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What Good am I?

Perhaps I should rephrase that. What am I good at?

It's difficult to be objective about your own work. For that reason, it's useful to keep your eyes open to feedback from readers, reviewers, etc.

I recently heard from a person who felt I didn't describe my characters well enough. She'd read one of my more recent Brad Frame stories and didn't feel as if she could picture Brad or Sharon very well. I probably took more care to offer description of those characters in the early books of the series, but now that I'm working on Brad Frame mystery #7, I don't think about it as strongly. The flip side of me not describing the characters sufficiently is that the reader can engage their imagination, perhaps conjuring up a vision of themselves one of my story heroes. I once read that Erle Stanley Gardner never described Perry Mason. Thanks to the TV series, I can't think of Mason as anyone other than Raymond Burr. Ah, that's the answer... I need a TV series for Brad Frame, then everyone will know what he looks like.

I like to think that plotting is one of my strengths. I enjoy developing complicated scenarios and multiple story lines within a novel. To me, it enriches the reading experience and increases the opportunity that readers will have a satisfying experience.

I like a story to "hang together." I've often been told that my book endings are a surprise (I am for that). But what I hope is that even if a reader doesn't see an ending coming, that once revealed, it will make sense based on all that has gone on before. I'd rather have a reader say, "Oh, okay, I didn't see it coming, but it makes sense." I once read a book by a very famous author. She kept me on the edge of my seat as I read. Then the murderer was first introduced to the reader five pages before being revealed as the suspect in the case. I abruptly stopped reading at that point and nearly threw the book across the room.

I hope that fans of my novels will feel free to share their comments about what my characters look like or what appeals to them most about my writing (as well as potential turn offs). After all, Life's a Mystery. Every author needs readers!

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