Why I Write Mysteries
I have been writing in some form for most of my life—poems, songs, short stories, articles, and of course, mystery novels. It was in my mid-teens that I discovered mysteries, thanks to my younger brother who introduced me to Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. From that moment on, I was hooked—not only as a reader, but I knew that was what I wanted to write.
In my early twenties, I took a creative writing class and my teacher kept trying to get me to write Christian romances. I think she saw me as an innocent Christian girl so she felt that was what I should write—but how wrong she was (a story for another time LOL). Not only was I not a fan of romances, but every time I tried to write one to appease her, I ended up killing someone. I think it is important to be a fan of the genre that you write or else you can’t really do it justice.
The reason I write mysteries is the same as the reason I read mysteries. I love the puzzle of them—I love crafting one as a writer and as a reader, I love trying to figure it out. There is also satisfaction in seeing criminals brought to justice—of getting a satisfying conclusion that too often doesn’t happen in real life. In the real world things may be a mess and sometimes there is very little we can do about it—but in a mystery suddenly we have control—we can provide order and justice. Or as a reader, we get to experience it. I believe that is partially why mysteries have been so popular during the pandemic. I get a thrill out of putting together all of the clues and leading my main character, and the reader, to the solution. There is nothing quite like how it feels when it all comes together.
Personally, I also feel that mysteries give you the chance to delve deeper into your characters than you might in a romance because you are seeing more than the good side they may present to win the one they love—you see that no one is black and white. Not even our heroes are all black and white in a mystery—look at Sherlock Holmes—it is the “grayness” of his character that makes him so appealing. To find out what makes an ordinary person commit a crime fascinates me. What in their life, their journey, and their personality led them to this dark place? While I’m sure you can do this in any genre, in a mystery you almost have to.
I guess the bottom line is that a mystery can have everything-romance, murder, even at times fantasy or science fiction, but at its heart, it has to have a puzzle and a search for justice. This is what I love to read and to write.
One of Us
At thirty-five, children’s book author Roxi Carlucci finds herself starting over again after her publisher drops her book series. With no income, she has to pack up her life on the California Coast, along with her pet rat, Merlin, and move in with her cousin, P.I. Stephen Carlucci, who lives in Fresno, California. The one redeeming factor is that Stephen lives in the Tower District—the cultural oasis of Fresno.
Stephen talks Roxi into helping out with a community theatre production, which is also a
fundraiser for a local animal rescue. Then someone is murdered during a rehearsal in the locked theatre, and now she and Stephen are hired to find the killer. The killer has to be one of Roxi’s new acquaintances since the theatre was locked at the time of the murder, but no one seems to have a motive. How can they solve a murder without a motive? Could the local gossip website hold any clues? Can they stop the killer before they strike again?
Lorie Lewis Ham lives in Reedley, California and has been writing ever since she was a child, and publishing since she was 13. For the past 11 years, Lorie has been the editor-in-chief and publisher of Kings River Life Magazine, and she produces Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast where you can now hear an excerpt of her new book One of Us. You can learn more about Lorie and the new book on her website mysteryrat.com, where you can also sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her on Twitter @mysteryrat and Facebook.