They say there’s a fine line between love and hate. Do you believe that’s true? How does that play out in your writing? Do you have one book in which it has been a stronger theme than others?
Edith: Love and hate are both strong emotions, the strongest, perhaps. Someone truly off balance might act out of hate because they didn’t get what they thought they loved, but I think for healthy people the line is pretty thick. In Biscuits and Slashed Browns, the motive was revenge on someone who had deeply harmed a person the killer loved very much. A similar thing happened in Turning the Tide. I think of my 16 books in print, those two have the finest line.
Liz: I do believe that! It’s easy to see how someone maybe a bit unstable could be pushed over the edge. In Cate’s first Cat Cafe mystery, Cat About Town, the victim was doing something to harm a person, and someone who felt they loved that person and wanted to protect them killed him, similar to what Edith described.
I also think it can happen in many attached-couple relationships, although I haven’t actually written that story yet!
Sherry: In All Murders Final! Sarah starts getting pictures sent to her through a fictional photo sharing app. The first one is of Sarah right after she finds the dead body of a wealthy, well known woman in Ellington, Massachusetts at her isolated house. The photo chills her because she looks around but can’t see anyone. Photos continue to be sent to her throughout the story. Some she assumes are from friends until she realizes that something much worse is going on. One person’s love is another’s hate.
Julie: Both love and hate are passionate responses, and I’m not sure if there is a fine line or when a passionate love goes bad, the hate is as passionate and dangerous. In A Christmas Peril love plays a role in the final denouement of the novel. I’m perking a Garden Squad mystery idea about long ago passion for book #3.
Barb: This question made me go down the list of motives for murders in all my published mystery novels. It’s a list that goes something like–jealousy, love, hate, greed, love, love, greed, fear. But not love/hate. My short stories tend to be darker and there you can find love and hate. In “House Calls,” in Blood Moon, infatuation turns to hate. In “Key West,” in Thin Ice, a mother’s love threatens to slide into hate. In “The Perfect Woman,” in Red Dawn, love turns to hate and desperation with tragic results. Passion makes a great motive because it ups the stakes for the perpetrator. Passionate love, passionate hate. Both work.
Jessie: What a great question, Sherry! I think the line between might be thin but it takes most people a long time to get to the place where the two meet. I tend to write books where the motives are about protecting, preserving or keeping secrets hidden rather than those that involve hatred. My latest Beryl and Edwina novel, Murder Flies the Coop, has more love angles than the previous book in the series but it would probably create spoilers to say more than that!
Readers: What say you? A fine line or a wider one? Do you care about the motive for the murder? What’s your favorite love/hate line in crime fiction?