Monday, January 19, 2015

Switching Gears

I once tried writing a very dark crime novel. My original premise had been about these two tough cops in B.C., a young woman and an older man, up against drug and motorcycle gangs, sex traffickers and really bad killers (as opposed to really nice killers??).

At the end of the first book in the series, the older male would be killed in a bomb explosion and the woman would go on to seek revenge.

Believe it or not, that book didn’t come out very dark and ended up being In the Shadow of the Glacier, the first Constable Molly Smith book.

Which, if you haven’t read the books, is a realistic police procedural about the lives and jobs of cops in small town British Columbia. Some reviews have called the series cozy, but they definitely are not.

In one book, Molly Smith kills a man, in them all the fall out of the murder or crime is wide-spread and devastating. I’ve dealt with the murder of a mother, the disappearance of a father, the suspected betrayal of a spouse, the death of adult children (not touching little kids), and even a soldier with PTSD and a gun on his lap.

So, not cozy. But nowhere near as dark as intended originally. Which is no doubt all for the better.

My standalone suspense novels have a modern gothic touch, and all deal with betrayals past and present.

My Klondike Gold Rush books are lighter, but they still have an edge. The main character is a woman with a past and she knows there are people out there looking for her. She runs a saloon and dance hall, and the occasional shady character drops in.

So, all in all, I think I’m a varied writer. I can write in different sub-genres and use different styles and tones in my writing.

Except, it seems, the dark stuff.

My newest style is very light. Under the pen name Eva Gates, I’m writing true cozies.

And having a lot of fun with it. Maybe I was burning out with the stuff I was writing, but the cozies have given me a giant boost. Then again, maybe I’m just enjoying not worrying about grief, and loss, and the tragedy of human existence.

Cozies are intended to be nothing more than an entertaining read. You won’t learn many lessons about the human condition, there is no one suffering from angst or threatening to kill themselves because of depression. No PTSD. No terrorist attacks or serial killers. Just people with friends and lovers and community. And the occasional enemy. And a murder of course.

Some cozies are humourous, some are not. I have tried to be.

Even if you’ve never read a cozy before, I invite you to give it a try. By Book or By Crook will be out on February 3rd. I'll be travelling extensively in the US on book tour, and meeting up with some great authors to share events along the way. The detailed schedule can be found at

1 comment:

Eileen Goudge said...

Cozy with a twist, that's how I think of my "cozies." I discovered, from reading the comments on cozy forums, that fans don't want sexy and the romance has to be secondary to the plot. I find that a bit inhibiting, I have to say