Friday, June 21, 2013
It's Not the Who, It's The What
By Sue Ann Jaffarian
I have a confession: I seldom read cozies. You know, those light hearted, sweet mysteries spawned by Agatha Christie's legacy. It's not that I don't like them, and there are many excellent ones out there, but they are too much like my own mystery series and I'm afraid of my voice being tainted by another author's voice. And since I write a couple of books a year, I seldom have down time in which to squeeze in some of those books for fun.
I write humorous, light mysteries. My Ghost of Granny Apples mysteries are true cozies in that there is no sex or violence on the page. My Odelia Grey series is a bit edgier with some sex and violence and adult themes. In the mystery world, Odelia is usually labeled "soft boiled." Neither are graphic or hard hitting. It would be very easy for ideas and themes to leach into my spongy brain as I read similar work. It’s the same reason I never read ghost mysteries or vampire books. While I did read a few ghost novels prior to penning the Granny Apples series, they were very few and very different from the idea I had for my own series. I still have never read a vampire novel. Never. I am a virgin in that regard save for my own fang-based books.
Considering how few "cozies" I've actually read, it's a mystery to me that I manage to write them and write them well. But there you have it.
Also, in my personal reading I generally prefer harder mysteries and general fiction. And although I often read intense fiction, I despise gratuitous violence and sex. If I feel an author has slipped it in purely for shock or market value and not to move along the story, it can ruin the book for me. In my opinion, it’s a cheap shot. A hack habit. I don’t mind it if it’s a necessary part of character development and plot.
Another confession: I am always miffed when I’m buying a book or speaking to another author and they caution me saying, “You won’t like it. It’s hard and edgy.” This happens to me all the time and even as recently as a few weeks ago.
Well #*%@ the fiction police. (How’s that for a cozy answer?)
What gives you the freaking right to decide what I will like or not like based solely on what I write? Or what you think I write, because I doubt you’ve read my books based on your smug and condescending attitude.
Fellow authors, if you say something like that to me I guarantee I will not purchase and read your book, and not because I’m some senior delicate flower who writes lighter fiction.
Okay, rant over. We are now returned to our regularly scheduled program.
Posted by Sue Ann Jaffarian at 12:10 AM