Friday, June 8, 2018

WRITING SUSPENSE AND MYSTERY


Nancy Mehl is a best-selling, award winning author who lives in Missouri, with her husband, Norman, and her Puggle, Watson.
She’s authored thirty books and is currently writing a new series for Bethany House Publishing. The Kaely Quinn Profiler series will kick off with book one, MIND GAMES, in December of 2018. The last book in her Defenders of Justice series, BLIND BETRAYAL, was released in April. She is also working on a new cozy mystery series for Guideposts, The Mysteries of Martha’s Vineyard.
Readers can learn more about Nancy through her Web site: www.nancymehl.com. She is part of The Suspense Sisters: www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com, along with several other popular suspense authors. She is also very active on Facebook.



Writing Suspense and Mystery

When I first started writing, I was pulled toward mainstream mystery. That’s what I read, and it was all I wanted to write. I’d sold a couple of novels to small publishers before my agent asked me if I wanted to submit a proposal for a cozy mystery to a publisher that was starting a book club. “Sure,” I said, “but first, what’s a cozy mystery?” A quick explanation revealed that they weren’t much different than what I was already writing. I tweaked my proposal – created a small town with some eccentric characters – and then added the other elements that make up a cozy. I found that my story flowed easily. Cozies were fun! I got the contract and ended up writing seven inspirational cozy mysteries, even winning the Carol award for one of them. Then one of my editors asked me to turn a cozy mystery proposal into romantic suspense. Here I am, twelve books later, with another series under contract, writing suspense, not a genre I’d originally envisioned for myself. By nature, writers are introspective human beings, so not long ago I began to wonder if I was really happy where I was. Had all the twists and turns in my career led me to a place where I could be happy? Surprisingly, the answer to my question was “Yes!” But why? What had I discovered in the suspense genre that brought me fulfillment? I love writing cozy mystery. The characters are quirky and the stories have humor. There is a feel to them that I really enjoy. But suspense allows me to do something that cozy mysteries can’t always do. I can tackle the “tough” subjects. The loneliness of abandonment. The effects of loss, depression, or fear. In my upcoming book, MIND GAMES, teenager Kaely Quinn must face the heartache of discovering that the person she should have been able to trust the most is a monster.
A serial killer. She tries to survive as her world is blown apart and her family shattered. Her friends abandon her. She is left traumatized and emotionally fragile. This would be hard to include in a cozy mystery! I’ve learned that suspense has a darker edge that allows writers to delve into some of the painful struggles life can present. You may not find out a family member is a serial killer, but many of us understand the pain of rejection or the crushing disappointment when we discover someone we love has betrayed our trust.  


So why do authors need to write about uncomfortable subjects? Shouldn’t we simply focus on presenting a compelling story? Aren’t we literary “entertainers?” Yes, that’s true, but many of us also see ourselves as ministers. I don’t believe God has called me to write just because He wants me to create good stories. I believe our novels can be used as “parables” in the lives of readers who need to hear that God loves them and that He has a wonderful plan for their lives. That no matter what you’ve been through, God offers healing and restoration. Christian authors are in a unique situation. We are able to present characters that need redemption. Between the pages of our books readers can actually find hope for their lives. Maybe it sounds as if we’re biting off more than we can or should chew. But we’ve been given the opportunity to speak into the lives of others, and I believe our stories can have the power to draw readers closer to God. What higher calling can a writer have?

So, as long as I’m allowed to write, I will be always be grateful to the editor who suggested I write suspense. It wasn’t the path I would have chosen, but I’m certainly glad I ended up here. God is so good to me. In fact, through Guideposts, He’s opened a door for me to also write cozy mysteries, a genre close to my heart. Now I truly have the best of both worlds!   

Leave a comment for your chance to win your pick of any of Nancy's cozy mysteries or one of her suspense novels! Don't forget to leave your contact information. You can choose either an ebook or a print copy, but print copies will be mailed only in the U.S.  


22 comments:

  1. God IS good in giving us all opportunities to minister in our areas of talent. I strongly believe that. All we have to do is open our eyes and walk through the doors he opens for us. I would love to win one of your books! eldora2193@comcast.net

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  2. I'm so glad you write both cozy and romantic suspense!

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  3. I do love suspense so I’m sure I’d love your books! I haven’t read much of cozy mysteries...
    mindyhoungATmsnDOTcom

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  4. I really enjoy your suspense books. I've not read any of your cozy mysteries. Thank you for a chance to win.
    lhanberry1(at)gmail(dot)com

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  5. My love of mysteries began with Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew and I still love a good mystery. I now enjoy cozy mysteries so I'm thrilled that you were urged to write them. I've always wanted to visit Martha's Vineyard so I look forward to some armchair traveling via your new series!
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950@(at)gmail(dot)com

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  6. I’m glad you write about God’s love even in the tough world situations in a suspense/mystery novel. We all need to be reminded he is there for us always. I love your books, thanks for the giveaway.
    tumcsec(at)gmail(dot)com

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  7. Thank you so much for sharing and for the chance to win a good Suspense novel. God is amazing. Blessings
    leliamae54(at)aol(dot)com

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  8. how interesting

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  9. Oh, Mind Games sounds so good!
    duellonlysis(at)aol(dot)com

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  10. I love Nancy's romantic suspense novels!

    psalm103and138atgmaildotcom

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  11. I wasn't aware that you also wrote cozy mysteries. I like your romantic suspense novels, will have to try a cozy.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  12. I enjoy your books! Please keep it up!

    gda523atcomcastdotnet

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    Replies
    1. I enjoyed this blog post and your books.
      Love any kind of mystery but enjoy Christian because of the inspirational component.

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  13. I'm glad you can use your writing to minister and show your readers the power of God's redemptive love. And it's cool to hear that your writing career has allowed you to write in different subgenres. Thanks for the giveaway.

    usedtextbooks5(at)gmail(dot)com

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  14. I love your suspense novels. Such a blessing and inspiration! God is good. mrsbellaz14(at)gmail(dot)com

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  15. This sounds like an intriguing book--not one I'd start at bedtime! Badawson16 at AOL dot Com

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  16. What a lovely praise report, Nancy. I truly believe that God led you to write what you need to write because there are specific people that you are supposed to reach. ReadingMama922 at gmail dot com

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  17. I greatly enjoyed your book Simple Choices. It’s lovely to find authors writing good mysteries and suspense while using their talents to glorify God.

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