Welcome to April's WILD CARD POST. On the 4th (and
5th) Friday of each month, I've ask a author friend to visit and share a
post or something fun pertaining to their books. This month we have a
post by James Callan, take it away James!
ROMANCE IN A MURDER MYSTERY?
In May, Over My Dead Body will be released. It is the second Father Frank mystery.
When I wrote the first one, Cleansed by Fire, my wife complained that there was not enough romance in it. I said, ‘It is a mystery, not a romance.’ She said, ‘Then why should I read it.” So, the book went back on the drawing board (or version N+1 in the computer) and I introduced a little romance. Not enough to suit her completely, but it was a start.
With the second in the series, I decided I’d better get some romance in it or my wife would not even proof read a copy before I sent it off. I had started the young widow and the detective off in the first book. If I carried it forward, they would be married before I got to the third book.
What to do?
In my workshops I always talk about the importance of conflict. I hadn’t thought about including conflict in the romance part. Again, my wife came to the rescue, or provided the enlightenment. She handed me a romance book and said, “Read and learn.”
So, in Over My Dead Body, the two find a difference of opinion keeping them apart, or at least out of each other’s arms. I think it worked well, and passed the first line of approval - my wife.
Of course, the mystery must go on. It is, after all, a murder mystery. The killer is still at large and that has to be resolved before the end of the book. But the romance? It doesn’t have to be totally resolved by the end of a mystery book. The squabble that keeps them out of each other’s arms will have to be resolved one way or the other. And the way it is resolved will tell us a lot about the two combatants, oops, I mean the two lovers. The issue has slowed things down a bit and they will not be walking down the aisle in this book.
While I write mystery and suspense books, I have found that reading some romance books has been very useful. It helps me understand the power of a romantic subplot. That allows me to add another dimension to the book. It provides a sub plot that can be integrated in a natural way. These characters have a real life not limited to solving a murder. It provides a break from the drier “solving the crime” story. It makes the characters more real, and gives another opportunity to develop the four dimensional character. (The fourth dimension is change, the change that takes place in the characters over time.)
So here I am, once again having to admit just how important my wife is in my life, and that includes my writing life. Though she is not a writer, she has improved my writing. Isn’t romance wonderful?
A large corporation is taking land by eminent domain. Syd Cranzler stands in its way, threatening a court battle. After a heated meeting with the corporation representative, Syd is found dead from an overdose of heart medication. The police call it suicide. Case closed.
But Father Frank, Syd’s pastor, and Georgia Peitz, another member of the church, don’t believe Syd committed suicide and begin to look for clues of what really happened. Georgia’s push to reopen the case threatens her romance with the lead detective.
When the priest is attacked and later almost poisoned, the police are finally convinced to investigate further. Immediately, Father Frank becomes the target of rumors and speculation he might have had something to do with Syd’s death.
The more clues Father Frank and Georgia uncover, the more danger they find themselves in. Can they find the real killer before they become victims?
After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing. He wrote a monthly column for a national magazine for two years. He has had four non-fiction books published. He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mystery/suspense, with his sixth book releasing in 2015.