Carole's Interview on writing Romantic Mysteries
1. Which comes first when writing a mystery – plot, character, or setting?
For me, plot, setting, then characters, but they all run together so much that it's really hard to pinpoint an exact timing for them.
The Appleton, WV Romantic Mysteries have an equal amount of mystery and romance.
The setting is huge because it's one place for all the books. Hometown, small community where everyone knows everyone and everyone's business. And if they don't, it's normal to find out. :)
The characters are planned ahead of time, but developing them takes time and sometimes they even surprise me.
As for the plot, I begin research and creating the possibilities of what will happen at the very beginning, but it also grows as the book progresses.
2. What are some unique challenges to writing mysteries mixed with romance?
The hardest part for me is to create a really good plot. You need clues that readers may read over and never realize them for what they are, or at least, until later in the book. Everything must tie together. You have to have suspects that mislead the reader. You definitely need to do a lot of research on the crime. And creating great plots is always a challenge.
As far as the romance goes, it's just sharing the romantic scenes amidst the mystery. For the Appleton, WV romantic mysteries, it's an evenly balanced plot: Opening with a hint of the mystery, Stir in some romantic conflict, then proceed, making sure you keep both the mystery and the romance balanced and evenly written throughout the book. It's a fascinating and exciting endeavor!
3. What do you do to renew your inspiration when it is running low?
Hmm. My best and favorite way is to brainstorm with a close friend and/or my hubby. Both are quick thinking outside of the box, and even when I adjust their ideas or go an entirely different direction, they give me the inspiration I need to begin writing again by pointing out flaws, a wrong direction the story is taking or/and incorrect scenes that don't further the plot.
4. What’s the most unusual source of inspiration you have used in your writing?
My hubby's imagination and ideas. He's quite the thinker and plotter. He's my right hand man when it comes to creating and adjusting the story till it's the best it can be.
5. What advice would you give to someone who wants to write mysteries and romance?
Read mystery books. Read romance books.
Watch mystery shows. Watch romance shows.
Play around with it.
Do your research.
Realize this is an entirely different ball game than writing a romance or mysteries singularly.
Perhaps write a short story or novella to dig your toes into at first.
You get the best of both by writing romance and mystery!