Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dead of the Day

Dead of the Day: An Annie Seymour Mystery (Annie Seymour Mysteries)We have a guest blogger today! Our friend, Karen E. Olson’s Dead of the Day was just released on Tuesday. Aside from a fabulous new book with a fabulous new cover, she’s got a fabulous new look on her website. Check it out!

After a skerfuffle at Borders about whether this book was supposed to be on the shelves yet or not (I was right), I got my hands on one of these books.

Oh yeah, Dead of the Day is good. :-)

And now, Karen E. Olson:

I never want to write the same book twice. That said, it’s not easy to change it up with each book when you’re writing a series, in first-person POV. But I’m doing the best I can, and it’s not just for the reader, but it’s for me. I don’t want to get bored, either.

SACRED COWS, my first Annie Seymour mystery, is a straight traditional mystery with a newspaper reporter sleuth and a dead Yale student. SECONDHAND SMOKE became my Mafia book, although there are no horse heads found in beds. And in this third in the series, DEAD OF THE DAY, which is just out this week, I turned up the action a lot and tried to do my best to write a mystery that has some thriller aspects.

The lines of what makes a “mystery” and what makes a “thriller” are rather smudged in most cases. Normally when we think of “thriller,” we think something like the Bourne series or Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series. When we think “mystery,” we think of Agatha Christie, Sue Grafton, Michael Connelly.

One of the clearest ways I’ve heard to distinguish the two types of books is that in a thriller, the book’s protagonist is trying to prevent a crime, and in a mystery, the protagonist is trying to solve a crime that’s already happened. A thriller is more fast-paced and takes place over a shorter time period than a mystery.

In DEAD OF THE DAY, there are two crimes that must be solved, thus the mystery. But the book takes place only over one weekend, and the action moves at light-speed, therefore, the thriller part. I’ve got cliffhanger chaper endings, something my editors pushed for in the second book and I took even further in this one. It’s fun writing a sentence and realizing I’ve got the “aha!” that ends the chapter but hopefully keeps the reader wanting more and turning the pages. This was not an easy thing to learn; it’s more one of those instinctual things that comes with reading more and
writing more.

It was interesting straddling the two genres, and then throwing in the romance between Annie and Tom and Vinny. So I’ve really got three genres for the price of one!

How do you feel about combining genres to create something that can’t be put in a box?

5 bonus scribbles:

Bernita 11/11/2007 06:06:00 AM  

I'm all for combination!
Adds depth, imho.

Edie 11/11/2007 10:41:00 AM  

The book sounds terrific! I was just at a library yesterday with about a dozen mystery writers, including Laura Lippman, Robert Crais, Ellen Hart and many others. It was an all day event, and great fun.

I belong to "Elements of RWA" chapter. It has a lot of writers with hard to categorize books. I don't care to fit in a box myself. Too stifling.

spyscribbler 11/11/2007 07:01:00 PM  

I love combination, too, Bernita!

Edie, I started it, and it is terrific! That sounds like a great chapter. Writing outside the box sure sounds wise to me!

Karen Olson 11/11/2007 10:48:00 PM  

I like the challenge of writing outside the box.

Thanks so much for having me over here! Hope you continue to enjoy the book!!

Ethan 11/14/2007 04:36:00 PM  

Karen E. Olson’s Dead of the Day sounds like a great read. I'll be sure to check it out. I'm especially taken by the "mystery" aspect that this post hits on. I'm a big fan of thrillers so this sounds like it might be right up my ally. You may also think to check out
Paul Mark Tag.His books Category 5 and sequal "Prophecy" are intriguing mysterys too. I especially like Tag's eco thriller aspect in his novels. Sounds like Karen Olson and Paul Mark Tag writing have some similar narratives worth check out. Thanks! And I'd appreciate any follow up if you check his books out.