I was so delighted when Vicki Delany said that she’d come and visit the blog today. She’s a very prolific writer but, as she’ll explain in this post, she has a longer writing history than many of us know.
Having Fun Again
By Vicki Delany
I started my writing career writing standalone novels of psychological suspense, what’s now so hugely popular under the label of domestic suspense; I then wrote an eight novel police procedural series. In between those I wrote a historical series set in the Klondike Gold Rush and novellas for adult literary.
And now I’m writing cozies. Why the change?
About six years ago, I was starting to get a bit… shall we say burned out? I was seriously thinking about giving up writing. I can’t really say why, maybe I wasn’t having fun with it any more. Tough stuff, even fictionally, is difficult to deal with sometimes.
Then I was asked by Kim Lionetti of Bookends if I’d like to try my hand at the Lighthouse Library series work-for-hire Berkley was offering.
Sure, thought I. Might as well. I gave it a go, got the contract, and I’ve never looked back.
Because I found that writing could be fun again. I love writing cozies. One thing led to another and I’m now writing FOUR cozy series. I write the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, the Year Round Christmas series, and the Tea by the Sea books as Vicki Delany, and the Lighthouse Library series is still ongoing under the pen name of Eva Gates. That’s three or four books a year. I approach every day (well, almost every day) excited to get back to the computer and the story.
The word I often use for the cozies I write is FUN. They should be fun for the author and fun for the reader. Not all cozies are humorous, but I hope mine are. Writing humour, I’ve found, makes me smile.
Cozies are intended to be nothing more than an entertaining read. You won’t learn many lessons about the human condition, no one is suffering from angst or threating 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.
Cozy mysteries are not trying to make an important statement about the human condition, or hoping to change the world. A cozy mystery tells a story that attempts to be entertaining, that’s about people much like us (or like us if we were prettier, or smarter, or younger!) and our friends and family.
Cozy mysteries are about real people living real lives (except for that pesky murder bit), although writ large. Everything is exaggerated. The nosy neighbour is nosier, the ditzy friend is ditzier, the mean girl is meaner. And the handsome man is, well, handsomer. Even better if there are two of them.
The covers and the titles of cozies themselves are intended to bring a smile to your face. Take a look at the covers below, and I bet they have that effect on you!
Readers who enjoy cozies often tell me they read them to escape from the real world. Particularly in these strange times, they need that escape. Cozy mysteries really are an escape.
Dear Reader I’d be interested to know if you are a cozy reader. If so, what do you like about them and if not, why not?
Vicki is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more forty books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea by the Sea mysteries for Kensington, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane Books, the Year Round Christmas mysteries for Penguin Random House, and the Lighthouse Library series (as Eva Gates) for Crooked Lane.
Vicki is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It Crime Writing Festival. She is the 2019 recipient of the Derrick Murdoch award for contributions to Canadian crime writing. Vicki lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario. Find Vicki at www.vickidelany.com, www.facebook.com/evagatesauthor Twitter: @vickidelany Instragram: vicki.delany
Vicki Delany’s latest books are A DEATH LONG OVERDUE, the 7th Lighthouse Library book, written under the pen name of Eva Gates, and DYING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND, the fifth in the Year Round Christmas series.
Welcome, Vicki! Mark me down as one who did not know about the darker books you formerly wrote. Four books a year? Wow. Congratulations on the newest ones!
I am so glad you didn’t stop writing and that you tried something new! I love your cozy mysteries!
Vicki, congratulations on your new books. I have my copy of DYING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND but I haven’t gotten A DEATH LONG OVERDUE just yet. It’s on the list so you know that I’ll be getting it.
I do read cozy mysteries alongside the thrillers featuring international intrigue or serial killers. What do I like about the cozy books? I like the feeling of continuity that the cozies do so well (usually). You watch the characters evolve and each new story brings you more adventures in their lives alongside the case of the moment. At times, it feels like a visit to an old friend or an acquired family.
Exactly! Thanks for joining the conversation Jay. I also read a lot of tougher book (I love psychological suspense) bit O find that cozies are what I need when times are getting tough.
I LOVE cozies because they tend to have ADULT protagonists. I am slightly burned out on YA at the moment as I have been reading academy tales and they are not set in any high school I attended! But cozies have the romance without the sexual hijinks, and violence is mostly limited to mild concussions (which are plenty dangerous enough!).
I mostly like cozies for the interesting characters. They become like friends. Congrats on your latest releases!
Wow! Four series, you are an amazing dynamo. I love the Year Round Christmas series. And yes, I’m a cozy reader.
Love cozies! They are not only entertaining, but they often let us see ourselves IF we were a bit more adventuresome. You can’t help but fall in love with the lead character as well as the supporting characters. They almost become like family, only better. You can interact when and where you want and when you are tired you can just close the cover with no hard feelings. We all have some bad or hard times in our lives. In cozies, those things are murder. Maybe we feel if something as big as murder can be solved, maybe our problem can too and often times makes ours seem small in comparison. Whatever the reason, cozies are one of my absolute favorite genre to read.
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That’s a great way of putting it, Kay. Thanks for joining the conversation.
Vicki, I’m glad you found something that enabled you to rediscover the fun in writing. Four books a year? You and Edith amaze me.
Thanks for visiting with the Wickeds, Vicki! Your story of being open to trying new thing is so inspirational!
I’m glad you found it so. Thanks Jessie.
What an amazing career! Thanks for joining us today.
Totally, my pleasure. Love your blog!
Vicki, you are an author I have read. I most enjoy reading cozy mysteries for just the reasons you named. I started reading them when my mother died and we became caretakers for my father who had Alzheimer’s. Cozy mysteries have a puzzle that I get to untangle and that stretches my mind AND they are diverting taking me to fun locations with characters I want to have as friends…most of the time. 😉 I am thankful for you and all the cozy mystery authors!
Hi Vicki, I first read your Lighthouse series, so glad that is continuing. Then I found your Constable Molly series, definitely not a cozy but enjoyable! I also read your Ashley Grant work. Haven’t read the latest– on my TBR list. Huge fan of the Sherlock Bookshop series. Cozy mysteries are my preferred genre. I love reading series where I can witness the evolution of the characters. I enjoy feeling like I’m reading about cherished friends.
Thanks so much, Kimberley. I’m glad you enjoy the books.
I love all genres and I like to mix it up. You can only have so many big surprise twists at the end and unrelenting suspense and horrible people before you need a break. So I alternate with cozies because, as you say, they are FUN. There are still twists and horrible people but I have such a good time with them. I think cozies and cozy authors are underrated. It’s not sub-par writing and cozies can be full of fun facts I wouldn’t otherwise know and touch on serious subjects. But they give me a much needed break and I love them.
I love cozies for all the reasons you mentioned. If I want darker and more realistic, I can go so many different places for that, but I pick up a book to be entertained and escape reality.
Welcome to the Wickeds, Vicki. What an inspirational career you have had.
As usual, Kay says it all and better than I can. I no longer read the hard boiled stuff. Don’t need to read fiction to get too much violence. I can read the paper for that. Well written cozies take me into a lovely fantasy world where I learn new things, and all comes out right in the end. Thanks for adding to the genre.
Welcome Vicki, I love the sound of your books and I love your book titles! I’m glad that you didn’t give up your writing. Have a Great week and stay safe.
Vicki, this is SUCH a perfect summation of what’s great about cozies! Thank you.
so interesting. Will have to check out your other genres.
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