In our family room my husband is watching a Hallmark movie about a gorgeous judge-cum-shampoo-model in a small coastal town where no one locks his door and all the parked cars have keys in them. A thieves paradise, yet the crime rate is barely above 0 (and that’s because sweet old Mr. C is losing his mind and has taken to stealing packs of gum from the EZ mart. Tsk. Tsk.)
If it were a book, we’d call it a cozy.
In the next room, I’m sitting in front of another large flat screen (mine is bigger than his, but his has better resolution). My entire body is focused on Dexter, his knife-wielding arm raised above his latest victim. Well, not a victim since the guy on the table is also a serial killer. Now that Dexter is gone from TV, I’ll have to re-read the Jeff Lindsay Dexter books.
Definitely not cozy.
I usually watch and read only dark, unless a book club, class presentation, or the threat of a lost friendship requires me to read light. Give me a serial killer or a hit man and I’m in reading heaven.
So why am I now writing my 20th cozy mystery? And that’s just the contracted ones. Why it is that every time I sit down to write a “thriller,” or a slasher, or even dark, psychological suspense, my fingers pull away from the keyboard and I take a chocolate break. When I get back, I drag out an old, funny essay and polish it up for a blog.
Here’s my theory: It’s just too scary for me to hang out and even sleep with a really, really, sick guy. And in case you didn’t know it, writers do sleep with their characters. Why else have a pad of paper and pen by our beds? In case character says or does something noteworthy. How sleep-inducing is that? Not.
So until further notice, I’ll be getting my thrills second hand, from other writers, and living real life with the cozy guy.
Camille Minichino’s newest cozy mystery is The Quotient of Murder, from Berkley Prime Crime, November 2013