During the month of May, several authors have been invited to help kick off my mystery-trivia book tour. Today my guest is mystery writer, Wendy Gager
. Read what Wendy has to say about the importance of character in a novel. Wendy writes the Mitch Malone series. A Case of Volatile Deeds
will be out this fall. Welcome, Wendy.
Books must have good plots, great characters and a unique
setting to propel readers to buy the next book, but which of these is most
important? For me, a setting or plot is immaterial without memorable
characters. Especially in a mystery, characters drive the action and in the
quest to find the murderer it is all about inner flaws, hidden agendas, and
about your favorite book. Who immediately comes to mind? The characters, not
the setting or plot. To demonstrate, look at the Harry Potter series that is
heavily plot driven. What did you think of? Or should I say who? Did Harry,
Hermoine and Ron pop up in three D? Or maybe the villainous Snape or Voldemort?
The magical quests or the phenomenal wizarding worlds created are important to
the story but not the first thing. Would these seven books have captured the
attention of billions had they not had great characters like an orphan with
abusive guardians, a middle child lost in a sea of siblings, or a bookworm
ostracized by her intelligence? Hogwarts, the Forbidden Forest, and the Burrow
are great settings but lose their meaning without the characters. The plot is
nothing but good triumphing over evil. Granted they are both told in great
detail and skill but the characters steal the show with their personalities.
the mystery genre think about the master of mystery, Agatha Christie. Naming
several of her books is easy. However, it isn’t the setting but who the sleuth
was. Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot come to mind immediately. Their foibles like
Hercule’s fastidiousness or Miss Marple’s spinsterhood aren’t easily forgotten.
They made great sleuths because of their character traits of observation and
in my mind are much more important than setting or plot. When someone asks
about a favorite book, you don’t say “I loved the scene where the car tipped
over.” Instead you say I loved Rhett Butler in “Gone with the Wind” because his
last line was perfect. Or, I get annoyed with Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum
because she can’t make a decision on who she is going to marry. Characters
carry the show. Make them memorable and readers will clamor for the next book.
W.S. Gager has lived in Michigan
for most of her life except when she was interviewing race car drivers or
professional woman's golfers. She enjoyed the fast-paced life of a newspaper
reporter until deciding to settle down and realized babies didn't adapt well to
running down story details on deadline. Since then she honed her skills on
other forms of writing before deciding to do what she always wanted with her
life and that was to write mystery novels. Her main character is Mitch Malone
who is an edgy crime-beat reporter always on the hunt for the next Pulitzer and
won't let anyone stop him. “A Case of Hometown Blues” was released this summer
when Mitch returns to where he grew up only to have his high school crush
killed after he drops her off at home in the early hours of the morning. “A
Case of Volatile Deeds” will be out this fall and Mitch must figure out who
killed his date in an explosion.
Join me tomorrow for Kaye George who also writes about The Importance of Character Development.
My three mystery trivia books have been updated and reissued by LL-Publications
: The Agatha Christie Triviography and Quiz Book
, The Alfred Hitchcock Triviography and Quiz Book
, and The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book
. Post a comment on my blog by June 1, and your name will be entered in a drawing for one of my trivia books. Three names will be drawn, one for each book.