by Kaye George
|public domain from wiki commons
My friend and fellow blogger here, Marilyn Levinson, suggested this topic, for which I'm grateful! The gist of it is that I write a lot of different things, but the biggest contrast is between my cozy and my noir. I do hit spots in between, but I think many writers stick to one type of writing.
I started out to write traditional mysteries. Really, I did. The one that fits that category the best, I think, will be put out by Barking Rain Press next spring. It features a classical composer sleuth. (That hook isn't considered viable by the big cozy people, but I think it's a good hook, and so does BRP. We'll see, won't we?) An actual cozy will be out for Berkley Prime Crime in either 2013 or 2014, God willin' and the crick don't rise. That one will have recipes and a cute cat.
Here's what I think happened. On the way to getting published in novel form, I turned back to scribbling out short stories, my first love. I got one published that was twisty, but not too dark. However, the more short stories I wrote, the darker they got. Some slipped over into noirishness. In fact, when I decided to gather my short stories together in one volume, I was at a loss as to what to call it, how to market it. There's everything in there from light and fluffy to deep and dark. When I was casting about for something to tie the stories together, for days, I spied the baby quilt a friend had made for my first baby. I was in the process of mailing it to my daughter for her baby and took a few pictures to remember it by. A light bulb went off. My collection was a patchwork! (Hence the title, A PATCHWORK OF STORIES.) One of those photos became the cover, too.
Why did my short stories get so dark? Maybe it was frustration at writing novels for years and not getting them published. Or maybe that's a part of me that I only want to explore in small doses. The dark side is there in all of us, of course, even if some of us can't access it very well. I think it's healthy to acknowledge it, though, and feel lucky that, as a writer, I have a good, harmless way of doing that.
I don't think I want to dwell there too long, though, so I'll stick to humor and traditional in my full-length mysteries.