I am so happy to welcome Ali Brandon here today!!
Better Cozy than Crazy
by Ali Brandon
Author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery Series
As author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime, I definitely qualify as a cozy mystery author. We’re talking a sleuthing cat, a quirky independent bookstore, and an earnest female protagonist: the cozy mystery trifecta! But, popular as the sub-genre is, cozy mysteries don’t always get the respect they should. Naysayers—often found among the ranks of the hard-boiled mystery and thriller authors—claim that we wrap crime in pretty scrapbooking paper, that we trivialize murder.
I say that the “nays” have it wrong.
Take a look at any cozy mystery, and you will see right away that the book focuses on characters and community. The murder may take place offstage—and sometimes, with an offbeat weapon—but the cozy mystery victim is rarely dismissed as simply another corpse. We show the human side of violent death, and how the victim’s passing affects the characters around them. That’s something that is often glossed over by the “crazy” writers, i.e. the thriller and hardboiled authors.
Thriller/hardboiled victims are often identified only by their physical characteristics. In many instances, they’re called up out of central casting and barely rate a first name, let alone a personal history. They are there to be murdered and help move along the story action. Their onstage and often gruesome end usually generates only a reflexive, visceral reaction on the part of both the protagonist and the reader.
But in a cozy mystery, our amateur sleuth inevitably knows the victim personally, and she is affected in one way or another by that person’s passing. The cozy mystery murder victim has a name, a face, an occupation. He or she is not just next in line on a serial killer’s hit list. And readers are affected, too. They’ve often had a few chapters—maybe even previous books in the series—to get to know the victim. It can be a sad moment, indeed, when that character meets his or her literary end.
That said, we cozy authors do like to have fun, both in our books—recipes and crafts, anyone?—and in our real life. And we do have a sense of humor about our work. Because of that, I’d like to present my personal top ten list of reasons why I think it’s better to be a cozy mystery author than a crazy one. (In full disclosure, said list comes from a writers’ conference panel I offer in conjunction with thriller writer Patrick Kendrick, a friend and one of those dreaded crazy authors.)
TOP TEN REASONS WHY IT’S BETTER TO BE A COZY MYSTERY AUTHOR THAN A CRAZY ONE:
10) Cat hair is an expected addition to your professional wardrobe.
9) Your readers mail you cute stuffed animals in little gift bags, not bloody body parts wrapped in butcher paper.
8) Your Google searches don’t automatically trigger visits from the FBI/CIA/NSA.
7) You can actually smile in your author photo.
6) Your readers write you and make suggestions about your next book in the series.
5) Your book covers have cats on them…even if your mystery doesn’t have any cats in it.
4) You get to include recipes and craft tips in your books if you want to.
3) You can wear cute cat ears at writers’ conferences if you feel like it…and no one thinks you’re crazy.
2) Readers actually cry when YOUR characters get murdered.
And the Number One reason it’s better to be a cozy writer than a crazy writer…
1) Your spouse doesn’t constantly have people whispering to him that if he ever goes missing, they’ll be sure to give the police YOUR name.
Ali Brandon is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. Writing under her real name, Diane A.S. Stuckart, she penned the popular Leonardo da Vinci historical mystery series, which received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, as well as a Florida Book Award. A native Texan with a degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma, Diane a/k/a Ali now lives in South Florida. In addition to her husband and four dogs, she shares her home with two orange tabby boys, Butch and Sundance, and Brandon Bobtail and Ophelia, black cat brother and sister.
(A Black Cat Bookshop Mystery)
5th in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Berkley (November 3, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
The New York Times bestselling author of Literally Murder returns to Pettistone’s Fine Books, where the silence of Hamlet the cat speaks volumes about two mysterious deaths…
It’s almost Fourth of July, and to boost customer traffic in their Brooklyn neighborhood, bookseller Darla Pettistone decides to throw a block party. All the local shop owners are thrilled—except the proprietor of Perky’s Coffee Shop, who thinks Darla is trying to poach his customers by selling her own caffeinated brew in her new bookshop café.
But when Hamlet comes upon the owner’s not-so-perky wife, it’s clear a killer has crashed the party. And when a second local business owner shuffles off this mortal coil—as Hamlet’s namesake would say—Darla and her curious cat must perform some fancy footwork to shine a spotlight on a secret worth killing for…
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
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Contest Will End December 12, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
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