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

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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!

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Saturday, May 2, 2020

ON THE PLEASURES OF FIRST PERSON POINT OF VIEW By Barbara Monajem


Most of what I have written so far has been in third person point of view—a close third person, deep inside the mind of the character, usually in a romance. There are a few exceptions—a short story in the anthology Crime Travel, and a piece full of melodrama and teen angst, based on a real-life experience, written when I was thirteen. (Fortunately, I never finished that one.)
First person doesn’t work particularly well in romance, but mysteries are another story. So when I decided to get back into writing mysteries – yay, here was my chance! 
It wasn’t as easy as I thought. My fault, for choosing to write from the point of view of an aristocratic lady from two hundred years ago. Lady Rosamund simply doesn’t think like we do. For one thing, she’s a snob. She can’t help it; she’s been taught from birth that she’s superior to almost everyone else. She has her doubts about this—as she has about much of what her domineering mother has drummed into her—and yet her innate snobbery rises naturally to the fore.
Why, you ask, would I choose to write from the point of view of a snob, someone with a whole slew of prejudices which range from absurd to ghastly by today’s standards? The answer is, because I wanted to see Lady Rosamund grow. She’s not evil or unkind. She’s just privileged—really, really privileged—but she has it within her to learn, to examine her motives and responses, and gradually develop into a new woman. (While solving various mysteries along the way.)
It was a bit uncomfortable making myself think like a snob. What would I have been like back then, if I’d been an aristocrat? Or a servant? How does Lady Rosamund relate to her servants, and how do they feel about her? Do they believe she’s superior? Do they accept the status quo? I don’t go directly into their minds, but they do show their feelings. Does Lady Rosamund notice this, or does it all go over her head? What about the poorer people she encounters, such as a crossing sweeper, a coal heaver, or a homeless little girl? What, if anything, does she understand about their lives? What will she learn, while making some pretty obnoxious blunders along the way? In what ways will she decide not to change—or find herself unable to do so?
If that’s not enough to work with, Lady Rosamund has a compulsion to check things over and over. It’s related to anxiety—and the compulsion in turn causes an added anxiety, the dread of being confined as a madwoman by her scandal-averse family. She also finds sexual intimacy repellent, so she marries a man who will leave her be and stick to his mistress—another quirk which, in that day and age, might be seen as a form of madness. She would be considered unwomanly for not wanting to sleep with her husband; however, she would be expected to ignore the existence of his mistress. (Crazy, isn’t it?) But the mistress is her best friend, which makes her even odder. Bottom line—privileged does not equal safe.
She muddles along reasonably well, considering, until a caricaturist—the equivalent of a modern-day tabloid photographer—mocks her in scandalous prints. Then she receives anonymous letters hinting that the world will soon know how very insane she is. But she isn’t, and she knows it. She has no choice but to DO something about the situation.
So she does, and I had great fun helping her do it.
Tell me: Do you enjoy reading (or writing) novels written in first person? Why or why not?


11 comments:

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Lady Rosamund is an interesting character. Can't wait to meet her in print.

Sasscer Hill said...

I have always written in the first person, so of course, I'm biased. A lot of today's writing turns me off, that is, with multiple points of view, changes between past an present, and often a point of view switch in the same chapter. To me, the latter, is really bad writing. My favorite authors back in the day were Robert Parker and Dick Francis. All their books were written in first person.

I also love Michael Connelly and Robert Crais for their very close third person writing. Crais sometimes, when he writes an Elvis Cole/Joe Pike novel, will put one in first and the other in third. He does it so darn well it works perfectly. This of course is just my opinion, but I'm sticking with it!
Barbara, thanks for raising this question. I am curious to see what others say.

KM Rockwood said...

A well-done 1st person POV makes the reader feel very close to the story. It brings the reader right into the character's head.

Sometimes I write in 1st person. It can be very limiting (if your character didn't see/know it you can't put it in there!) but very satisfying.

Best is when I realize half-way through a book that it's in 1st person, and I've been so intrigued that little detail slipped my attention.

Kait said...

Lady Rosamund sounds like someone I need to meet!

My POV preference depends on what will best serve the story. Most cozies and traditionals do well with 1st person while romances and multiple POV character books almost demand third. Although it doesn't offend me in a multiple POV book to have the protagonist in first and the main secondary character in third.

As Kathleen said above - best is when you realize halfway through that the POV slipped your attention because of the story.

Barbara Monajem said...

Thanks, Margaret -- I hope you enjoy reading Lady Rosamund.

Hi, Sasscer. We share many reading choices! I think I have read everything by Dick Francis, some by Robert Parker, and many by Robert Crais.

Hi, KM -- I feel that the limitations of first person are balanced by the advantage of being able to comment in the person of the main character (rather than having to "tell" the character's thoughts).

Kait, I hope you get to meet Lady Rosamund. She would be very pleased to meet you!

Donnell Ann Bell said...

I am off to buy this book, Barbara. One because I know of your talent and I'm a fan! Two, to see how you pull off first person snobbery and make the character likable. I'm writing a blog right now about how trust is intrinsic to our reading. As for first person or third, it depends on the author. Some people do first person really well (no matter what genre) some people do third person close really well too. I think by saying we prefer one over the other is limiting to us. I'm back to the belief, it depends! Off to download! xo

Barbara Monajem said...

LOL, Donnell. It does all depend. Thanks for trying my book. I don't think Lady Rosamund comes off as untrustworthy... I sure hope not. I look forward to reading your blog about trust. :0)

carla said...

POV is so critical to our work. First can be fun, because we truly inhabit the character. I tend to switch back and forth between first and intimate third.

Barbara Monajem said...

Hi, Carla. I think switching back and forth is what I'll do, too. I'm still writing romances, which are in intimate third, but the Lady Rosamund mysteries will continue in first person. I really enjoy inhabiting her character. :)

Vicki Batman, sassy writer of funny fiction said...

Hi, Barbara! I write first pov. It comes from my soul and I feel I channel the character, that the reader is further drawn into the world. I like reading first pov too.

Kathy Waller said...

Writing in first person is easier for me than writing in third. Like Vicki, I feel like I'm channeling the character. The character usually knows more than I do about what's happening, and what's going to happen next.