Friday, March 16, 2012

What Do You Think

My panel discussion with Carolyn Hart and Kate Carlisle is this coming Sunday. It turns out all my worry about what to say was for nothing. Kevin Moore, the librarian who is organizing the event for the Anaheim Public Library Foundation and who also is the moderator of our panel, did something great. He sent me a list of the questions he is planning to ask.

I know that some of my mystery writer friends might have taken offense at one of the questions and probably would have gotten very defensive. The question is - What do you say to those critics who declare that mysteries are not important or relevant literature?

My answer is, I don’t care. I love writing mysteries, particularly cozies. I don’t care about them being important or relevant. I just want to tell a satisfying story, hopefully with a few laughs. I know when I read books like mine, I feel light and happy when I get to the end. That is what I hope anyone who reads my books feels.

Call me trivial, I don’t care. I just want everybody to have a good time.

I don’t feel the least bit defensive about writing cozies. And as for the people who put down cozies or mysteries in general. The easy answer why don’t they just read something else instead.

And the real truth is that only time will tell what turns out to be important.

Okay, everybody out there. Do you think mysteries are not important or relevant literature?

16 comments:

Planner said...

I really like your answer, Betty, and I agree. I choose a variety of books for lots of different reasons--sometimes I want specific information and sometimes I just want to be entertained. Characters I can relate to and care about and a story that keeps me interested to the end make a book enjoyable for me. Your books offer exactly that, and that's why I enjoy reading them.

Chrystle Fiedler said...

I think cozy mysteries are important and here's why - in a mystery things are out of whack and by the end order is restored again. I think this is VERY important as we do not get this affirmation very often in life itself. It makes us feel good when it does happen even if it is only in the pages of a mystery. Good luck Betty!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Of course mysteries are important, and relevant. They're amusing, pique people's minds and solving abilities, and have satisfying endings where the good guys reach a solution. That sounds like a similar complaint I've heard about romances, but they, too, reach a happy, satisfying ending, and that helps to make a reader feel good. I think that's a major reason for reading. Have fun on your panel, Betty!

Betty Hechtman said...

Planner, that's a good answer. I personally think all books are important.

Betty Hechtman said...

Chrystle, you hit what makes cozy mysteries so satisfying.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, I agree. Feeling good after your read a book with a sstisfying ending is a good reason to read.

Mollie Cox Bryan said...

I also think the any book that entertains is a great value. I agree with Chrystle. It makes us feel so good when ordered is restored. Great post. Bravo!

Julie said...

This question, with its overtones of elitism, uisually asked by someone who has never read cozies/romances/whatever, would make me nuts if I let it. As a romance writer, I have no apologies to make for my genre. People read our books, enjoy them, identifiy with the characters, and know the book will end happily, and there's nothing wrong with that AT ALL. We provide something that may be more important than "literary" writing, in the end. We make people happy. How do you calculate the value of that?

Ellen said...

It's defensiveness. They probably think only mainstream literature has significance, and don't like being disagreed with.

Just tell them people read your books voluntarily, you enjoy writing them, and you're making money from it. If they don't approve, tough crunchies.

llk10 retired said...

Way back in college, we used to discuss Shakespeare over lunch. Enjoyable. Now that I am retired after teaching English for thirty-four years, we discuss cozy mysteries over lunch. Much more enjoyable. I learned from Shakespeare, and I learn something from each cozy I read. No genre is inferior to another.

Betty Hechtman said...

Mollie, I'm with you. There is definitely something to be said for a book being entertaining.

Betty Hechtman said...

Julie, I don't know why people have to judge different types of books. Let people read whatever they like.

Betty Hechtman said...

Ellen, your sentiments are mind exactly.

Betty Hechtman said...

Ilk 10, you are so right. No genre or category is superior to another.

Nancy said...

I've always read cozy mysteries as well as mainstream fiction, before the mysteries were known as cozies. It's pleasurable and an escape. There's nothing wrong with a little escapism. Or, in my case, a lot! I love reading cozies!
I joined an online reading group in which everyone can pick their own books instead of all reading the same book at the same time. After I posted a list of the cozies I had read someone asked what a cozy mystery is. The moderator answered for me. She said that cozies are for people who don't like to think. (thud!) I think (yes, I think) it is exactly the opposite of what she said. Cozies are about the people and the puzzle, not violence, blood, guts and gore.

Dee W said...

OK, as a former bookseller, I am a cozy reader for sure. Yes, I read some other things, but I often used cozies as a way to help a young teen reader move ahead beyond Nancy Drew, but not ready for some "more mature" mysteries. They were the mystery they loved but moms were reassured they weren't too graphic. And lots of moms got hooked because they read them when the child told them they loved them. Made lots of mom/child reading duos.