Thursday, April 24, 2014

Janet Bolin - A Cozy Mystery

If Janet Bolin lived next door to me, I’d skip across the yard with two mugs of coffee and her book Dire Threads clutched under my arm. Tell me how you do it, I’d say. What’s the process for writing a mystery filled with humour and characters and maguffins and clues?

Cozy mysteries are not my usual read – no, I’m into hard crime. Even so, Janet Bolin, through good writing and excellent plotting, managed to hold my attention without the benefit of graphic violence, profanity, or explicit sex. Think Jessica Fletcher and Cabot’s Cove. I love that woman, by the way. Such class, grace, poise….I digress.

As with most Cozy Mysteries (I did my research), the setting of Dire Threads, the first book in the Threadville series, is quaint and homey. Most of the action takes place on the main street of a small village where the downtown theme is stitchery. Cute idea. The author’s knowledge on all things stitchery was most impressive. My guess is that in real life Janet Bolin augments her sewing machine sales income with royalty cheques from Penguin.

Having once been a merchant of a small store in a small town, I can sort of identify with the bonding of the store owners. We didn’t have murders…oh my gosh, YES we did… YES, a man was murdered in the apartment above my store….true, true…that was terrible. Sorry, I digress, again.

Cozy mysteries tend to be fast-paced, with several twists and turns, and an emphasis on plots and character development. Yep, that certainly describes Janet’s book.

I have a bad habit of becoming too anxious to find out whodunit and I read the last chapter half way through the book. I can hear the collective groans – yes, I’m ashamed. I’d hate anyone to jump the gun on one of my stories. Having said that, I resisted the temptation and continued to the end of the book without skipping a page.

 It would be a two-cup chat for Janet to come close to answering all my questions. I’d be curious to know if she wrote Dire Threads with the idea that it would be the first of a series. Or did Penguin Publishers, having accepted her manuscript, insist she continue with a second book. Or, did she have several books written by the time she found a publisher. Did it become a series because she couldn’t say goodbye to her characters?

I have to read the second book, Threaded for Trouble, to see if all the characters return. Well, they can’t all return, can they? After all, how could it be a murder mystery unless someone dies?

Cozy Mysteries are huge business – meaning big money, in my opinion. Sort of like writing erotica (which I understand is the biggest moneymaker) but not.

I liken the Cozy Mystery Series books to that of Harlequin Romance in that they all follow a formula. Or do they? Do the authors sign up for X number of books right from the start?

Whatever the circumstances, Janet Bolin is a good writer, a magnificent plotter, and a successful author AND a member of Crime Writers of Canada. Gotta love that!

I’ll have the opportunity to meet Janet Bolin in my own hometown. She’ll be a panelist at an upcoming literary convention. If you have your own questions for Janet Bolin, plan to attend the Sarnia GenreCon on May 10th. Do so at your own risk. You know what happens at every event Jessica Fletcher attends…….

Visit Janet in Threadville and meet her characters introduced in the most ingenious manner.

No comments:

Post a Comment