Just because I write cat mysteries and not the great American novel doesn’t mean I’m not a serious writer or that my work, however light and cozy, should not be taken seriously. I realize that some cozy authors write for quantity instead of quality but I’m not one of them. My books are my soul, revealing hopes, fears, and the human condition. My cat sci-fi explores the secrets of the universe. My mysteries seek to answer not only whodunit but why. Why do we kill? If that’s not a serious question, I don’t know what is.
Do you ever wonder what drives us to entertain ourselves with murder? If the things that happen in books, even in cozies, happened to us in real life, we’d all have PTSD. In fact, I had that experience. I was working on a mystery that took place at the beach, a beach very like our place in Ocean Park. We visited our little cabin often. It was quiet and slow-paced with clam-digging, crab dinners, and long walks on the shore. Then one night we got a call that a friend was dead. As the story unfolded, it turned out he had been murdered, right there in our quiet little town. Gone was the safety I’d always felt in that beautiful place. And gone, at least temporarily, was my ability to write about fictional murder.
For most readers, a murder mystery is merely a puzzle to solve. I enjoy solving them too; I do read what I write. But since my experience with my own real-life murder mystery, (which unfortunately didn’t wrap itself up in a nice neat ending but instead lingered on until finally the killer was set free for lack of evidence) I try never to make light of death. Thankfully I was able to finish writing the book eventually and have gone on to write many more. I am grateful for both the resilience of the spirit and the opportunity to learn.
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