Book Country Twitter Chat (November 17, 2011)
Delve into the cozy mystery subgenre–what it is, what’s expected, how to write it–with editor Faith Black and author Gayle Trent
For some, cozy mysteries are quite the enigma. They’ve gotten more and more popular over the past several years, wrangling readers of all kinds, but many still think: but what is a cozy mystery exactly? How is it different from a general mystery? What makes it so “cozy”? Don’t most books inspire that curl-up-with-a-good-book feeling of warmth and wonder? Hmmm….curious…
The Book Country Genre Map defines cozies as “a subgenre of mystery set in a small town or village. Cozies are characterized by their lack of explicit sex and violence. The protagonist is usually a likable female sleuth who is often viewed as an annoyance by the local police. Well-known cozy writers include Donna Andrews and M.C. Beaton.”
But there’s much more to it, which is why we brought in the experts–Faith Black (@FaithBlackGirl) and Gayle Trent (@GayleTrent)–to tell us how it really is.
Editor Faith Black acquires mysteries for Berkley’s Prime Crime imprint (and much more, of course). Her vast experience in genre fiction and love of cozies is clear after even a brief chat with this awesome lady!
Gayle Trentis the bestselling author of Murder Takes the Cake, the first novel in her Daphne Martin Cake Decorating series, currently with Gallery Books. She also writes fun embroidery cozies for Berkley Books under the name Amanda Lee–The Quick and the Thread is the first in the series.
Take a look at these helpful excerpts from our chat:
@GayleTrent: I define cozy mystery as Desperate Housewives meets Mayberry RFD. Everyone knows everyone, but someone has a deep, dark secret!
@FaithBlackGirl: The protags [in cozies] tend to be mostly female but I would actually love to read more cozies with male protagonists.
@peachereader: We like the hobby cozy because it gives us one more thing we can relate to. Hence reading a cozy is always like coming home.
@GayleTrent: When you’ve absolutely GOT to tell someone what weird, hilarious thing someone just did, you put it in a book with a secondary character.
@FaithBlackGirl: Some [police procedural] knowledge is definitely useful but you don’t need to go all CSI. More Miss Marple, less David Caruso.
@Chumplet: The feeling of familiary in the setting and characters make cozy mysteries easy to love.
If you missed the chat or want to remind yourself, we’ve posted the entire transcript as a PDF document here. The PDF will open in your browser and you’ll be able to save it to your computer if you like. You can also get to know your fellow genre fiction lovers by clicking directly on their Twitter handles.
Please note that the chat appears from newest to oldest tweets, so start at the bottom and work your way up.
Thanks to all who made this chat such a great success!
REMEMBER: Book Country Twitter chats occur every other Thursday night from 9-10 pm EST. Just use the hashtag #bookcountry to participate or follow along. Topics are announced in advance in the Book Country Discussion forums, so be sure to take a look!