Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Little Humor, A Little Romance, A Little Murder

A guest blog by Marja McGraw

I write two mystery series: The Sandi Webster Mysteries and The Bogey Man Mysteries. My logo is “a little humor, a little romance, A Little Murder!” It suits my books. They’re lighter with a little humor, and while there is some romance, there are no sex scenes. They aren’t necessary to my stories, and I’m old school – I’ve always felt like anticipation and imagination are much sexier that reading about it with the details all laid out for me.

Some books have sex thrown in just for shock value. It doesn’t progress the story at all. I’ve also read stories where this element was pertinent to the story.  In addition, there are books that don’t have any sex and they’re as entertaining as any story can be. I believe that the anticipation of what’s to come can be very titillating, especially when you fill in the blanks yourself.  Think about it. John Doe whispered something in Jane Smith’s ear, and smiling, followed her through a door, pulling it closed behind him. Do you want someone to tell you what happened behind that door? Or would you rather dream up your own scenario? Hmm. All kinds of possibilities there.

I have a friend, Shirley Kennedy, who wanted to write contemporary romances. Well, she wrote a good book and submitted it to a publisher. The publisher was interested, but only if she’d add sexual content. So Shirley sat down in front of her computer and started adding sex scenes.  It turned out there was a problem. She suddenly realized that as she wrote this graphic, sensual scene, she couldn’t bring herself to look at the computer screen. She looked up, to the right, to the left, and out the window – anywhere except at the screen. She’d been asked to write something that she wasn’t comfortable with. When she told me this story, I laughed. I could picture the whole thing in my mind. Still wanting to write romances, she changed from Contemporary to Regency romances, where she didn’t have to include sex scenes. By the way, Shirley is a terrific writer and now writes other types of romance stories, too.

The thing is, when I laughed at this story and pictured it in my mind, the woman sitting in front of the computer unexpectedly turned into me. Talk about surprising yourself! I write mysteries, and the stories I write don’t involve graphic sexual encounters. They’re about mysteries and solving crimes. They center around the characters and their growth, and they include some humor.
I won’t knock any author who writes graphic material, because there is a market for it – and some of it is extremely well-written. I simply prefer something entertaining and mysterious. I won’t even try to change any minds here. However, I will add that a young woman approached me after reading my first book and told me two things. First, she said that she never, ever reads anything that doesn’t contain graphic sex. Secondly, she said that it was two weeks after she read the book before she realized there wasn’t any sex in it. Draw your own conclusions.

Take a chance and try reading Bogey Nights – A Bogey Man Mystery, which was released in March of 2011. It will entertain you, even without sexual content.

Jean, thank you for inviting me today. I’ve enjoyed my visitWebsite:
Buy Link:  Amazon
Oak Tree Press
Available through your favorite bookstore

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to my mountaintop, Marja. It's good to have you join us here during the last week of the Mystery We Write Blog Tour. I've enjoyed your Sandi Webster mysteries and look forward to reading Bogie Nights.