Monday, May 4, 2009

The Things We Authors Do to Write a Crafty Mystery

I'm here at Malice Domestic with my Killer Hobbies sisters--Camille Minichino (Margaret Grace), Terri Thayer, Betty Hechtman, and Monica Ferris. They just appeared on a super panel moderated by Carolyn Mulford.

Carolyn brought up many interesting points about mysteries featuring crafters:

1. They are pitched for the Baby Boomer market. She called them "Boomer Lit." And yes, most of our buyers are women ages 45+.

2. They often feature a female, amateur sleuth. (All of us write about a female who reluctantly--althought later enthusiastically--solves crimes.)

3. The sleuth has to have a "relationship" with a cop. This can be either a boyfriend, an old friend, or a antagonist who finally sees the sleuth's value as a helper.

4. The books include patterns or information about the crafts.

5. At the heart of the books is the craft and the people who enjoy it.

6. There's a secondary cast of characters who interact with the sleuth--other crafters, family, friends. And these folks are also important to the book.

7. The sleuth has to defend herself without a gun! This last idea really tickled me, because another "rule" is that the sleuth must solve the mystery herself and get herself out of the crisis. This can be very hard without a REAL weapon. However, once you start writing one of these mysteries, people share all sorts of intriguing ideas for knocking off villains.

There's more but now I have to meet Terri to drive to Pennsylvania for Festival of Mystery. I hope to see some of you there!


Terri Thayer said...

That was a great panel. Some panels aren't very cohesive, and there can be fits and starts, but as we were all on the same page, we could get right to meat of the discussion quickly.

That's a lot of mixed metaphors. It's early with no coffee.

Carolyn was a wonderful moderator.

I think we should take this gig on the road. Bouchercon, anyone?

Betty Hechtman said...

I thought the panel went well, too. I think it helped that we all know each other from the blog, which is so different than being on a panel with people you don't know and whose work you aren't familiar with.

I also learned something. I was the only one in the group who hadn't been to a craft show, which I am definitely going to rectify.

Camille Minichino said...

It was great to meet Betty and Joanna in person! Terri is from just down the road by California standards, and I'd met Monica a long time ago.

I think we should take this to Indianapolis! Imagine how great we'll be now that we've all actually met! :=))

Camille Minichino said...

And thanks to Terri, Joanna, and Betty for actually showing up on Killer Hobbies while we were doing malice, uh, Malice.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

You all are so terrific. Many, many hugs. Now we're on a ROLL, girlfriends!