Saturday, December 14, 2013

Don't tell her relatives what she does

Here's one of the funniest writers in the business.  She's sometimes called the Canadian Evanovich.  And killing people is what she does best.

Author Melodie Campbell

By Melodie Campbell
“Why would you ever want to write about murder?” said the horrified relative.  “Why not write a nice little romance?”
Why indeed?
As I quickly added another relative to kill in my next book (you would be shocked how often that happens….) it occurred to me that there were many reasons to write about murder.
1.        It’s the challenge of creating the clever puzzle.  Plotting a mystery is like playing a chess game.  You always have to think several moves ahead.  Your reader is begging you to challenge them, and is working to beat you – meaning to guess the killer before your detective does - to the end.

2.       It’s plot driven.  Murder mysteries start with action – a murder.  Yes, characterization is important, and particularly motivation.  But murder is by nature an action, and thus something happens in the book you are writing.  And quite often, it happens again and again.

3.       It’s important.  This is murder, after all.  We’re not talking about a simple threat or theft.  A lot is at stake.  Murder is the final act.  The worst that can happen.  The end of it all.

4.       It’s a place to put all your darkest fantasies.  There are a few people I’ve wanted to kill in my life.  They did me wrong.  And while I do have a bit of a reputation for recklessness, I value my freedom more.  So what I can’t do in reality, I relish doing in fiction.

5.       Finally – it’s fun. This is the part I don’t say in mixed company (meaning non-writers and relatives.)  I can’t explain exactly why it’s fun – you’ll have to trust me on this part.  But plotting to do away with characters in highly original ways is a real power trip.  I’m smiling just thinking about it.
Of course, I can understand where some of the relative angst comes from.  In A PURSE TO DIE FOR, a gathering of relatives for a funeral results in the death of one or two.  It was entirely accidental, that use of relatives.  Honest.  I wasn’t thinking of anyone in particular.
 Not much I wasn’t.
(You can follow Melodie at
By Melodie Campbell and Cynthia St-Pierre

What’s more treacherous than navigating a pack of society matrons at a designer sale?
Stalking a killer…
Top 100 Mystery,, Jan. 2013!
And now on: