Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Why I Write Mysteries By Steven Rigolosi

*Editor's note: Welcome to Steven Rigolosi. Love his list!

We all spend our days and nights reading and writing paragraphs. So, for the sake of variety, I thought I’d mix up the format a little bit, and answer in bullets.

So…why do I write mysteries?

=> Because when I started writing, nobody was buying haunted house books, which is originally what I wanted to write.
=> Because I grew up surrounded by my parents’ bookshelves, which were loaded with the greats: Agatha Christie, Erle Stanley Gardner, Ellery Queen, Ross Thomas, John D. McDonald, P.D. James, Ngaio Marsh.It’s tough to read these writers and not want to follow in their footsteps.
=> Because for me there’s no greater reading pleasure than matching wits with intelligent readers, playing fair with them but at the same time trying to pull the wool over their eyes.
=> Because the genre is so rich and allows such wide latitude.So far I’ve written three books, each of a different type: Who Gets the Apartment? (a caper), Circle of Assassins (noir), Androgynous Murder House Party (satire).
=> Because life is mysterious, with so many unanswered questions. When you write a mystery, you get to answer those questions however you’d like.
=> Because it seems that everyone loves a mystery, which is really helpful if you want people to read your books (and I do!). The odds of someone reading a mystery seem a lot greater than someone reading, say, a historical novel or a presidential biography.
=> Because writing mysteries is as much escapism for me as it is for the readers.
=> Because mysteries require a good story and a strong plot, and I think our job as novelists is to be great storytellers who keep readers coming back for more.
=> Because in mysteries the good end happily and the bad end unhappily. As Oscar Wilde said, that’s what fiction is all about.
=> Because of my fellow mystery writers—a very supportive, creative, and friendly group of people.
=> Because I love going to the mystery conventions, seeing what’s new and exciting, and hearing other writers talk about their work and their protagonists.
=> Because I love the length of the genre, which forces you to develop your characters, interest your readers, introduce your puzzle, and resolve everything satisfactorily in 300 pages or fewer.
=> Because I like the challenge of it all, of trying to do something new and different, of trying to work within the confines of the genre while trying to make a contribution to it.
=> Because I work full time and I feel that to have a happy life, I need to have something beyond my job. Writing is my get-away, the thing I have that belongs to me that is separate from my commute, and the demands of my job, and the stresses of everyday life.
=> Because one of my biggest goals in life is to have one of my books on someone’s “favorite books of all time” list.
=> Because we all want to make our mark somehow, to leave something of us behind that is remembered fondly, to have the satisfaction of knowing that we’ve succeeded in entertaining people, or tricking them, or surprising them, and that they appreciated the experience.

Steven Rigolosi, a resident of Northern New Jersey, is the author of the Tales from the Back Page mystery/suspense series. Each book takes a quirky advertisement on the back page of a New York City newspaper as its starting point, exploring who placed the ad and why, as well as who responded and what happened afterwards. His most recent book is Androgynous Murder House Party, in which readers are faced with two mysteries. Not only must they discover the murderer’s identity, they must also read between the lines to discover the gender of each of the characters, all of whom have androgynous names—Robin, Lee, Alex, Chris, Terry, and so forth. Library Journal has called Rigolosi “a completely fresh voice in the mystery genre.”




Who Gets the Apartment? (2006)

Circle of Assassins (2007)

Androgynous Murder House Party (2009)

1 comment:

  1. It's interesting, Steven, how many people became hooked on whatever they found on their parents' bookshelves! Creating a mystery, and solving it, gives one plenty of satisfaction. Reading a mystery and following the clues...a treat for the brain! Thanks.