Good day my bookish divas and divos. I’m always a little amazed when an author is willing to stop by and provide us with insight. Today I’m pleased to welcome award-winning journalist and author, Susan Hunter, who will be introducing us to the idea of writing genre mysteries and promotion. Without further adieu, I give you Ms. Hunter, author of the Leah Nash Mysteries series, including Dangerous Mistakes.
Who Do You Think You Are?
When I wrote the first book in the Leah Nash Mysteries series, I didn’t give much thought to what category of mystery it best fit. I just wanted readers to meet an interesting lead character, find her story intriguing, the characters around her engaging, and the mystery she solved worth the effort.
But I soon learned that promotion requires that books be defined. Is it a police procedural? A hardboiled detective novel? Softboiled? Thriller? Suspense? Cozy? You have to check off the right box, use the right keywords to make sure the right readers find your book.
There’s enough of the rebel in me to resent being forced to categorize and file my series into a tidy box. Like any parent, I feel my “baby” is unique and deserves the widest possible recognition. But feelings of pride and ownership aside, there’s also enough of the practical side in me to realize that readers and booksellers need a way to organize mountains of books into separate tidy stacks for ease of discovery.
Still, when a long-established writer of mysteries suggested to me that the category my series fit was cozy, I was surprised—and I’m chagrined to admit it now, a little insulted. I assumed, based on nothing more than quick glances at pun-laden titles and book covers featuring quilts, cats or cartoon illustrations, that the cozy genre consisted of light and fluffy quick reads, featuring sweet heroines and easy solutions. Somehow not quite a “real” mystery. My book, in contrast, had some very dark happenings, a heroine more prickly than cozy, and a truly disturbing crime. How could it possibly be cozy?
She soon schooled me on the most basic definition of a cozy: a story featuring an amateur sleuth, with minimal sex and violence, set in a small town with a recurring cast of characters. Check, check, and check again as far as my book went. She also suggested in the kindest terms, that I stop being such a genre snob. Clearly, I needed to do some reassessing.
I may hold them close, but my after my biases take a whack and fall down around me, I’m a fairly quick study. I learned from first-hand reading and a little research that cozies come in all shapes and sizes, from frothy reads that are more romance than mystery to extremely intricate puzzles that deftly handle some serious themes. And that I had been reading them for years. Yes, Agatha Christie, I’m looking at you.
The heroines can range in age from roughly 18 to 80—and occasionally the lead character is male rather than female. But no matter the gender, the amateur detective is typically competent, quick-thinking and courageous. And sometimes funny and prickly as well.
So, I reconsidered my position, assumed the mantle of cozy mystery writer, and now happily select that as a top classification category for my series. My only regret is that for readers who still hold the condescending opinion I once had—that cozies are to mysteries as stevia is to sugar: a close approximation, but not the real thing—a whole genre of reading pleasure remains untouched.
A clever killer. A smart reporter. An unexpected twist.
Small-town reporter Leah Nash investigates a murder no one else believes happened—until a second death signals the killer’s first mistake. Nothing is as it seems, and the twisting trail she follows pits Leah against her police lieutenant best friend, her new boss, and even her mother. Still, the smart and smart-ass Leah can’t back down. If she’s right, she can save someone she loves. If she’s wrong, the next victim could be her.
Independent, intrepid and irrepressible Leah Nash can’t resist a good story, especially not one that ends in murder. Sharp dialogue, plots that move and storylines full of unexpected turns make this series a fan favorite.
Published by: Himmel River Press
Publication Date: November 2015
Number of Pages: 370
ISBN: 1519208588 (ISBN13: 9781519208583)
Series: Leah Nash Mysteries #2 (Each is a Stand Alone Mystery)
Susan Hunter is a charter member of Introverts International (which meets the 12th of Never at an undisclosed location). She has worked as a reporter and managing editor, during which time she received a first-place UPI award for investigative reporting and a Michigan Press Association first place award for enterprise/feature reporting.
Susan has also taught composition at the college level, written advertising copy, newsletters, press releases, speeches, web copy, academic papers, and memos. Lots and lots of memos. She lives in rural Michigan with her husband Gary, who is a man of action, not words.
During certain times of the day, she can be found wandering the mean streets of small-town Himmel, Wisconsin, dropping off a story lead at the Himmel Times Weekly, or meeting friends for a drink at McClain’s Bar and Grill.
Catch Up With Susan Hunter On:
leahnashmysteries.com, Goodreads, Twitter – @LeahNashMystery, & Facebook – leahnashmysteries!
Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Hunter. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com gift card. The giveaway begins on May 7 and runs through May 20, 2018. Void where prohibited.
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