Most people will agree that I am one of the mildest persons you will ever meet. I exude a harmless aura that draws strangers to me to ask for directions when I’m out walking around town or a crowded store. Years ago, in the late 90’s, I was sent to New York for a week on business. A group of us agreed to meet at a restaurant in Greenwich Village after hours. We all were staying at different hotels, so we traveled there separately. I got there early, and got lost, a few blocks off the beaten path. When I walked onto a street with a few Goth attire stores, and a few more people walking around in leather and chains, I realized I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. So, as humans mostly do when they are faced with the unfamiliar, I got scared. I decided the only way to convince people not to mess with me was to put on a “tough” face. That worked about three seconds; then I got so tickled at the idea of me trying to look tough that I couldn’t stop laughing at myself. It turns out people don’t mess with those they think are crazy either.
My mildness makes me an unlikely person for writing mysteries. Because as an author, I have to put characters in not only dangerous but lethal situations. In order to spin my tales, I investigate ways for human beings to kill other human beings in new and creative, or at least sneaky, ways. But as difficult as that is, there is a flip side to writing mysteries as well. I write and read mysteries not for the joy of creating victims, but the joy of creating justice. As a writer and reader living in an imperfect world, at least in my fiction I can create a climate where people work together toward a common cause, and the good guys always win. Even though I can’t force those results in the real world, at least I can escape to a world where I make it happen.
And that’s why I write about murder.