It’s Wicked Wednesday, when we all weigh in on a topic. We’re talking themes in cozies, and last week we discussed some of the bigger subject matter in our books. This week, we’re talking about how we keep those stories enjoyable and light while still making the book meaningful.
Barb: Cozies are entertainment. I’m reminded of that regularly by fans who write that they enjoyed one of my books at the bedside of an ailing family member, or after a grueling eight-hour shift in the NICU, or in the ten minutes between when they pulled their car up at soccer practice and when practice ended, which were the only ten minutes they had to themselves all day. One way I think cozies in particular are entertaining is that they contain fantasy elements. Readers should fantasize that they want to live in a place like that, with people like that. I always keep this in mind when I’m writing.
Jessie: I like to use humor. I like including quirky people and funky buildings. I like kooky situations that are just bound to turn into family legends for my characters.
Liz: Animals are always great for lightening the mood. Their personalities are all so unique, and their antics alone are enough to ease the tension of a murder investigation. And who can resist laughing at a doggie costume party?
Sherry: It’s a delicate balance between light and slapstick — each has it’s place in the cozy world. I am working hard at creating characters that have realistic reactions to the crimes that occur. That said, no one is going to want to read (in a cozy anyway) about someone who’s going through a lengthy grieving process. I’ve really had fun writing one of my secondary characters. He has his own way of doing things and believes deeply that his way is right. He lightens the mood and reminds my protagonist, Sarah, the world isn’t such a bad place.
Edith: Rescue chickens! (Oh, have I mentioned them before?) Seriously, I love the inspiration to include chickens in the Local Foods series, because they’re so funny. I also have a couple of quirky secondary characters who lighten things up. In my second Lauren Rousseau mystery (out in November), we met Lauren’s friend Irene who runs the local Greek bakery and can always be counted on to tease, make a joke, offer a glass of wine. Sometimes it’s the protagonist’s sidekick – whether sister, BFF, coworker, or whoever – who keeps the balance from getting too dark.
Julie: All great answers. I would add a dash of romance helps keep them light, and entertaining. Pacing the romance so it doesn’t get boring is critical. And adding the ups and downs of a relationship adds conflict. Like all of this, it is balance.
Photograph by Meg Manion Photography!
Readers: What do you think keeps a book light?