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.