Friday, January 21, 2011
Winter Blog Tour - Amy Corwin
The next four Fridays I'll be hosting fellow historical romance authors from Wild Rose Press in what we're calling a Winter Blog Tour. So hang out here on Fridays and find new authors to add to your TBR pile! To day I'm happy to introduce you to Amy Corwin.
Amy Corwin is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America and has been writing for the last ten years and managing a career as an enterprise systems administrator in the computer industry. She writes Regencies/historicals, mysteries, and paranormals. To be truthful, most of her books include a bit of murder and mayhem since she discovered that killing off at least one character is a highly effective way to make the remaining ones toe the plot line.
Amy’s books include the a Regency romance, SMUGGLED ROSE; three Regency romantic mysteries, I BID ONE AMERICAN, THE BRICKLAYER’S HELPER, and THE NECKLACE; and her first paranormal, VAMPIRE PROTECTOR.
Writing a Mystery
One of the hardest things I’ve ever tackled was to write a mystery. That I managed to do so and sell the manuscript is another miracle. In any event, one of the questions I’m often asked is how to go about writing a mystery.
Really, it’s not very different from writing other books, except the obvious requirement to drop hints and clues about the mystery and yet not give away “who dun it” too soon. And while there is no wrong way to plot and write a mystery, I do have a method that seems to work for me.
The first thing I always have to do is figure out who the unfortunate victim is, how they “got it” and who did it. That’s not to say that occasionally, the role of murderer changes as I begin to write. In one recent manuscript, I started out with one killer and ended up with a completely different one! But that often happens to me—I start out planning the story one way and then as the story develops, it may morph. But I digress.
So, having decided on the victim, method, and murderer, I sit down and plot out in outline form what I need to accomplish or what clues need to be discovered in each chapter. I don’t go into a lot of details, except to research the heck out of the method of death to make sure I get all the clues and science as correct as possible. That’s the only part I write up in details in my notes. The rest of the outline is just two or three phrases under each chapter heading, along with notes on misdirection so readers don’t solve it too soon. As part of this, I also wrack my brain for a minimum of three twists or unexpected events that will send the plot careening in another direction. You can’t make it too easy for your detective.
Although this is my opinion (of course) I believe that a great deal of the tension in a story comes from the element of surprise, or the “Gosh, I never saw that coming!” element. This is a complicating factor, e.g. the heroine catches the man she thought she loved in flagrante delicto with her best friend. It doesn’t necessarily have to be related to the mystery, although I tend to prefer the complication to have an impact on the investigation and even better, on the solution. Like the fact that her boyfriend is cheating on her reminds her that maybe she shouldn’t have taken him at his word when he said he was home alone when the murder occurred. Hmmm. He hasn’t proven himself to be entirely trustworthy, now has he? Suddenly, she can’t quite keep him off her list of suspects.
Once I figure out the murder and the basics of the plot, the rest is just a matter of writing it. And rewriting it. It sounds so easy, but truth be told, figuring out the method of murder and plot points is the easy part. Writing is hard. Very hard.
The Bricklayer’s Helper
When Sarah finds herself orphaned after a suspicious fire burns down her home with her family trapped inside, all she can remember is the warning to “run and hide.” Terrified, she cuts her hair and dons the garb of a young boy, hoping to survive on her own. She soon obtains a job as a bricklayer’s helper and remains safe for thirteen years until their work takes them to London.
In the city, a man from her past recognizes her and asks to meet, only to be murdered before they can speak. Afraid she may be next, Sarah hires an inquiry agent, William Trenchard.
But William seems more interested in chasing ladies than murderers and Sarah fears involving him may be a fatal mistake.
Appearances can be dangerously deceiving.