by Julie, who will eventually deck the halls in Somerville.
Yesterday we talked about odd holiday traditions in our series, or in our lives that will be borrowed. Or in your lives that will be used in our books.
I’m working on a synopsis for book #3 in the Garden Squad series, and have decided I need to leverage more holidays. I was going to jump right to Christmas, but I’m going to focus on Halloween for this one. The Wickeds helped me brainstorm winter gardening activities, so I feel more confident that I don’t need to rush through winter. There are a couple of other reasons for the Halloween focus.
First, holidays are a good anchor for readers, and have all sorts of trappings associated with them. If I focus on Halloween, I still have Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years to explore. Though that would be a body pile up, wouldn’t it?
Second, tension tends to run high around the holidays, which is a great opportunity for a mystery to be hatched. Even when you love your family, the holidays can add that extra something. The comedian Bonnie Hunt used to call it the “what did you mean by that?” moment at every family gathering. Add to the mix the boyfriend no one likes, and you’ve got yourself a mystery.
Third, I’m not a Halloween person per se, but many of my friends are. My sister Caroline decorates her house to the nth degree. She includes atmospheric music and items that move when folks approach. She is a gardener, and loves to use her mums as props for the decorations. She let me know that late October is still a good gardening time for a mystery. I’m already thinking about salt hay and manure, so this may get messy.
Lastly, holidays are great for cozies. They are good for crafts, recipes, community gatherings, and other cozy friendly themes. Holidays are also a good reason to get together, and gathering folks is a necessary part of the process. Even when it all goes terribly wrong.
How about you, dear readers? Do you like mysteries set around the holidays?