Mystery Books News is thrilled to welcome Samantha Hunter as our guest blogger. Samantha is the author of Past Tense (Amazon Digital Services, July 2010), the first book in the Sophie Turner/Tarot Medium mystery series, combining paranormal elements with classic amateur sleuth and mystery fiction. Once Burned, the second book in the series, is planned for next year.
Today, Samantha writes about having some skin in the game, when a romance writer writes a mystery. And she's also providing our readers with an opportunity to win a copy of her ebook. Visit Mystery Book Contests, click on the "Samantha Hunter: Past Tense" contest link, enter your name, e-mail address, and this code (4549) for a chance to win! (One entry per person; contest ends August 05th, 2010.)
— ◊ —
Photo provided courtesy of Samantha Hunter
It's probably no coincidence that the protagonist in my Kindle-published mystery, Past Tense, is undergoing an identity crisis, trying to reconcile conflicting aspects of her life, her personal relationships as well as dealing with secrets of her past, because as a romance writer who loves mystery as much as romance, I sometimes find myself very split between the two, as well.
My Harlequin romances often have degrees of mystery or suspense in them, and I have to admit, I've been a mystery fan longer than I have been a romance fan. As a kid, I was reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden long before I was reading romance novels stolen from my mother's night stand. I was also obsessed with anything cop or detective related as a kid. I would stay up late to watch detective shows in the 70s after my parents went to bed. The world of mystery and suspense has always been one I enjoyed as a reader/viewer, so it makes sense that I would eventually go there as a writer.
Romance and mystery address different needs: romance is the emotional journey, and mystery is the ethical one: mystery satisfies the need to find justice in the world, to have good prevail over evil, which is another kind of HEA (happily ever after). If "boy meeting girl and finding love" is one of the great stories of all humanity, "good versus evil" is the other. Wanting good to triumph is just as compelling as wanting people to fall in love, the way I see it.
So maybe my writing personality is not as split as I imagined. The best mysteries, in my view, have emotional components. The emotion doesn't have to be romantic (though romantic subplots are always fun), but in contrast to the objective, analytical mystery of days gone by, I want detectives -- professional or amateur -- to have some skin in the game. They have to care, have to struggle, and have to take risks. They should have some personal stake in what they are investigating. They should have flaws, emotions, and they should grow through their endeavors. Whatever their personal stories, they are idealists: they believe good can prevail, and they will do what they can to make that happen.
In turn, they make us believe in justice the way a good romance will make us believe in love. The satisfaction of discovering the villain and seeing him or her captured is just as strong as seeing the couple in a romance finally overcome their obstacles and unite.
What do you think? Who is your favorite mystery protagonist, and what makes you care about them enough to read book after book?
— ◊ —
Samantha is the author of 16 novels, an avid reader of romance and mystery/suspense, prefers television to movies, and loves spending time with her husband, pets and in her gardens. She lives in Syracuse, New York. Visit her website at SamanthaHunter.com.
— ◊ —
About Past Tense: Sophie Turner runs Talismans, a Boston tarot parlor, where she reads tarot and keeps her family’s psychic legacy alive. However, in spite of her tragic family history and Tarot Alley’s reputation for being a mystical hotspot, Sophie has no psychic powers of her own -- or so she thinks. Engaged to straight-as-an-arrow Boston PD Detective Roger Paris, and finishing her college degree in Computer Science, she’s ready to start a brand new life that has nothing to do with her paranormal past.
When the murder of her friend and client Patrice Bledsoe leaves Sophie traumatized, she can’t trust her own memory about what happened. She remembers a ghostly encounter moments before Patrice was killed, but she can’t remember anything about the murder, making her a prime suspect. Sophie doesn’t understand why the ghost appeared or why she was compelled to read his cards, revealing a story of violence and betrayal, but she is determined to find the truth about her friend’s murder.
It’s not the last time Sophie sees the tragic ghost figure, and she begins to believe her ghost is real when she’s plagued with visions she can’t ignore. When her skeptical fiancé won’t listen, she asks ghost hunter Dr. Gabe Mason for his help, leading her down a path of no return in more ways than one.
For a chance to win one of three copies of Past Tense (provided as an Amazon.com gift card), courtesy of Samantha Hunter, visit Mystery Book Contests, click on the "Samantha Hunter: Past Tense" contest link, and enter your name, e-mail address, and this code (4549) in the entry form. (One entry per person; contest ends August 05th, 2010.)