We continue our Cozying Up to Jim and Joyce Lavene series with some more questions and some contact information!
Donna - There has been some concern that ‘cozy’ as a designation is a slight to the sub-genre (I don’t think it is, but some authors apparently feel so.) How do you feel about the designation ‘cozy’ for your murder mysteries?
J&J - We think most readers don’t know what that means. Cozy mystery like any other subgenre is a writer’s term. We have to know what it means so we can send our stuff to the right editors and market it. But readers just know what they like to read. They might enjoy a cozy today and read a police procedural tomorrow. Most people happily read across the spectrum without ever knowing the difference.
Donna – You wrote ‘The Everything Guide to Writing a Novel’ and teach classes and workshops on writing. Are there any skills to do with writing that you think can’t be taught?
J&J - Voice. No one can teach you HOW to tell a story. We can teach people how a story goes together; verbs, nouns, sentences, plot, character, but if they can’t put it together in a way that a reader finds interesting, it doesn’t mean anything. Voice is what makes two writers, telling the same basic story, completely different.
Donna - Why murder mysteries? What is it about the genre that led you to writing them?
J&J - We started out writing romances but the genre was so limited. Our editor kept saying we had too much plot. This isn’t meant as any slight on romance. If you can write it, you’re lucky! But we couldn’t stay in the pocket with the basic formula. We started experimenting with other genres and have published fantasy, science fiction, romantic suspense and others. Mystery seems to fit us best right now. Not sure why really. We like to have whole characters that have whole lives with jobs and friends and family and problems that don’t just revolve around them. Maybe we like to kill people too. Who knows?
Donna - Do you both read murder mysteries? If so, what are your favorite authors?
J&J - We both read a little of everything. Jim’s favorite authors right now are Charlaine Harris and E.E. Doc Smith. Joyce’s are Loretta Chase, A.E. Maxwell and Simon Greene.
Thank you so much, Joyce and Jim, for being my first guests here at CMM. I want to encourage everyone to check out Joyce and Jim’s wonderful array of murder mystery series. Here is some information that will help you find out all about them!
Blog Spot: http://carolinaconspiracyblog.blogspot.com/