mandag den 21. juni 2010

I Write Cozies (Jackie Fullerton)

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.

10 kommentarer:

Bernadette sagde ...

I was once castigated at length by a colleague because I was stupid enough to waste my time reading cozies (though we spell it with an 's' here in Australia). After he'd finished scoffing in my general direction I wondered aloud what made him think that books featuring made-up languages, intergalactic travel and zombies were more worthy of wasting one's time on than a caterer who solves the odd murder (his genres of choice being fantasy and speculative fiction). Are they not equally escapist forms of entertainment I asked? Is it not grand that all of our tastes can be accommodated?

I'm glad there are cosy writers because sometimes it is just what I need as a reader and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Anonym sagde ...

Dorte - Thanks for hosting Jackie.

Jackie - I think one of the keys to being a high-quality author is to be proud enough of and committed enough to what you want to do that you focus on it and do it well. I admire your choice to focus on the kind of writing you really wanted to do.

Felicity Grace Terry sagde ...

Thanks for a fascinating insight into cozies Jackie.

BooksPlease sagde ...

I hadn't heard of 'cozy mysteries' until recently and it appears that I've been reading them for years without knowing that. To me no murder mystery can be 'cozy', murder is not cosy after all. I think it'd be better to call them 'traditional' mysteries. And I think Agatha Christie's books can be described as classic mysteries.

I've read Revenge Served Cold - I think of it as 'paranormal crime fiction', because of the ghost and I did have to suspend my disbelief as I read it.

Mason Canyon sagde ...

Oh cozy murder mysteries are the way to go. At one time I would only read true crime mysteries then I read a cozy and have been hooked every since. I'm adding this to my wish list.

Thanks Dorte for introducing me to a 'new to me' author and more interesting cozy mysteries.

Thoughts in Progress

Dorte H sagde ...

Bernadette: exactly my feeling. I don´t need cozies that often, but I definitely prefer them over very graphic, hardboiled novels. And in between all my exam days they are excellent entertainment.

Margot: it *is* a good idea to know your genre and your readers.

Tracy: it is funny that she didn´t really know what it was until she had written one, isn´t it?

Dorte H sagde ...

Margaret: I agree that real murder is a ghastly crime, but to me ´cozy mystery´ also indicates that it is not very realistic. That is also why I am not bothered by the ghost; I don´t ´believe´ cozy mysteries anyway.

Mason: I hope you´ll enjoy her books.

Kelly sagde ...

Thanks, Jackie, for your imput on cozy mysteries! They are one of my favorite types of book. Yours looks quite good and I enjoyed Dorte's earlier review of it!

Thanks for another wonderful guest-post, Dorte.

Jackie Fullerton sagde ...

Thank you for all your positive comments. It's always encouraging to hear from fellow cosy readers.

Dorte H sagde ...

Jackie: and thank you very much for writing the post for me!

Kelly: yes, I have had some great visitors in June, haven´t I?