Thursday 8 March 2018

#Crime? Well actually, yes!

Thursday News! 

Elgin Library- in the daylight! 
Last night, I achieved something I've been aiming for all year and that was to attend a session of the Elgin Writers Group which I've been a postal member of for approximately a year. 

It's a round trip of about 100 miles for me to get there, but apart from a little hitch in not easily locating the Elgin Library venue in the dark, in the park, it was great to be there and meet up with the 15 other attendees. 

I really enjoyed listening to the others read their work and it was the first time for a very long time that I've been required to create a Haiku on the spur of the moment! The last time would have been me leading a class lesson on Haiku during a project on Japan with my 11-12 year old pupils probably more than a decade ago. 

Here's last night's attempt given around a >5 minute slot to compose it. 

There was no exact theme but since the Haiku form is essentially about 2 (opposing) profound statements encapsulated in the moment what I produced was highly influenced by my recent 'heavy' time spent re-editing my Celtic Fervour Series. The Haiku is bound by rules, the most common form being 3 lines with syllables of 5, 7, 5 ..or a similar variety. 

Before all was calm
Chaos descended in lines
Traditions now gone

The resulting poems around the room were extremely varied but very enjoyable. well as getting on with my re edits to Book 3 of my Celtic Fervour Series After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks (I've completed those for Bks 1 & 2) I was off on a virtual visit to the blog of Val Penny a fairly new Crooked Cat author. Val featured recently with her crime novel Hunter's Close so since crime is her current writing genre I decided to show how crime is never far away from my novels - though they are definitely not crime novels that would be put on the crime shelves of the high street bookstore. 
This is the link to Val penny's Blog HERE I'm sure she'd love you to pop in and say hello.

Here's a REBLOG of my post since it's quite an important aspect that I often need to deal with when in front of the general public.
Is it a crime novel?

I start with a very broad question because you write crime novels, Val, but it’s one which I’ve been asked more than once while selling my novels at Book Fairs, Craft Fairs and events like Highland Games up in North East Scotland. Potential customers have asked me - What are your novels about?  I give them an initial overview that I write Historical Fiction; Contemporary Mystery/ Thrillers and Time Travel Historical. I then say that although my novels would not fully fit the ‘Crime’ genre on Amazon they do have crime in them to varying degrees. Though, perhaps they’re not the crime novels they are looking for.

My first century A.D. historical Celtic Fervour Series isn’t a series of whodunits set in northern Roman Britain (roughly from Yorkshire northwards) but they do have battle scenes where the intent is effectively genocide on the part of the Roman generals who invaded the north. Back then, it was bow to the dictates of Rome or they annihilated any Iron Age tribes who resisted them. That could be said to be very big crime indeed but it’s not what would normally be in a reader’s mind who is interested in ‘police detective led procedural’ crime. Killing one warrior or killing many, in battle, isn’t treated the same as murder would be in a detective novel, yet it is premeditated crime of sorts. Are the police involved? No, but they weren’t invented in Roman Britain! In my historical novels there are also situations of retaliation on the part of the invaded ‘Celts’ when they raid Roman convoys and steal the goods; and when the ‘Celts’ organise ambushes of Roman patrols and kill the auxiliary escorts, but is that crime? There are reports of rape and the death of innocent children in the novels but does that make my story fit the crime genre?

If someone picks up a copy of my mystery novels and reads the blurb they can see that although my mystery thriller Topaz Eyes wouldn’t be classified as a crime novel it does have strong criminal elements. There’s acquisition of goods (jewellery) by devious means; there’s intent to kill; there’s stalking with intent to murder; there’s theft: there’s murder; and there’s accidental death during an aggravated criminal situation – yet my story Topaz Eyes is not considered to be a crime novel because it is primarily a mystery thriller. Are the police involved? Yes, in more than one city but is it a crime novel? Errr…not quite.  Topaz Eyes has also been called a treasure hunt mystery; a romantic mystery suspense that ‘weaves a plot of intrigue across Europe’; ‘A velvety trip packed full of history, mystery and suspense’ and many other wonderful 5* comments. But it’s not a crime novel.

What about my other mysteries published by Crooked Cat Books? Well, funnily enough they also have crime in them but again not the type that gets them classified as crime novels.

Monogamy Twist is a fairly simple mystery that centres on a plot that’s a combination of a quirky Dickensian-style bequest of a dilapidated Yorkshire mansion house and a somewhat shady ancestral tree. There’s fraud; there’s intended deception and possibly even a touch of benign coercion- all of which might court prosecution today- but essentially it’s a slightly humorous ancestral romantic mystery. Are the police involved? No, but the main female character has to be an amateur sleuth to solve the mystery.

Take Me Now is what I call my ‘Corporate Sabotage’ mystery so yes, there’s definitely crime involved but it’s a light-hearted, fun romantic comedy mystery. There’s intent to cause bodily harm; there’s malicious and wilful damage to property and people; there’s attempted murder- though, again it isn’t called a crime novel. Are the police involved? Yes, they are. Is there an amateur detective involved? Yes, but she’s also one of the main characters in the romance. 

My point in all of this seems to be it’s actually quite hard to write a novel without any kind of crime in it! The next time I sell my books at a Fair of any kind perhaps I should get a large pop up banner to proclaim – I’m not actually a crime author but… J with a lot of *wink, Winks* and smiley faces.

I'll back again tomorrow with something a bit different... 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for reading my blog. Please pop your thoughts about this post in the comment box. :-)