Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why I Write Mysteries - Diane Gilbert Madsen

Editor's Note: Welcome to Diane Gilbert Madsen, who writes the DD McGil Literati Mystery series, published by Midnight Ink. From Diane's Website: "The DD McGil Literati Mystery Series features DD McGil, Insurance Investigator, probing the true mysteries and secrets that famous authors have in their past. The series gives readers an intriguing blend of mystery and history. If you think you know all there is to know about Robert Burns or Ernest Hemingway, you’ll discover some interesting – and deadly – mysteries afoot – all set in today’s world of academic and corporate treachery."

Why I Write Mysteries

Diane Gilbert Madsen

Since the November 1, 2009 publication of “A Cadger’s Curse,” the first in the DD McGil Literati Mystery Series, this is a question I’ve been asked frequently, (why I write mysteries) and I find myself not giving any one answer.

One of the obvious answers is that I like to write, and I like to read mysteries, so I’m writing what I’d like to read. My goal is to write an entertaining, amusing story with a good plot, engaging characters, and clues that are fair but still manage to misdirect the reader. I’m not striving to be socially relevant, and I don’t espouse causes. I leave that to others. I’m striving for goode olde entertainment. (Don’t you just hate it when people add all those extra “e’s?)

Another reason (and you probably won’t hear this from a lot of writers, but I’m being perfectly honest) is that over the years I’ve run across a number of people I don’t like, and writing mysteries give me a chance to kill off these folks. What a thrill to achieve the great satisfaction of getting rid of my foes and not have to suffer any real consequences! “A Cadger’s Curse” has five murders -- five being better than one. My husband Tom tells me I’ll never have to see a psychiatrist because I purge all my angst through the murders in the books. Tom also tells me he’s sure I’ll never run out of villains. (Does this mean he thinks I’ve made a lot of enemies?)

One unintended consequence of writing mysteries is that I have found people love to talk to a mystery author. It is great fun to talk with mystery fans, whom I find are invariably knowledgeable and friendly with wide ranging interests. Many fans want to write their own mystery novel, and they like to get reinforcement to convince them that it can be done.

Writing mysteries gives me an opportunity to combine a good mystery plot with interesting bits of history. I’ve always been interested in both mystery and history, and combining them both in my DD McGil Literati Mystery Series has been a fun challenge. I enjoy doing the research. For “A Cadger’s Curse,” I researched a true incident in the life of the great Scottish Bard, Robert Burns. In the second of the Literati Mystery Series, “Hunting for Hemingway,” coming out in September 2010, I take the consequences of a pivotal event in Hemingway’s life into modern day Chicago. The third in the Literati Mystery Series focuses on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1894 trip to Chicago.

When I attended the University of Chicago as an undergraduate, I loved to write. Many of my fellow students who had trouble with their English Lit papers would beg me for help. The papers I wrote for them all got “A’s” for my efforts, but my professor would not give me an “A,” try as I might. Soon this was the joke of the campus and stayed so through the years. That’s why “A Cadger’s Curse” is dedicated to my college roommate, Alta Sumner, with these words, “Thanks for helping me remember and helping me forget the infamous Dr. Bailey.”

A Cadger’s Curse – Midnight Ink – November 2009

Hunting for Hemingway – Midnight Ink – September 2010


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