Thursday, July 26, 2018

Location in My Novels

Location plays a key role in my novels. I tend to use real locations (only one of my mystery novels, Mystery of the Dinner Playhouse, has a fictional city although thinly disguised for Boulder, CO).

In my Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series, books take place in Hawaii, Colorado, California and on an Alaskan cruise. These are all locations I’m familiar with. Since Paul Jacobson is a crime magnet, I move his around to different locations so that he doesn’t decimate the population in any one locale.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Some of My Favorite Characters in My Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series

I’ve been asked which of the characters in my mystery novels I like most. In my Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series there are a number.

First of all is the protagonist, octogenarian Paul Jacobson. He comes across as a curmudgeon but underneath has a heart of gold. In spite of short-term memory loss, he becomes an amateur sleuth and even has a romance with a young chick in her seventies.

Second is Paul’s granddaughter, Jennifer. She helps her grandfather solve crimes, and in later books in the series, they tell each other politically incorrect geezer jokes.

Next is Henry Palmer. Henry is on the autism spectrum, lacks social graces, and has a keen sense of observation. Paul and Henry have a running insult fest.

Finally, introduced in book five of the series, we have Madeline Hightower. She is a force of nature and marries Henry.

All of these characters contribute to the story and have their comedic elements.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Writing Quirky Characters

One of the things I enjoy in writing mystery novels is to introduce humorous and quirky secondary characters. They can contribute to solving the mystery, get in the way or provide comic relief.

In my first published novel, Retirement Homes Are Murder, I originally planned to kill off one of these secondary characters. My editor, Deni Dietz, intelligently pointed out that I might want to keep this character around for future books in the series. She was right. Instead, he suffered a heart attack but survived for another day to keep up the banter with my protagonist. Readers liked that this character continued to be present in other books in the series.

Quirky characters sometimes have a life of their own. They appear and then start playing more of a role in the story. This is fine just as long as they don’t usurp the position of the protagonist.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Writing Humor

I enjoy reading humorous books and writing humor in my mystery novels. Humor fits in well in mysteries because good humor surprises the reader, and mysteries are all about surprises anyway.

I’ve been fortunate to be a finalist twice for The Lefty Award for best humorous mystery. These were two books in the Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series, Living with Your Kids Is Murder and Cruising in Your Eighties Is Murder.

Along my writing journey, I’ve learned several things about writing humor.

First, you can’t force it. It has to be natural and fit into the story.

Second, certain characters cry out to be humorous. Once they get started, you can’t change them into stodgy types.

Finally, as a writer it’s a true joy when something humorous comes out of my keyboard and causes me to laugh. This keeps me going.