Would you rather be an Agatha Christie or a Nora Roberts?

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I love those ‘would you rather’ questions, don’t you? So here’s a good one for you. If you had to choose only ONE of these two possibilities, would you rather be a romance writer or a mystery writer?

Oh the agony! I’ve been both. I started my career as a cozy mystery writer and boy oh boy did I love it. The downside of mystery writing? Mystery readers are REALLY SAVVY! They’re looking for that twist, that trick, the red herring if you will, and they are EXTREMELY hard to surprise! It’s a rare thing when a reader would email to tell me she didn’t guess who did it. On the plus side, writing a “who done it” or a “how did they do it” is a blast and requires talent with an extra side of creativity!

But then there’s romance. Personally, I believe every truly great story has some element of love in it. The challenge in writing romance is to provide a fresh twist on done to death themes. We know who is going to wind up together by the end of chapter one. We know the hero and heroine are going to get that “happily ever after” moment. The challenge to being a romance writer is in the creation of characters and situations fresh and new. It’s a great challenge, requiring talent, a willingness to look deeply at the human psyche and an extra side of creativity!

So if I had to pick one, would I write mysteries or romances? Errrgh, acck, arrgh! I would choose romance because people are endlessly fascinating, particularly when it comes to relationships. (However, since I write romantic suspense, I can totally weave in that wee little thread of mystery now can’t I?)

So if you could ONLY choose ONE, would you write (or read) mysteries or romance? Giving away a Barnes and Noble gift card, a signed book and a fall surprise on November 30th! Post to the blog to enter.

14 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Suzan Michet on November 19, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    While I like the combo the best, I think the only one I could do would be mysteries. I think writing convincing unsentimental unexplicit romances would be too much for me!

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  2. I’m sorry Dana, I just can’t choose one over the other. I like to read both equally the same. When I feel like a romance story I read one, and when I feel like a mystery I read one. I can’t say I prefer to read one over the other. I love cozies because the ones I’ve read typically involve mystery and a little romance so I get the best of both worlds.

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  3. Posted by Valri Western on November 17, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    That’s why I read romantic suspense!!!! Combination!!!! If I had to write one though, I’d have to go with romance…..I don’t think I could come up with all the plots & such!

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  4. Posted by Joye on November 17, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    I would much rather write romance but I think other authors revere a good mystery writer more.

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  5. Posted by Travis Inman on November 17, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    I don’t think I’m clever enough to create effective plot twists. I’ll stick with romance!

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  6. That really is a tough question. Can’t I pick both? But you’re right, the pressure is on for mystery. I also have the most fun with romantic comedy. So my answer would be the same. I’d choose Nora, but with the freedom to throw in a little Agatha when I want.

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  7. Posted by Christina Spicuzza on November 17, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    I would rather write mysteries. I think it would be difficult but fun. I read both mysteries and romance.

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