Today´s guest blogger is Jackie Fullerton, American crime fiction writer. I read and reviewed her second novel “Revenge served Cold” recently and asked her what she thought about her books being branded ´cozy mysteries´. Thank you very much, Jackie, for writing a post for me.
I first heard the term “Cozy” at a Murder Mystery Writers Conference. For someone who fancies herself an author, I found it amazing that I had not heard the term before. Part of the conference involved pairing up authors with agents looking for new talent. The agent I had been paired with made it clear in one of her earlier workshops that she was not interested in any book with a supernatural flair. I felt my heart sink when my card revealed her name. Even though I could only dream of signing with her, my book had a ghost as one of the main characters. I was sunk. When our appointment came, I had a choice—skip the meeting altogether, or brave it and gain by the experience. I chose the latter. When we came face-to-face, the first words I found coming out of my mouth amounted to an apology because my mystery deals with a ghost. To my surprise, she waived that concern away and said she would still consider signing me as long as it wasn’t one of those cozies. Since I was unfamiliar with the term, I responded that I didn’t think so. She requested my first three chapters, and needless to say, I have not heard from her since.
Following the meeting, I set about educating myself as to what constitutes a “cozy”. As I now know, it is a murder mystery where the murder usually happens off stage; the protagonist is an amateur with “connected” friends—police department, coroner, etc.; and, there is no sex or profanity. In short, an Agatha Christy book you can curl up with in front of a fireplace and not be shocked or offended. Except for a little sex and a few “Damnits” and “Sons-of bitchs” in my books, they had all the elements of a cozy. There it was. I was doomed. Or was I?
After a few drinks and several hours of conversation with my fellow authors, I realized my fears were unfounded. There is no shame in writing cozies. A huge market exists and many readers enjoy a murder mystery without the gory details. There isn’t any disgrace in enjoying Agatha Christy or reruns of Murder She Wrote. When I write a story, it is my intention to create a light read—if murder can ever be light, with a little humor thrown in. A story that explores relationships as well as solving a crime. A book a person could pick up at the airport or take to the beach and enjoy reading.
Yes, my murder usually happen off stage and the protagonist is an amateur who uses her friend’s connections and abilities to help solve the crime. Hopefully, my readers will curl up in a chair, whether in front of a fire or on the beach, and enjoy a good read. If there is a smile on their face when last chapter is read, I have done my job.
Yes, I write cozies, and I am proud of it.