Saturday, June 28, 2014

Romance in Mysteries

June Shaw

Do you enjoy a little or a lot of romance in a mystery? I do because I believe mysteries should encompass all parts of a person's life.

I took part in a panel discussion about this once at a conference in Dallas. The author speaking before me said his detective main character always had romance and paid for it.

I then told that even though my mom was elderly at the time, she and her good friend always wore their lucky red panties to Bingo. Mom said they were for luck--but I knew better. Most people enjoy feeling sexy at times.

One audience member told me I should have seen the face of the man who'd spoken before me. When I mentioned my mom's red panties, he turned almost that color.

During my talk, I said that the main character in my humorous mystery series is a spunky widow who wants to avoid her hunky lover so she can rediscover herself. But he opens Cajun restaurants wherever she travels -- and she is so bad at avoiding tempting dishes and men. Fun, murder, and romance -- what's wrong with that?

What about you? Do you like your mysteries touched with a romantic interest? I look forward to hearing about what you think.

www.juneshaw.com


28 comments:

Sheila York said...

When I began the Lauren Atwill series, the one thing I was absolutely sure of was the romantic element. I knew who he was and how they'd meet and how they'd end up together, Lauren and this seeming Mr. Wrong. Lauren and her PI, Peter Winslow, have been chasing killers in post-war Hollywood ever since. What I didn't see coming -- OK, there was LOTS I didn't see coming in writing mysteries -- was the challenge of keeping the romance an integral part of the continuing story without it interfering with the mystery. I like my mysteries with a bit of romance, not romance with a bit of mystery.

Susan Oleksiw said...

I also like a little romance along with the mystery, but organic to the story. My protagonist in the Mellingham series, Chief Joe Silva, didn't find "true love" for three books. Now the romance element is his ongoing relationship with Gwen and her two children. It gives me a chance to show another side to the police chief, and I get to learn more about him.

Sandy Cody said...

I like a little romance, but I like for it to be an integral part of the story. And ... I love the story about your mom's red panties.

Nicholas Genovese said...

June, like you, I like a lot of romance in a mystery because I believe mysteries should encompass all parts of a person's life. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, June,

Romance goes hand in hand with my Kim Reynolds mystery novels. I think that makes for fully rounded characters who take on real life personalities. I don't read or write dull novels. I enjoy romance, suspense, mystery and some aspects of a thriller. I like the sound of your novels since they include some humor--something I also enjoy and like to include too.

Susan Schreyer said...

I love romance in mysteries -- it ups the stakes and shows aspects of the characters that the author might not otherwise have a chance to explore. Anything that makes the main characters more 3-dimensional is useful. I think romance helps the reader identify with the protagonist, as well. In fact, I'll go a step further and say that some of the sleuths I have enjoyed the most have been couples (Peabody and Emerson, Nick and Nora, Tommy and Tuppence and so on). As a writer, putting a couple together is fertile ground for conflict of all sorts ... which is why Thea Campbell and Paul Hudson are together in my stories :)

June Shaw said...

Sheila, I agree that there are lots that we don't see coming in our mysteries. You seem to have figured out what works best in your series.

June Shaw said...

Susan, isn't it interesting how we get to learn about our characters and the people they interact with? You sure are showing a different side to your police chief.

June Shaw said...

Sandy, I also like the romance to be an integral part of the story. Glad you like Mom's red panties. Yesterday was her birthday. I'm sure she would be smiling at your comment.

June Shaw said...

I truly agree with you, Nick. Let's keep romance in our lives to make them whole.

June Shaw said...

Jacqueline, I also believe that a love interest makes for a fully rounded character. And yes, I do enjoy humor. Don't we all like to laugh?

June Shaw said...

Yes, Susan, thrusting couples together does make a more fertile ground for conflict.

Jackie King said...

I vote for a love interest in mysteries, too, and for the same reasons already mentioned. Also, I've heard this helps your books sell better!

Barbara Monajem said...

Yes, yes, yes! My favorite mysteries all include a little romance -- and sometimes a lot. I think that's why I've written quite a few romances that are also mysteries, because much as I love trying to figure out whodunit, I also want the happily ever after at the end.

June Shaw said...

Jackie, I'm not sure if it helps a book sell better, but I enjoy adding and reading about a love interest.

June Shaw said...

Barbara, we all want our stories to end on an encouraging note. Romances, of course, always do.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

I always like a romance in a mystery. It adds spice and fun and something to look forward to in subsequent installments. But one has to keep in mind that mystery readers like their bedroom scenes behind closed doors.

June Shaw said...

Nancy, you're right. Mystery readers do want romance behind closed doors. And I hadn't thought of it, but a love interest does give us more to anticipate in upcoming books. Good points.

Sharon Ervin said...

My stock answer is romance is to a novel what salt is to baking, it sweetens, spices, lifts basic flavor.

June Shaw said...

Sharon, what a beautiful stock answer!

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