Why I Love Writing Cozy Mystery Books

Outside the wind is blowing a gale. I’m watching the leaves fly like tears from the trees.

And now the rain has come. Great streaks of water are splashing against my window making it difficult to see outside.

The sky is grey and moody. And it’s yuk. There’s no other word for how to describe what I can see outside my window and so I will suffice with: Yuk.

But here, on my laptop, on my little white screen I have tens of thousands of words which describe a different place. A different world. It’s a world I’ve made up full of characters I love spending time with.

Some of them I hate. Some of them I want to kill. Some of them will be killed.

Because that’s the joy of being an author. If I don’t like you, I can kill you. Metaphorically speaking, of course, before you call the cops.

And this is when you truly realise the pen is mightier than the sword.

I can put words into people’s mouths. I can make them act in certain ways. I can say things and do things I would never dream of doing in real life.

Which is the beauty of writing cozy mystery books.

I don’t like being scared.

I don’t like blood and gore.

And I abhor violence.

Which is why I shy away from these sort of themes in my books. I like action, I like fun, I like silly things and twists and turns which is why I love writing cozy mystery.

But if you’re thinking it’s all frills and no substance: you’d be wrong.

Anybody who’s read any of my books: Who Killed Patrick? and Eternal Forever will know while they’re easy to read, they also contain deeper thinking about our world. The characters and the storylines are relatable, but they also explore so many issues of our lives.

Feeling unsure about where you’re going in life and what do next? Enter Tarah – the heroine of Who Killed Patrick? who jacked in her dead-end job to start again in Fuerteventura. OK, so maybe things didn’t go according to plan – but what does?!

And that’s the beauty of writing stories. They are of our time. They speak to the issues and problems we’re facing now. As a writer, of course you want your books to be timeless. But at the same time, writing needs to be relevant and relatable. The issues you face today need to be contained within the stories you read.

When I write, I think about why people do what they do.

Motivation is everything.

I know sometimes we, as people, don’t really understand our actions, but always when we look hard enough, we can find a reason for why we did what we did.

Explaining this to ourselves is part of the journey in life and helps us to understand when we get stuck next time, or when we’re confused and don’t know what to do. Experience guides us, it shapes us and shows us the way.

And so, even though, as I sit here now watching the rain, and wondering how I’m going to write another 40,000 words to get to the end of Mr Bob 2, I know from experience I can get there.

I look at my plan and I know it will be awry. That’s what plans do.

But in a moment, when I start reading my words again (the tens of thousands I’ve already written), I know I can transport myself away.

I look down at my slippered feet and I can see Mr Bob wheeking at me. He’s now rubbing my ankles wanting to be picked up. He wants me to write his story, the next adventure.

And when I look out of my window again, I don’t see the grey clouds anymore, I see the hues of blue of Fuerteventura. I can hear the sea crashing, I can feel the sun on my face. I’m putting my hair behind my ears because the salty wind is tugging…

And that is why I love writing cozy mystery books 🙂

Why a guinea pig makes a great sidekick!

guinea pig in car driving

When I started writing my Mr Bob Murder Mystery books, my mum called them ‘my kids books’. Yesterday, over a year on during a phone conversation, she did the same to me again. I was telling her about the plot of book two and how excited I was.

‘Mum,’ I said, (cue withering stare and grating of teeth), ‘these are not kids’ books, they are adult cozy crime investigations.’

‘But, you have a guinea pig to help your main character investigate,’ she replied.

‘Yes, I do. That’s because I love guinea pigs and because they’re very intelligent, emotionally sensitive and have better hearing and smelling than humans.’

‘Is that right?’

‘Did you know…?’ I said, all puffed up with pride. ‘There are more bones in a guinea pig than a human body.’

‘What?’ she said. I’d got her attention now and I could feel her face melting at such a fact. ‘That can’t be true!’

‘It is’, I said, a smug sense of satisfaction glowing and growing all over me like fungi. ‘Humans have just 206 bones in their body, whereas guinea pigs have 258.’

‘Really, are you sure? Where do they have all those bones?’ she asked.

‘Well,’ I said, pausing and relishing my role as an expert. ‘They have 34 in the spinal cord, 43 in each front leg and 36 in each back leg. The rest of the bones are in the skull, ribs and breastbone.’

She went silent on the other end. ‘Well, that’s remarkable, I never knew that.’

‘There are a lot of things you don’t know about guinea pigs mum, and that’s why Mr Bob, who is a guinea pig, makes a perfect sidekick for investigating murders – he’s downright clever and perceptive.’

‘More bones in their body than me, I can’t get over that, they’re so tiny,’ she sighed.

I smiled and waited while she sucked in this new information, gleeful I’d impressed her with something she didn’t know (despite her being a piggie owner back in the day).

‘You know,’ she said, ‘come to think of it, I’m currently reading a book where the lady has a Chihuahua to help her solve the murders. They’re not that much bigger than guinea pigs are they?’

Size wasn’t really the point, but I took it as a small win: My mum’s started to accept that a guinea pig could be a useful – and welcome – sidekick.

Mr Bob is a cute, cuddly companion for Tarah and he’s certainly the cleverest of the duo. He may not have the Dr. Watson-esque stature of Sherlock Holmes’ legendary sidekick, but he does make Tarah a better amateur sleuth, and pushes her to interrogate things she wouldn’t ordinarily think of.

And that’s the thing about sidekicks. People often think of the sidekick as somehow inferior, but most of the time, it’s the dynamics between the duo which make the sidekick an integral part of the main character’s being – and hence the entire story. Where would the feckless Wallace be without his dependable Gromit to save the day? Where would Charlie Brown be without Snoopy? Pooh without Piglet?

A hero is nothing without their sidekick; they are the support to assist the main characters to do what they have to do.

And that’s why I love Mr Bob, he’s a guinea pig and so very, very clever!