropped in a small town where the residents know one another. A friendly place except for the murders. I think cozies evoke a touch of nostalgia. This is how life once was, or should be.

Marilyn Levinson said...


I think you're right.