At the authors panel I attended earlier this month, we were asked why we had chosen to write mysteries in a specific era.
There are several reasons why I chose the 1950s, not all of them very interesting. But in short, it’s an era that had more colorful charm than grizzly forensics. Since I’m all about the puzzle of a good mystery, that works well for me. The 1950s had great fashion, textures, music, and it was a complicated time socially as everyone tried to create a normal — better — life after the war. Basically, there’s a lot for me to work with.
The challenge is the era’s rampant sexism and racism. Not a good thing. And while I’m not a huge history buff, I can’t simply gloss over the pieces I don’t like. Of course, I’m writing murder mysteries not social historical commentary, but I really do try to use social accuracy to enhance the story and the mystery part of the adventure, without making it so central as to distract the audience. (And I sincerely hope I’m doing a good job.)
After all, we’re reading mysteries to enjoy ourselves.
Last week’s panel was a blast! I learned a lot, sold some books, and I got to meet two vastly diverse and talented historical mystery authors. M. Louisa Locke writes the Victorian San Francisco Mysteries. And Jeri Westerson writes the Crispin Guest Mysteries (among other things) which take place in Medieval England.
Both women were very friendly and supportive to me personally, as well as being all-round fascinating people. I was having so much fun listening and participating, that it was near the end when it suddenly dawned that I’d never met other historical mystery authors before. I’ve been writing mysteries alone for over 6 years, and I’m the only one I know who writes mysteries set in 1950s Seattle, but I’m not really a tribe of one. 🙂
And now my reading list has grown to include more great historical mysteries!
M. Louisa Locke Jeri Westerson
Tomorrow, I’ll be attending my first panel as a writer. The PCA/ACA* conference has me booked with two other historical mystery writers. I’m the newbie and the only one who writes in the 1950s. (They write in the middle ages and Victoria era, but I’ll explain more when I know more). Basically, I’m not sure what to expect tomorrow. I’ve made business cards, and I’ll have several copies of my just-released book available for the consignment sales. Apart from that, I’ll just be winging it and having fun. :-)
*In case you don’t know (I didn’t 😉 we’re talking about the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association.
So, it’s been a while since I complained about my blogging technical challenges. Over the last several months, I’ve made a few tweaks and improvements here and there, and I must have been getting pretty smug with myself because now I’ve managed to remove my blog as a list of posts. At the moment, I can only post one item at a time. I’m not even sure what I did, but as soon as I figure it out, I’ll undo it. Drat. Update, it’s showing posts, but only with the “category” listed on top. ?!?
I’ve been selected as a mystery author panelist for the PCA/ACA National Conference. I’ll be joining a couple of (far more established) authors of historical mysteries. I’m not wholly sure what to expect, but I’m really looking forward to meeting other fans of the genre and the opportunity to discuss my work!
After years of work, it’s finally happened. I submitted my first manuscript in 2005. (It was mediocre) I wrote a couple more books. My work improved a lot. I signed the contract with my publisher 18 months ago. Of course, the work didn’t end there, it just shifted gears. Now, my 2nd book is under contract and I’m writing my 4th. But for me, today is a real milestone.