You are currently viewing Saralyn Richard Offers Warm Wishes and Mayhem
Saralyn Richard

Saralyn Richard Offers Warm Wishes and Mayhem

Saralyn Richard’s latest book is A Murder of Principal. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and read her last post here.

Here we are, a few days before Christmas, and the world is full of glittering lights and memorable melodies, sweet cookies and good cheer. It’s the time of year when peace on earth, goodwill to mankind, and charitable spirits fill the air. And we, at Blackbird Writers are no different. We’ve been sharing stories and recipes among ourselves. This year we did a Secret Santa trade, where we’ve read and reviewed another blackbird’s novel. We are, individually and collectively, bubbling over with acts of kindness.

And yet, we kill people. We write about people’s troubles and mistakes and evil intentions. Our books are littered with sins of all kinds, with suspects and motives and weapons. We take pleasure in instilling fear and tension and suspense into our readers’ minds. We love nothing more than a juicy murder that keeps our readers turning pages into the night.

From time to time, I’m asked how a nice lady like me can write murder mysteries, and why on earth I’d want to put stories about crime into a world already filled with more than enough of it. It’s a fair question, and it deserves a fair answer.

I am a person who abhors violence, crime, destruction—even disorder. Despite that fact, throughout my life, I have enjoyed reading suspense novels. Maybe it’s because I not only hate violence, but I also want to do my part to overthrow violence. I love to match wits with the detectives—essentially the authors—to see if I can solve the crimes before they do.

I love the quote from English novelist, P.D. James:  “What the detective story is about is not murder but the restoration of order.” When a mystery book draws to a close, the evil has been extinguished; the good has prevailed.

Just as we watch tragedies and come from the theater, having purged our emotions, we turn the last page at the end of a mystery knowing that life does go on, that there will always be good people to seek truth and justice and to right wrongs. We authors pull open the curtain on treachery, then draw it closed again, so people feel safe and protected and right.

Or, without intellectualizing too much, maybe we mystery writers are nothing more than thrill-seekers, roller coaster riders who can’t get enough of the ups and downs of life, so we reproduce that fear and excitement for readers, as well as for ourselves.

Whatever the case, I can vouch for the fact that every one of the Blackbird Writers is a kind, caring, generous person who enjoys the writing journey in all its seasons. On behalf of all of us, I wish you a healthy, happy, safe, and also thrilling holiday season and new year.

Saralyn Richard

Saralyn Richard is the author of Naughty Nana, Murder in the One Percent, and A Palette for Love and Murder. You can find out more about her on her website, saralynrichard.com, or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Sherrill Joseph

    Great post, Saralyn. I love the P. D. James quote. Your message reminded me of the words on a coffee mug my sister gave me after my first book came out: “Mystery Author, Writer of Wrongs.” Happy, joyous holidays to you.

  2. saralynrichard

    Thanks, Sherrill. Great coffee mug saying, and it’s really true. Wishing you the best, also, and so glad to write mysteries with you.

  3. Love this post, Saralyn. Perfect for this Christmas week! I also love the PD James quote and Sherrill’s mug! Here’s wishing you the happiest of holidays and the very best in the new year!

    1. saralynrichard

      Best to you, too, Margaret. So glad to share this writer’s journey with you.

  4. Christine DeSmet

    Great post. Somebody famous said once that all novels are about hope. We write about bad things to show that there’s always hope for better outcomes. Our mysteries are operation manuals to show how to find, regain, and sustain hope perhaps. Best wishes for more crime writing in the new year and the peace and joy that comes with each novel’s ending!

    1. saralynrichard

      All novels are about hope, and all novels contain mystery. Here’s to all the beautiful and blessed mysteries of life, Christine.

  5. Sheila Lowe

    Thought-provoking for sure. I think for some of us, writing these stories gives a sense of control over our lives. Having lived through the murder of my daughter, killing people in my books is not something I take lightly. What interests me most is delving into the motivations of the characters. Whether motivated by a desire for revenge, sheer greed, or jealousy, for example, knowing what brings someone to the point of murder doesn’t excuse the evil deed; yet making sense of it–when there is sense to be made of a senseless act–somehow helps when you understand how an innocent infant ends up on the road to becoming a monster.

    1. saralynrichard

      I agree about the motivation piece, Sheila. And how all that we have been through in real life informs what we write about and how. As in most things, the focus is always on the WHO, innocent or monster.

  6. marilynlevinson

    A wonderful and thoughtful post about why we write and read mysteries. Happy Holidays to all my fellow Blackbirds!

    1. saralynrichard

      Thanks for your comment, Marilyn, and happy holidays to you!

  7. Avanti Centrae

    Hi Saralyn – your post is spot on. I’m also a big fan of non-violence, and yet, in my dreams and in my writing, all sorts of murder and destruction happens. It’s a fascinating conundrum. You and PD James (what an author!) have good theories that makes sense to me!

    1. saralynrichard

      Thanks for your comment, Avanti. I can tell from your books that you write from a good heart.

  8. Laurie Buchanan

    Saralyn — I thoroughly enjoyed reading this uplifting post and loved the P.D. James quote. You’re right, it’s all about hope, overthrowing evil, and justice. Happy holidays to you and yours!

    1. saralynrichard

      Thanks, Laurie. Glad the post resonates. Wishing you and yours the best, also!

  9. joyribar

    Saralyn: You said a mouth full and you said it well! Love this post. What a perfect explanation.

    1. saralynrichard

      Thank you, Joy. I haven’t heard the “mouth full” expression in a long time. 🙂 🙂 🙂 Appreciate your comment and the person who wrote it!

  10. I like P.D. James’s quote. I never thought about it that way, but she’s right. Great, post, Saralyn!

    1. saralynrichard

      Thanks for chiming in, Kathleen. Glad to be in the business of restoring order with you!

  11. Donna Rewolinski

    Great article. I love books, movies, and television shows where the good guys triumph. We do provide closure as our writings have a beginning, a middle and an end, hopefully that our readers didn’t see coming.

  12. saralynrichard

    Thanks for your comment, Donna. Here’s to all the characters who make our hearts sing, and especially to the good guys.

Leave a Reply