Saturday, July 19, 2014

Today’s Guest Blogger Lynn Cahoon

When Romance Turns to Murder

As a little girl, I ran off the bus, through the driveway, up the stairs, and through the front door to sit in front of the television for the last fifteen minutes of Dark Shadows. Twenty, if the bus was early.
I’ll pull off my coat, dump my books beside me, and get lost in the black and white story. I could feel the dark mist pouring out of the cabinet television.

During commercials, my mom would let me have a treat – usually an RC (Royal Crown cola in the glass 18 oz bottle) and homemade cookies. Then she’d catch me up on what happened on the show before my arrival. What I wouldn’t have given for a DVR back then. I loved the dark Barnabas Collins, my first bad boy. Doesn’t get much badder than the local vampire. But Barnabas only fed when he had to. And he truly loved Victoria.

Dark gothic soap opera. Watching that show was probably the start of my writing career. My wanting to write the happy-ever-after that Barnabas craved but knew he could never have. So it didn’t surprise me that my first completed (and now under the bed) book I wrote was a romance. The first book I sold was also a romance –The Bull Rider’s Brother released in June 2012. Then I sold a witchcraft novella. 2012-2013 was all about the love for me. At least in the books I released.

In 2013 I sold Guidebook to Murder, the first book in The Tourist Trap Mysteries. I’m releasing the second book, Mission to Murder this month. And a third in late autumn. So my writing this last couple years has focused on setting the clues and not outing the bad guy too soon.

So why the move from small town romance to small town murder? Mostly because like the little boy in The Sixth Sense, I see dead people. Okay, not like real dead people. I’m the girl that when we stop at the rest area off the freeway and I look at the woods surrounding the area and says, “That would be a great place to hide a body.”

Yep, I’m fun at parties.

Adding a dead body into the story adds instant conflict. And if my heroine just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, so much more the fun. Don’t get me wrong. I love writing romance. Helping characters fine their soul mate one book at a time is a great job. Writing romance reminds me that me that love does conquer all barriers, even between a vampire and his dinner.

Writing mysteries reminds me that good can overcome evil. Actually good must conquer evil in my view. I’m not a fan of the slasher movie types. The ones where the villain gets up and walks away after the heroine has spent the last two hours figuring out a way to win. Jamie Lee Curtis deserved better in Halloween. She worked hard to defeat Michael Myers, he should have stayed dead. You can argue the point, but I know I’m right on this. At least in Lynn’s world view.

Stories set in small town America allows me to build a community of people who care about each other. People who have their own quirks and insecurities. Sometimes these insecurities make them doubt each other. Sometimes they bring people together. And book after book, the characters grow on me, their creator, to the point three books later, I’m not sure who’s doing the story telling, me or them.

I grew up in a small town. The bus I rode home took forty-five minutes to deliver me back to the farm house where we lived eight miles out. Living in the country as a kid was hard. The friends I made were unusually in books. I planned to live and work in the biggest big city I could think of – New York City. From a farm south of Nampa, Idaho, I dreamed of taking my own bite out of the Big Apple. Yep, I would have fit in with the Glee kids. Except for the amazing vocal and acting talent.

Instead, I stayed close to home and currently, live in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river. Not a small apartment in a big city high rise. I have a two story with a back yard that backs up to a wooded area, perfect for hiding bodies. Or at least the bones my Pomeranians like to bury there.

Small town settings bring my stories to life. And my villains stay defeated. And sometimes, love blossoms between a couple characters.

I think Barnabas would be proud.


USA Today and New York Times best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho native. If you’d visit the town where she grew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus around the depth and experience of small town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.


In the California coastal town of South Cove, history is one of its many tourist attractions—until it becomes deadly…

Jill Gardner, proprietor of Coffee, Books, and More, has discovered that the old stone wall on her property might be a centuries-old mission worthy of being declared a landmark. But Craig Morgan, the obnoxious owner of South Cove’s most popular tourist spot, The Castle, makes it his business to contest her claim. When Morgan is found murdered at The Castle shortly after a heated argument with Jill, even her detective boyfriend has to ask her for an alibi. Jill decides she must find the real murderer to clear her name. But when the killer comes for her, she’ll need to jump from historic preservation to self-preservation.


Eileen Goudge said...

Really enjoyed MISSION TO MURDER! Great characters, fast-paced plot and a satisfying resolution. Good luck with the new one.

Lynn Cahoon said...

Thanks Eileen!