Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Importance of Death, Chocolate and Ex-Husbands

I’ve been a writer since I was eight years old and wrote my first story...a mystery...in lieu of doing a book report.

Over the years my writing has taken many different turns. Superman inspired me to write about a clever newspaper reporter who solved mysteries. After reading Dracula and watching movies like Wolfman, The Mummy and Frankenstein, I wrote horror stories for a while. I moved on through science fiction to “true” romance stories and actually made a little money in that market. In the ‘90s I wrote romance novels for Harlequin/Silhouette. Now I’m writing cozy mysteries.

While that may seem like a varied repertoire, I sometimes find myself thinking that nothing I’ve written has been of any consequence. My books are funny, suspenseful, and emotional but what do they accomplish? Well, they do pay my bills which is pretty important to me! But I’m not writing the great American novel. I’m not writing to motivate others. I write about murder and chocolate and evil ex-husbands. I write to entertain myself and others.

I regularly get emails and Facebook posts from readers telling me they enjoy my books. That validates that I'm accomplishing my goal of entertainment. But still that lingering doubt haunts me. Should my books be more meaningful? Should I be striving to inspire world peace or fight hunger? My answer is always the same. Maybe, but I have no idea how to go about it! My brain continues to spin stories about murder and snarky dialogue.

Then a few days ago I got an email from a reader saying she was going through a rough time and my books took her away from the sadness and made her laugh for a while.

Wow. Mission accomplished.

Some writers are destined to write world-changing books. I’m not one of them. But if something I write makes one person’s life better even for a while, then my books do have a purpose after all.

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