Friday, 10 June 2011

Hard Core Mystery Writer Defects to Soft Core Sizzle

by Melodie Campbell

Sizzling suspense, not erotica.  Rowena Through the Wall may be hot, but there’s plenty of plot in this adventure.  Which brings to mind the topic of novel classification.

We already know the difference between mystery and suspense novels.  In mysteries, the focus is (usually) on the solving of the crime.  In suspense novels, the crime (usually) hasn’t happened yet, and the focus is on the threat of danger and the need to escape from it.  But other genres cross over, and can appeal to a variety of reading markets.

So what makes the difference?  How do you define what genre a novel fits into?  I’ve heard it explained this way.  Disassemble the thing. Consider a book that contains both mystery and romance.  Many mystery and suspense novels have a jolt of romance in them.  And romance novels often benefit from suspense in their makeup.  So how do you tell which is which, when it comes to novel classification and market? 

If you take the romance out of a mystery book, do you still have a strong story?  If so, it’s a mystery novel.  On the other hand, if you took the mystery/suspense out of a romance novel, would you still have enough story for a novel?  Then it’s romance.

Rowena Through the Wall is comic paranormal suspense novel, no doubt.  Without the fantasy of falling through the wall to another world, there would be no story.  Would the novel hold together without the sex?  Difficult.  You could do the dot-dot-dot thing and gloss over it, but the theme of several men wanting Rowena feeds the action and drives the conflict in this alternate world.  So…calling this a hot paranormal suspense novel works too.

But what happened to the hard core mystery writer?  She’s still there, working on a second novel called The Goddaughter, a comic crime caper.   At least that one is easy to classify.  But I might sneak some sex in there too.

Melodie’s novel Rowena Through the Wall (Imajin books) is AVAILABLE for $3.99 in ebook on Smashwords, and on Trade paperback to follow in July.  Follow Melodie on