Why I Write Cozy Mystery and Romantic Suspense

Judy Nickles Author Judy Nickles writes:

Mystery mesmerizes me. The secrets of an abandoned building/house/school, the reasons behind a person’s emotions/aberrant actions, the who-why-how-what-if of a person who catches my attention in a public place, the strange events of another era, a photograph, a scrap of paper, a buried news story, a ghost tale told only half in jest–all of these combine to send me combing through the archives of time to ferret out answers. Barring answers, of course, we have a mystery. And everybody loves a good mystery.

In grade school, whenever weather threatened outside the tall windows of our vintage school, the teachers would let me spin a mystery to keep eyes focused on the front of the room rather than beyond. I’m sure these tales were pretty pointless and droned on and on and on, but they seemed to work.

Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden were my best friends for a time, replaced later by Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and even John Grisham (to a point). Perhaps I’ve always had a a too-vivid imagination, but old anything–houses, pictures, oral and written tales, dusty antiques–send my mind into overdrive. Despite Detective Sgt. Joe Friday’s cryptic, “Just the facts, ma’am”, I’ve always believed (or hoped for) something beyond cold logic.

Even my first two vintage romance books published with The Wild Rose Press had elements of mystery. Another book with a separate publisher began my spiral into more mystery than romance. Then I met Penelope Pembroke and, six books later, realized I’d plunged into the world of Cozy Mystery. Trixie Blake, billed as Romantic Suspense, followed with less verbosity (only three books!)

Are there more mysteries lurking on my computer? Of course! A beta reader suggested multiple sequels to one in particular, and I groaned…but it may happen.

So why mystery beyond the simple fact it catches and holds my imagination? Well, despite the “real world” preferring to deal in hard cold fact, life itself is a mystery, isn’t it? We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:4). How? Why? We’re told we’ll know someday, but for now we see through a glass darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12).

I choose to rejoice in the promise of mysteries I can’t explain–and to have fun with the ones I create for myself. A person finds joy in giving an apt reply–and how good is a timely word. (Proverbs 15:3)

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Why I Write Suspense

D.L. WoodAuthor D. L. Wood writes:

As a child, I was one of those kids who had a tattered, dog-eared library card (yes, from the days when we had paper library cards) who whiled away the summers reading more books than were good for my eyesight. Or at least that’s what one optometrist told my mother. From that time a dream was planted in my heart—to be like those writers I enjoyed so much and create something that others could hold in their hands and enjoy. I wanted to whisk others away to another world and take them on a ride too.

From those days of reading Boxcar Children books, to my adult years and reading Grisham and James Scott Bell, the suspense genre has always been my favorite. Like so many readers I am drawn to stories with that element of tense unknowing, with that “you-have-to-turn-one-more-page-to-find-out” quality. It’s what drives me to the books that I read for entertainment and what I want my readers to get as well. Sometimes the suspense I write comes in the form of a traditional thriller with a “catch-me-if-you-can” storyline. Sometimes it’s more of a whodunit. But the suspense is always there, hopefully along with three-dimensional, likable (or ‘hate-able’) characters that are flawed, just like you and me, and sun-dripping, snow-capped, cricket-chirping locales that suck readers in.

When I got serious about writing I realized that I wanted my books to do a bit more than just entertain. Over time I discovered that what I truly enjoyed were books that not only entertained me, but left me with something more. Yes, I wanted to go on a thrill-ride, but I also loved it when I set the book down only to find that I carried something from it with me. Hope. Encouragement. A new perspective. Perhaps even a challenge to my faith. This realization inspired me to want to do the same thing for readers of my books. I wanted my stories to be multidimensional in scope. So I began writing CleanCaptivatingFiction™—fiction that not only entertains, but also uplifts. Fiction that gives the reader a great story and a take-away that somehow encourages them.

The most encouraging thing in my life is the hope I have in Christ. So in fashioning a plot I strive to somehow, through some character, portray faith in Christ in a way that is relevant, real and hopeful in the context of a solid storyline. The idea is to hearten those who already have faith in Christ, and to shine a light on Christ for those who may not have considered what He offers. I hope I’ve managed to do this by giving people quality fiction with just a little something extra, insuring it’s a good read for everybody, no matter what your faith background or stance may be.

So if you’re a suspense junkie looking for mystery, exciting action, nail-biting cliff-hangers and maybe even a romantic subplot now and again, check out Unintended Target, the first book in the Unintended Series. It was awarded the 2016 Illumination Awards Gold Medal for Christian fiction ebook and is available on Amazon in ebook and paperback. And keep an eye out for Unintended Witness, the next book in the series that I’m hard at work on right now.

ABOUT D.L. WOOD:

D.L. Wood is an award-winning author who writes CleanCaptivatingFiction™ that entertains and uplifts. Wood loves the art of storytelling, particularly any tale involving suspense or the epic struggle of good versus evil. Wood tries to give readers the same thing she wants in the novels that she reads: a “can’t-put-it-down-stay-up-till-3am-story” that stays clean without sacrificing an iota of quality, believability or adrenaline. If she isn’t writing you’ll probably find her behind the keyboard getting ready for next week’s worship service or curled up with a cup of tea bingeing on the latest Sherlock series. Wood lives in North Alabama with her husband, twin daughters and Westies, Frodo and Dobby.

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Why I Write Mysteries

SAMSUNG CSCAuthor Joy DeKok writes:

My writing dream started when I was around four years old. The words in my story books fascinated me, and even newspapers were recreation.

Perhaps because of my age, I thought I’d write for kids. I do have three children’s books out there and loved the process, but after writing the last one, I was done. Then, writing mentors encouraged me to write non-fiction. So, I wrote a devotional and a book on writing memoirs. And blogging about my life, faith, nature, and books is one of my favorite things to do.

But along the way I caught the novel-writing bug.

It started out with Rain Dance – a contemporary, issue-based, Christian novel for women. When the idea came, I prayed someone else would write the book, and I promised that if they did, I’d buy it. Instead, the story grew in my heart and demanded to be put on the pages. I obeyed the growing desire, wrote it, and published it.

For a while, I thought I might be done writing. Except for this other idea that started the same way Rain Dance did. I could see the characters, knew their names, voices, hearts, habits, and story. There were a few days I resisted writing a mystery with an unlikeable main character, but again the only way to get the story out of my head was to put it on the pages. I was sure there was only one book in Olivia Morgan’s story.

I was wrong. There will be at least three in The Northern Lights Series. The raw draft of Behind the Lies is done and I’m editing as fast as I can while outlining book three, Beyond the Lies.

And there’s another mystery series (five or six books) in the works too. They’re all outlined which is a good thing because not long ago, another novel idea crossed my mind the same way all of the others have.

This time, I’m not resisting. Instead, I’m diving into each story idea with enthusiasm and am outlining, writing, editing, and rewriting with more excitement than ever.

I was asked what I was doing when my ideas came. With Rain Dance, I was doing dishes. With The Northern Lights series, I was vacuuming. Louisa Mae Alcott wasn’t kidding when she said, “Housekeeping ain’t no joke.”

With the new series, The Mississippi Queens, I was in a coffeeshop working on Between the Lies. The newest idea crossed my mind and made itself at home there on a walk near one of our wildflower gardens.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Life happens.” For me, ideas happen followed by books.

I hope you’ll stop by my website and find out how you can get a free copy of Between the Lies for your eReader.

About Joy:

Joy prefers writing in the solitude of her office, but can also be found in area coffee shops now and then where the voices and energy of the real world infuse the words on the page.

She’s been married to Jon for 39 years. They live on 35 acres of woods and field between Pine Island and Rochester. Joy loves riding their John Deere Gator with her dogs, Sophie & Tucker, taking pictures and enjoying God.

Website: www.joydekok.com

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Why I Write Thrillers

DonyJayHeadshots-26webAuthor Dony Jay writes:

So why do I write thrillers?

First and foremost it’s because those are the books that I love to read. I have a passion for all kinds of books—ask my wife, she’ll tell you. But above all, I love thrillers, novels dripping with action, adventure, spies and special operations. Books from the masters like Ludlum, Silva, Flynn and Thor to name a few of my all-time favorites.

Maybe the better question is why do I write.

The answer is simple: because I must. When I first started writing in 2010, I knew I wanted to write spy thrillers, books loaded with action and derring-do, exciting characters and compelling plots. But for my books to be honest, for them to be a reflection of me, the person, I needed to write them from and with a Christian perspective. My faith has guided me through my entire life. Why should my writing be any different? My protagonist, Reagan Rainey, is not perfect. In fact, he’s far from it, but he’s guided by Christian principles and traditional American values.

That brings me to another point in the context of why I write. I also write to highlight the greatness and exceptionalism that is America. Not progressive utopian America. But America as she was founded. All the way down to her biblical roots. As a reader I want more books that combat the cultural upheaval the world is experiencing these days. I know that God is good. Good is good. No matter who or what says otherwise. As an author, my books will always represent that.

The most important reason I write though is not to obtain fame or fortune, which can both be fleeting, or even to trumpet the America that I so desperately love. No. The overarching reason I write, why I must write, is to point readers to the truth of Jesus Christ. Of course, I want my books to be exciting and entertaining but also to have purpose and relevance in people’s lives. Maybe I just want it all. But at the end of the day, whether you read general-market thrillers, Christian thrillers or both, I’m writing for you and to you.

So I invite you to come and see for yourself. Follow Reagan Rainey and his friends downrange then tell me what you think. You can find The Warrior Spy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and elsewhere, both in paperback and ebook. And later this year, check out Artifacts of Conspiracy, book #2 in the Warrior Spy Thriller series.

God bless and keep reading!

About Dony Jay:

Dony graduated from York College of PA in 2000. Since 2003, Dony has been a police officer for a small department in Pennsylvania. In 2007, he was assigned to the department’s Criminal Investigations Division, where he still serves. Beginning in 2010, Dony set out to author his own spy thriller series, one with a distinctly Christian worldview and a patriotic flair for America…as she was founded. When he’s not reading or writing, he loves staying fit and cheering on the Philadelphia Eagles. Dony believes the tenets of a rich & rewarding life include faith, family and freedom. In that order. He resides in south-central Pennsylvania with his wife and two children.

Website: www.DonyJayBooks.com
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Email: DonyJay@DonyJayBooks.com

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Why I Write Thrillers

BraxtonAuthor Braxton DeGarmo:

So, I’m asked, why do you write suspense and thrillers? The simple answer is that I write what I like to read. I’ve always enjoyed an edge-of-the-seat reading experience. You know, the kind of book where it’s one in the morning and you have go to work at eight, but want to read one more chapter first. Then, three chapters later you finally give in to your need for sleep. Which genre of books gives you that? For me, it’s suspense and thrillers. But a good thriller isn’t just a string of action scenes. There has to be strong characters with real-life relationships. And there has to be a message of some kind for me to close the book and feel fulfilled. A good book moves you along with the plot while rooting for the characters. A great book has depth and gets you thinking about more than the story line and whether or not the guy gets the girl.

Have I succeeded in writing the kind of book I like to read? I can only say, I hope so. I realize that not everyone enjoys all genres. Those that do are “rare birds.” But I hope that I’m delivering a message that can get every reader thinking, while also giving her a story that keeps her involved, and maybe keeps her up ‘til the wee hours of the morning. I write a mix of thrillers, from medical to political to general police. Most of my stories revolve around issues of social injustice – human trafficking, medical kidnapping, and property rights – or, more recently, looking into Biblical prophecies and how they’re being fulfilled today. (Do you know who sits on David’s throne today?)

As a Christian, I write from my Christian worldview. That doesn’t mean I’m writing my books “for the choir.” My desire is to reach everyone with the message I believe God wants me to impart. After all, these are issues that affect us all, whether directly or indirectly. Still, I honor my beliefs by writing “clean” fiction. You won’t find explicit sex, profanity, or the Lord’s Name taken in vain in my books. Yes, the characters might find themselves in very worldly situations, but that’s the world we live in, the same world Jesus walked in despite our technological advances. As Solomon said, “There’s nothing new under the sun.”

Again, why do I write suspense and thrillers? Maybe my simple answer isn’t so straightforward after all, because the books I like to read are not typically “simple” books. A moving plot. Real-life characters caught up in true-to-life situations. A theme or message that makes you think beyond the story. Not to mention, a story presented from a Godly point-of-view. That’s the kind of book I like to read. I hope I’ve succeeded in writing such books as well.

About Braxton DeGarmo:

Braxton can’t lay claim to wanting to be a writer all his life, although his mother and seventh grade English teacher were convinced he had what it would take. He went to Duke University, earned a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Engineering with a major in Bio-Medical Engineering, and followed that with medical school at the University of Cincinnati. After a residency in Emergency Medicine at Madigan Army Medical Center, he served tours as the Chief, Emergency Medical Services at Fort Campbell, KY and as a research Flight Surgeon at Fort Rucker, AL. Who had time to write?

By the late 1990′s, his professional and family life had settled down, somewhat, and his mother once again took up her mantra, “Write a book. You’re a good writer.” Yet, with no experience in writing anything other than technical articles, he hesitated to try his hand at fiction. That changed in 1997 when the local newspaper held a writing contest for Valentine’s Day. Out of 1100 entries, he made it to the top five finalists and realized that maybe he could write fiction after all.

The next ten years saw him learning the craft of writing through local writers’ groups, seminars, critique groups and more. “The Militant Genome” (©July 2012) marked his first formal publication. “Indebted” (©January 2013) has been well received, and his third and fourth novels, “Looks that Deceive” (©May 2013) and “Rescued and Remembered” (©November 2013) began what is now a four book series that includes “The Silenced Shooter” (©July 2014) and “Wrongfully Removed” (©June 2015).

Eighteen years after that first hesitant start, he can’t find enough time to write as much as he’d like. He now lives in Missouri with his wife, Paula. Their two children are grown and with three grandchildren nearby, “Papa” wears a number of hats.

Visit Braxton DeGarmo’s website

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Why I Write Suspense Mystery

L DuncanAuthor Lillian Duncan:

I write suspense mystery because I love to read suspense and mystery novels. The more suspense, the better. The more action, the better! I love the vicarious thrill and that’s the way I want the thrill—vicariously not in real life. And what’s life without some romance? So most of my stories have a touch or two of that as well, some more than others.

But can suspense/mystery really be Christian fiction? I say absolutely! What a great way to show God’s love when a character is facing the possibly the worst time of their life. A crisis can bring us the realization that we need God. And yes, my characters go from one crisis to another in my books.

It’s rather exhausting even if it’s vicariously.

I like to think of myself as a parable writer. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly message. Jesus used parables to teach a godly principle about such ideas as forgiveness, loving our neighbors, or how much God loves us.

That’s my goal as well. I write to share God’s message of love to my readers while giving my readers an entertaining and exciting story to read.

About Lillian:

Lillian is a multi-published author who lives in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband and a menagerie of pets. She writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense and mystery novels with a touch of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us. To learn more about Lillian, you may visit her at www.lillianduncan.net or www.lillian-duncan.com. She also has a devotional blog at www.PowerUpWithGod.com.

See one of Lillian’s books on PWP’s Featured Books.