Writing the Cozy mystery – why I love the genre.
As I write this blog, I’ve written 24 cozy mysteries. There’s something to the genre that makes me feel warm and comfortable. Like going home to grandmas and eating her oatmeal and raisin cookies. I love the endings where good conquers evil and misunderstandings clear up, and even bad relationships turn at least a bit for the good.
Community. Small towns where people say hi at the coffee shop even if they just told their best friend what a witch you are. Gossip flows from the old men having breakfast at the diner. And most of the town attends one church or the other. Which also leads to a bit of a competition on who’s worshiping the ‘correct’ way.
I grew up outside a small town. We lived on a farm but I had a lot of adult siblings that came home on Sunday’s to visit and have dinner. Food was big in my family. We didn’t have much but my mom put up everything she got. She canned, froze, jellied, and pickled all summer so we’d have food in the winter. I didn’t totally recognize the work she put in the preparation and storage of the food until I was out on my own. Pizza, tacos, and Chinese food were a treat and only happened when we went to the larger town twenty minutes to the west of our farm.
We butchered a steer and a pig every year. I have to say I got so tired of steak being on the menu that I rarely eat it now. Fish was trout that we caught on our camping trips and my mother either froze or canned for later. I do love a good pan-fried trout, dusted in seasoned flour and cooked over an open flame.
It wasn’t a bad life. But in my books, I’ve made it just a little better. And for Corned Beef and Casualties, I used a trip to Chicago for a writing event during the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration a few years ago for inspiration. Parade go-ers were heading home when I was looking for a place to have lunch. Dressed in the Irish Green, and for some people, not much else even in the Chicago springtime, they made their way to their rides or their rooms weaving down the sidewalks enjoying their early morning buzz.
So I made the experience better and moved it to South Cove, California. Better for everyone, except for the victim. And I feel a little bad about that.
My husband says I’m always looking for the other side of the coin. When things are good, I look for the bad. When things are bad, I look for the good. Cozies are good for that. They remind you that even if the evening news is filled with bad, there’s some good in the world. You just have to find it.
Jill Gardner’s store, Coffee, Books, and More, is raking in the green as her little coastal town holds a big festival for St. Patrick’s Day. But the locals aren’t exactly feeling the luck of the Irish, thanks to the rowdy behavior of some of the tourists who are pouring in.
Then a woman who just visited Jill’s shop is found dead near the shore. The fireworks display on the beach may have already happened, but the real fireworks have just begun…
Praise for The Tourist Trap Mysteries
“I love the author’s style, which was warm and friendly . . . [A] wonderfully appealing series.”—Dru’s Book Musings
“Light, fun, and kept me thoroughly engaged.”—The Young Folks