IF CATFISH HAD NINE LIVES is most recent. BUSHEL FULL OF MURDER pubs in June.
I have a question. When you begin the editing process are your notes and revision-suggestions based on a first read?
I'm thinking that if you have not read the entire book at least once you may make note of, or question something, which happens later on.
Copy edits pretty much jump right off the page but the other stuff, like plot holes filled, questions answered, twists and surprises may be further down the line because that's what the writer is intends, even though as a reader you may feel a little lost as the story builds.
Great post. I love learning how you guys actually do your job.
1) I’d like to start attending more conferences again. I backed off on them quite a bit while my kids were young, but now I’m ready to dive back in. I’m specifically interested in attending conferences with romance, mystery and YA writers, and speaking at RWA chapter meetings. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are looking for faculty for an upcoming conference.
2) I’m hungry for some emotional women’s fiction with a strong romantic element. Something along the lines of JoJo Moyes. I love her books because they’re unputdownable, but also very affecting.
3) Similarly, I’d like to see more intense, emotional YA and NA. I’ve been seeing a lot of great NA lately with electric romantic chemistry (that doesn’t necessarily mean super explicit, but I’m okay with steamy). Chemistry isn’t always the easiest thing to convey on the page, so when it’s done right, I can’t stop reading! I especially like angsty characters.
4) Historical Romance. It breaks my heart that historicals are a tougher sell these days, but they’re still my first love. I’m not giving up on them. It’s the first thing I want to pick up when I’m reading for pleasure. When I have some screen time, I’m usually rewatching “Outlander”, “The Tudors”, or any one of the BBC Jane Austen productions. And I’ve watched every “Jane Eyre” production at least 3 times. I continue to look for strong new voices in historical romance. I’m particularly interested in Regencies, Victorians and Scottish. I just know that more readers will come back to them.
5) I’d like to grow my social media platform. I’ve been very inconsistent on Twitter and Facebook. My presence is sporadic. I’m really going to work on contributing more regularly. That said, I want my tweets/statuses to be meaningful and relevant. I’m too busy working with my clients to tweet my every move. What kind of agent tweets would you like to see more of?
I wish my writing could speak for itself rather than trying to pitch it like a used car salesman, but I guess that's how it's done.
Is there, in your opinion and the publishing world in general, a substantive difference between cozy, traditional, and amateur sleuth mysteries? If so, what are the defining features of each of these categories?
Just as your readers have not found this to be an easy question to answer neither do I. One of the reasons, for me, is that I tend not to try to lump all cozies together in a neat little box. I do think there can easily be a simplicity and formula to a cozy, but I find that the most successful cozy authors, as with the most successful authors in any genre, tend to push those boundaries a little bit.
I think cozy mysteries can best be defined by the word used to describe them. They are cozy and everything that word conjures in your mind. Think of warm tea, comfy chairs, cuddly pets, a soft newly knitted blanket and warm, freshly baked pastries. That’s a cozy. When you read one you feel like you’re being embraced by a world you want to be in. You’ve found new friends and maybe a protagonist who inspires you or who could easily be your best friend. A cozy is almost always (there’s always an exception to any rule) an amateur sleuth, but an amateur sleuth isn’t always cozy.For example, Jane Steward, the protagonist in Ellery Adam’s Book Retreat Mystery Murder in the Mystery Suite is just one perfect example of a cozy sleuth. She’s the manager of a storybook resort where readers can spend days in the comfort of books (see how cozy this is). Jane is not typically the kind of person to get into trouble, but she does love a good mystery and when one shows up at her door she’s just nosy enough to need to investigate. The book itself doesn’t move too fast, there tends not to be a lot of blood, usually no more than one body, and no matter how much trouble the sleuth gets in to, the reader never has reason to really be afraid or even feel the need to sit on the edge of her seat.Julia Kalas, the unconventional heroine of Minerva Koenig’s NINE DAYS, is an amateur sleuth, but as she’s described by Booklist as a “five-foot Sherman tank of criminal intentions,” we can see she’s definitely not cozy. She’s a rough and tough construction worker/career criminal who is short, fat, pushing forty, and stoically dealing with being forced into the witness protection program after her husband’s murder by gang members. Her new life in a small Texas town bores her (while it would probably comfort a cozy sleuth) but when someone she’s come to care about is accused of a murder, Julia decides to find the real killer (the hallmark of any good amateur sleuth). Traditional mysteries probably have the broadest definition. They can be amateur sleuths or official investigators, they can be a little darker or light and funny. What they aren’t is suspense or cozy. They tend to fall somewhere in between. Typically an amateur sleuth who is not cozy will fall into the area of traditional mystery. Most publishers would just identify this type of book as just mystery. The Minerva Koenig example I gave would fall into that area. So would DE Johnson’s The Detroit Electric Scheme, a book (series really) that features an amateur sleuth, but has more action and twists and turns than your cozy and, of course, the subject matter itself is not at all cozy. In a traditional mystery you’ll also see a faster pace and maybe a little more blood and guts, but nothing that would compare to what a suspense might offer.