I'd like to welcome Victoria Hamilton today! She writes the Vintage Kitchen Mystery series. Her next is Bowled Over, out March 5th!
To Romance or NOT to Romance?
By: Victoria Hamilton
First off, I want to thank Jim and Joyce for having me here! I really appreciate their hospitality.
I am the happy and proud author of three cozy series, though the only one with any books on shelves at the moment is my Vintage Kitchen Mystery series. Bowled Over, Book 2, comes out on March 5th.
Jaymie Leighton, a thirty-something happy small town girl is the heart of the mysteries. She has, in the past year, been unceremoniously dumped by her ex in favor of a young, slimmer, blonder woman. She’s coming to terms with it and finds that when she least suspects it she has one and a half men interested in her. I say one and a half, because one fellow, millionaire Daniel Collins, is more than willing to declare himself, while the hunky detective, Zacchary Christian, prefers to chuck her under the chin and tell her what a cute girl she is.
As some bloggers before me have pointed out, this is the dilemma that every cozy mystery writer ends up with: to romance or not to romance? On the one hand, romance is a part of life, right? And if we want our novels to reflect reality then there will be, on occasion, romance and a love interest in the life of our protagonist and even some of the secondary characters.
On the other hand, I read Agatha Christie books for most of my youth, then moved on to Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton; quite frankly, the love lives of most of their characters (barring the charming romance between Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence Beresford) is awkward and faltering, to say the least.
I think many mystery readers would prefer we exclude romance, while an equal number of others are rooting for the protagonist and his or her fellows to have happiness, which often includes a significant other.
So here’s what I think; murder mysteries are, contrarily, about life not death, and life is a big, messy ball of confusion. It’s all co-mingled: life and death, love and hate, jealousy and serenity, greed and compassion, marriage and murder.
However romance, while being a part of the books I write, will never take center stage, or they would not be mysteries any more.
I used a tagline when I was still straddling the worlds of being a romance author (which is where I got my publishing start, though I had been writing unpublishable mysteries for years before that) and mystery author. I said of myself that I ‘liked a little romance in my mystery, and a little mystery in my romance.’ I still think that’s a good motto.
I would truly be interested in the opinion of mystery readers. Do you, or do you not, like a spot of romance in your mysteries?
Meet the author:
Victoria Hamilton is the pseudonym for author Donna Lea Simpson. As
writes the bestselling Vintage Kitchen Mystery series (Book 1 – A Deadly Grind
– May 2012) and the upcoming Merry Muffin Mysteries, also from Berkley
(Book 1 – Bran New Murder – September 3rd, 2013) Victoria
loves cooking and collecting vintage kitchen utensils, as well as reading and
writing mysteries. Check out her webpage for all the latest: http://www.victoriahamiltonmysteries.com
and find her on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorVictoriaHamilton