Politics in Cozies

by Barb, heading out tomorrow for a few days of vacation with my oldest granddaughter

Hidden Beneath, my eleventh Maine Clambake Mystery, was published on June 27. Since then, it has received some wonderful reviews in publications, on blog posts, and on review sites like Goodreads and Amazon. Many people have written to say they loved the book.

I also received this email:

Barbara, I pre-ordered Hidden Beneath and was enjoying every bit until I came to page 50 and the wokeness sentence appeared out of no where. I am disappointed that you felt it necessary to interject your political views. It cast a wet blanket over the story for me who is fed up with efforts to make it wrong to be “rich” and a sin to be white. I am amazed, as successful as you are, that you would deviate from your winning formula.

To be clear, the writer of the email signed her full name, town and state. She did not attempt to be anonymous. I removed that information.

Now, before everyone loses their minds, let me say a couple of things. 1) I agree that cozies should not be polemics about partisan politics. I know from my fan mail, which comes more often than you might think from chemo therapy chairs and hospital bedsides, many people turn to cozies in times of stress. “You were my pandemic read,” so many people have said to me. Since partisan politics create so much of our human stress, people often aren’t looking for that when they want to be entertained and taken away from their cares. And, 2) I don’t think an authorial voice advocating political positions belongs in cozies. I know other very successful authors approach the work differently and they should do what they do. Avoiding politics is not a part of the Cozy Covenant. It’s just that as a reader, I find these messages intrusive. More often than not they take me out of the story.

I do, however, believe that cozy characters, if they are well-rounded, do have political beliefs, and that occasionally they express them or otherwise make them obvious.

I’m going to write now about the political beliefs of my Maine Clambake regulars. If you think it’s going to make you crazy, this is your chance to bail.

Let’s look at the passage my correspondent reacted to. Julia and her ex-boyfriend Chris are on Chipmunk Island, a summer community of one hundred homes.

Back outside, there was a loud crack, and the crowd in the stands at the ball field cheered as a spry woman raced around the bases while a young guy chased a ball. In the golf cart, I sat back against the seat, taking it all in. Aside from the clothes they wore, the people on the green might have been playing baseball or tennis in 1890. I said as much to Chris. “It’s like the olden days here.”

He looked around and nodded his head. “Yup. Everybody’s rich and everybody’s white.”

Notice that the author doesn’t say this. It’s Julia’s ex-boyfriend Chris who says it. Chris is portrayed throughout the series as raised among great-uncles, who worked in Maine’s paper mills. He’s got an old-fashioned trade unionist point of view. Julia’s sister, Livvie, teases Julia in more than one book about her boyfriend being a “commie.” What Chris says is entirely consistent with his established character.

The quote above may not be what my correspondent objected to. Following what Chris says, Julia thinks, but does not say.

So maybe not the good old days after all.

Note that neither Chris or Julia say it’s bad to be rich or white. (Though Chris may believe it’s bad to be rich. Julia, a confirmed capitalist and entrepreneur, definitely doesn’t believe that.) Rather, Chris is expressing an observation about the community as it continues today and the forces of history that made it so. Julia knows that there may well have been written restrictions in the island’s charter about who could build or buy there. Or, the restrictions may not have been written down, just a practice of approving sales to “people we know,” in a world where that invariably meant, “people like us.” Though the world where written restrictions based on religion or race is gone, the fact that the Chipmunk Island houses never go on the open market informally perpetuates it.

Julia acknowledges this history in response to Chris’s remark. The good old days evoked by the island baseball game weren’t good for everyone. Note that neither one of them condemn the people who live on the island now, just the forces that caused it to be the place that is.

The whole of Hidden Beneath is a meditation on what’s worth keeping and leaving behind from the past. Julia is processing in the scene above. She keeps processing throughout the book as she witnesses things that are good and should be preserved, things that are bad and should be left behind, and things that societal change has rendered obsolete and that will be left behind no matter how we feel about them.

Chris and Julia also have different views of what “rich” means. Julia has worked in venture capital in New York City, so she has known some super rich people. Her friend Quentin Tupper (more on him later) also falls into this category. She thinks of the residents of Chipmunk Island as “comfortable.” There are no helicopters or super-yachts bringing residents to huge mansions. For Chris, the houses on the island, passed down from one generation to the next, represent inter-generational wealth. That makes the residents rich in his view of the world.

At the time this conversation takes place, Julia is living in the renovated mansion her mother inherited, so her view of inter-generational wealth is more nuanced. As she says, she doesn’t feel rich, but she does feel lucky. The series has never shied away from looking at differences in class and experience and how they affect the characters’ perceptions.

What about Julia’s politics? She went to college in western Massachusetts. (To Smith, though I never actually say that.) And then to grad school and work in New York City. She’s a classic northeastern liberal, though politics are not a main (or a Maine) preoccupation for her. The Maine Clambake Mysteries are written in the first person, so everything we see and hear is from Julia’s point of view. (Cue my theory that all narrators are unreliable–which drives Sherry crazy.) Is Julia me? No. She’s half my age for one thing, so she’s sensitive to things I am not. I, on the other hand, have a lot more lived history to inform my views than she does.

What about the other Maine Clambake Mystery regulars? Here’s what they believe politically. But remember, most of this is “off the page,” as we say about sex and gore in cozies. It informs my writing of the characters, but for the most part, you haven’t seen it explicitly.

  • Sonny, Julia’s brother-in-law, is conservative in his political views and in life. He believes in the old ways. He lobsters like his father did, and works at his wife parents’ clambake. Though he’s the antagonist in about three-quarters of the first book in the series, Sonny and Julia come to have a good working and family relationship based on mutual respect. In Muddled Through, Julia says of Sonny:

He’d been a part of my life for more than half of it. We worked together every day all summer long. But we accomplished this by carefully avoiding landmine topics, including the biggies—religion and politics—and the small: for example, what was the best route out of the harbor in the small boat we used to move lobsters and ourselves out to Morrow Island for the clambake.

Surely everyone has a relationship like this.

  • Julia’s sister, Livvie, appears to agree with her husband politically, thought she rarely expresses her thoughts because her main interest is in keeping the peace between her husband and sister. Julia believes Livvie sometimes secretly agrees with her but there is no evidence for this. It’s just something Julia wants to believe about her sister.
  • Neighbors Fee and Vee Snugg are Republicans whose ideal is legendary Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith. Their loyalties moved to Senator Olympia Snowe and then to Senator Susan Collins. In the last several years, Vee has been having doubts about Collins. Fee has remained stalwart. They have never discussed it, but each quietly believes that she canceled out the other’s vote in the 2020 Maine senatorial election.
  • Jacqueline, Julia’s mother also doesn’t discuss politics, not in the interests of keeping the peace, but because she was raised that it isn’t polite to discuss such things in (potentially) mixed company. When she is able, she has been quietly been giving money to Planned Parenthood for decades.
  • Restaurant owner Gus is so conservative he advocates a return to the gold standard. His practice of only allowing people he knows and people who come with people he knows to eat in his restaurant is charming and well-understood by the locals but undoubtedly results in some instances of illegal discrimination.
  • Mrs. Gus mostly agrees with her husband though she’s been known to roll her eyes or give him a sharp elbow when he really goes off.
  • Quentin Tupper, silent investor in Julia’s family business, made a fortune in tech. He tends toward the libertarian outlook some of those tech guys have. Julia teases him about this, but he’s been so supportive of her and her family in so many different ways, neither of them lets politics get in the way of their relationship.
  • LeRoy the cat is also a libertarian, as all cats are.

I could have written Julia’s, or any of the characters’, politics as differing from what you’d expect from their background. That might have been more interesting character-wise. But it also would have required me to create opportunities to “show not tell” this, which would have required more dialog about partisan politics, which would have been the opposite of what I was trying to achieve.

In many ways I’m surprised I got the email above in response Hidden Beneath and not last year’s book, Muddled Through, which is much more “political.” The entire sixth chapter of that book is devoted to a contentious town meeting. There’s also an explicit discussion on the impact of increasing income inequality on resort towns like Busman’s Harbor. But that discussion does work with the Cozy Covenant, the last principle of which is “I want the book to be about something.’

Readers: Let’er rip. Does developing well-rounded characters require them to have political views? And, if so, how and how much do you want to hear about them?

90 Thoughts

  1. Barb, what a well thought out essay (as yours always are). I am in the middle of Hidden Beneath right now, and the minute I read that reader’s letter, I knew what the page 50 passage was going to be. You tread the “politics” line beautifully, always letting it be about your characters and the story. That’s the kind of book I want to read (and I’m delighted I’m in MAINE reading yours!).

  2. Yes, your characters should have political views but not everyone wants to hear about them unless they are running for mayor or something.

  3. One of the themes in the book was change and how it is accepted by some and not by others. I agree that the characters have particular traits of one political side or another but everyone you meet in life generally does. It’s hard to think of them otherwise. The factor of change was a theme, a motive and a reason for living on the island. Even Chris needs to leave to change and move on. The term “woke” is related to change in its context today. The problem isn’t that it is political but that it is so ubiquitously used in politics and that context has become just plain overused and a daily reminder of word salad garbage that reminds us of “in your face” politics, good or bad, and so often incorrectly. I suspect the word jolts readers a bit out of the story and into the daily muck of overused attention getting.

    1. I agree with you and I didn’t use the word woke in the book and it’s hard to think of a context in which I would. That was in the email I received.

      1. Interesting. I went back and looked for it and my kindle couldn’t find it and neither could I.

    2. I honestly think that everybody taking offense to everything anymore is ridiculous. If everyone was sweet of saccharine, I couldn’t take reading cozies. I don’t look for the hidden meaning in every sentence. I want to enjoy the book and escape reality. Your books always help me do that.

  4. I think your passage in the book is fine. As you said, it’s part of your character’s personality. I’ve read books where the characters are so sugary sweet, their personalities become bland. I like colorful characters, warts and all! Well, as long as there’s not a lot of political talk…I’d end up just skipping over that.
    P.S. am I the only one tired of the word “woke”?

  5. I read that passage in the book and didn’t think twice about it. To me, it doesn’t read as political. It’s merely a comment of historical fact. I much prefer reading about characters who don’t live inside a “cozy bubble” but instead have a real world point of view and interesting things to say (which yours always do.)

  6. I didn’t think about it. It’s reality in my mind. Also in my mind I’m not sure woke has a real definition. It means different things to different people. Most of the people around me who use woke a lot are not people I would choose to associate with.

  7. Barb, thank you so much for your write up about the characters in the book. One of the many reasons I enjoy your books is the individual characters – each has their own personality just like in life – some you would like to get to know better, others not so much. Personally, I did not view the passage as political but rather a view (and everyone has them) on how life was by that person.

    1. “…each has their own personality just like in life – some you would like to get to know better, others not so much.”

      I love that sentence.

  8. I read the book and enjoyed the reflection of the characters. I think people like to complain and use the word “woke” without having any idea what it means. I enjoy finding out about the characters and you can pretty much tell where they stand on the political spectrum by their actions and how they treat people and their thoughts, like Juila had. There was noting political in the book. I think that comment was ridiculous and uncalled for.

  9. I love your books and the characters in them. Your characters are real people, some that I like and others whose attitudes ruffle me. That’s part of what creates necessary tension in a story. Thank you for giving us meaty characters who are not aggressively in our faces or blandly stereotypically flat. That said, thank you for your explanation of characters. Keep doing what you do so well.

  10. Barbara, I wouldn’t worry too much about that readers complaint. Politics is a part of life, it’s just being realistic to have some even in a “cozy” book. Keep writing like you do!

    1. I’m not worried. Once the book is out in the world, some people will like it and others will not. There’s not much I can do about it at that point.

  11. I’m good with characters having a full background, whether or not they all agree with my outlook on life.

  12. When I read that passage, I had two thoughts. 1) Wonder if Barb is going to get feedback about this; and 2) It’s pure Chris. I don’t want to be beaten over the head about any topic in a fiction book. Whether I agree or not, is not the issue, I read fiction for entertainment. Part of that entertainment is being captivated by well drawn characters who have individual personalities. Well done, Barb.

  13. People are who they are. Every piece of information adds to who the character is. I have no problem with the information in your book, if you are familiar with an area you may already have figured that those are the character’s leanings. I don’t want a whole book slanted towards a point of view, that’s not what cozies are about but I agree that sympathies explains where a person is coming from.

    1. “…if you are familiar with an area you may already have figured that those are the character’s leanings.” This was my assumption–that a lot of readers would have already figured this out.

  14. Oh boy and girl, Barb! What a world we live in…I believe in joy, and loving each other…I know that it may be a fairytale, but I stick to my positive outlook! First, the ‘controversial” passage mentioned above was absolutely passed over when I read Hidden Beneath, and I had to read the entire blog to even know what could be disturbing to someone. When I read cozies, I escape reality and enter the author’s world, where I will forget any real-world happenings, issues or situations…I travel there…and join my friends. Should they have political views? Sure. Should they become a part of the story and cloud over the “coziness” of the book? No. I love your writing style and admire the clever plots and love the characters (except the bad ones). I have no complaints at all…for me, the overall “complaint department” closed during the pandemic and did not reopen. Keep thrilling me with your Maine Clambake Mysteries…I bought my lifetime round trip tickets to Busman Harbor, and maybe will seriously consider moving there permanently 🙂 Luis at ole dot travel

  15. I believe a character in a cozy mystery should be a well rounded individuals with their own viewpoints on life. As long as it doesn’t take over the whole story.

  16. In the context of the story, which is told so beautifully (as are all your books) the comment is entirely appropriate and definitely advances the plot.

    I love all the back story you’ve provided in this blog about each of the characters, especially about the cat’s political preferences. Speaking for my pals in the canine community, they are definitely unaffiliated. Whoever gives them the most dog biscuits get their vote.

  17. To me the passage the reader quoted is not political. My favorite cozy characters are well-rounded and express their views. I expect that when I read my favorite cozies. I have stopped reading one particular author because the books contained too much politics. I read cozies to escape but I have never felt your books are preachy or political. I also agree that I am so tired of seeing and hearing the word “woke”.

  18. Kudos to you! Our characters have beliefs and personalities and that makes them real for us. I am personally tired of misinterpretations of the word, woke. As if awareness and truth are bad things. Many rich people are woke. Many highly educated people are woke. Increasingly, truth deniers have attempted to make woke a bad thing. I hold to its positives. Waking up to facts, even in fiction, is a great thing to me.

  19. I will say, when I was reading the book, I found those couple of lines very jarring. They felt like they came out of nowhere. I was also very worried that this was going to become a theme throughout the rest of the book.

    Not having read the previous book in the series since last year (I know, I know, what kind of fan am I?), is the reason that politics in the previous book wasn’t an issue because it was a part of the main conflict so you eased into it? And, you were showing people from both sides of the issue, instead of just being one sided, which was what the passage from the new book felt like. Just speculating here. Don’t know for sure.

    Presenting both sides fairly and not necessarily reaching a conclusion is certainly a good way to avoid alienating readers.

    I will say, I am very sensitive to this topic these days, not so much from cozies I read but from TV, where they feature lectures disguised as entertainment. Seriously, sometimes, the story is just there to lecture, and the opposing characters are just caricatures.

    Having said that, there are some authors I’ve stopped reading or don’t plan on picking up because of the way they handle politics in their books.

    1. I think you are right about Muddled Through. Also the split was not along partisan lines. There was a character who certainly thinks of himself as liberal who was anti-change because he wanted Busman’s Harbor to be the same charming fishing village it was when his grandparents built their summer home in the 1920s. A character who would describe himself as a pro-business, pro-development conservative who wanted change. A character who would describe himself as conservative who didn’t want outsiders coming in making money, who was against change, and a character who thinks of herself as liberal who wanted good jobs and housing for people who was pro-change.

      The theme of Hidden Beneath was the past, what’s worth holding onto, what’s worth letting go, what has to be let go even if it was good. But not in the terms Chris expressed it in.

  20. Barbara, I agree with your statements and did not find Chris or Julia’s position to be offensive. Everyone has an opinion (our society supports that and I served in the military to support individual freedoms and The USA). Just because a reader doesn’t like Chris of Julia’s opinions doesn’t make it a political statement that the author believes or doesn’t believe what is written.
    I viewed in the context it was written and not as an author making a statement. A little kindness goes a long way.

    1. I agree. I could see, maybe, seeing things the POV character says as the author’s opinion (though I can think of more books where they are not than books were they are). But I can’t se attributor the opinion of a secondary character to the author. Not that I disagree with Chris in this instance, because it was a statement of fact.

  21. When I came upon that passage, I didn’t think of it as political, but rather just a statement of fact. I think the letter writer needs to find something to do with her life. She was clearly looking for something to be upset about. I don’t like politics in cozies, but to have interesting, well-rounded characters, they have to have opinions. I don’t have to agree with them. I don’t have to like the characters, either. But it reflects reality. Keep up the great work, Barbara. I love this series.

  22. I agree with Ginny: I didn’t think of the passage as a political statement, but rather as an observation about a set of circumstances in our contemporary world. One of the many reasons I enjoy your books is that the characters are so fully realized as people. That’s what makes Julia, Chris, Flynn, Binder, et. al. so engaging and believable and why I become so invested in their lives and adventures. I do believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I also think we are sometimes so quick to look for slights and/or find fault with elements like a character’s statement in a book because we feel stressed or frustrated with political or social circumstances in our larger world that are not so easily addressed. That’s just my opinion — not offering it as a statement of fact.

  23. Seems to me that the reader was looking for something to complain about. I thought it was a funny line. Cheers to you and your fabulous writing, Barbara!

  24. I always feel as if I’m taking dictation from my characters. If they sound as though they have a particular view one way or another, so be it. If only one reader had a problem with what one of your characters said, I wouldn’t worry much about it!

      1. Yep. It was an interesting excercise. It got me to thinking about the several POV my characters have displayed without consulting me about it at all!

  25. I have the book, but as yet to have read it. I enjoy cozies because I love mysteries and I do not care for descriptive details of a murder like in hard core crime mystery books. I want to be transported to someone else’s world and be entertained. I don’t want politics in my books either if it is all preaching as to one side and not the other, but as the above commenters said, a well-rounded character has opinions and views. The problem with today’s world is that society has become a “ME” society. If they don’t like something, then it has to be bad and despite being one out of many voices, they want it gone. They do not care that the rest of us are fine with whatever it is. Politics has created that monster and all of the problems associated with it. They have made the world “woke” in the wrong way. Everything that has been done in the past should be preserved as history and learned from whether it is liked or disliked and not banished or torn down or put out of sight or paid for sins of the past.

  26. Some people have too much time on their hands and too much energy to let themselves be annoyed by anything. The line seemed true to the character. Characters, like real-life people, have views and opinions and feelings formed by their experience of life and their “back story.” If you’re going to be offended by a fictional character’s viewpoint (which was more a statement of fact than political anyway), you are spending a lot of time looking for something to offended by. I think that’s the kind of review to be ignored. That reviewer is never going to be happy.

  27. I think that it is perfectly fine to include the political views of the characters. The world is full of all kinds of opinions from people. It’s just how life is! The most important thing, Barbara, is the mystery portion of the book, including all that is entailed in the story. I don’t think that any of your stories include too many political statements or opinions, Barbara. In my opinion, you make it perfectly clear who is speaking. As long as I can like the protagonist, I am fine with most things. Keep writing great stories!

  28. (cross-posted with the post on Facebook)

    I have to say that I have NEVER felt put upon politically by any book in this fabulous series. (This is the only book I haven’t read yet and it’s actually up next for me when I finish my current read!) I can say that I have abandoned a few other cozy series (serieses? 😆), one for being so one-sided politically, that I felt screamed at from a soapbox every time I picked up a book (and to be fair, it didn’t matter to me whether it was a position I agreed with or opposed, it was so obnoxiously preachy, it would have offended me either way, even if both political stances had been represented); another for a particular personal value of mine that it violated so egregiously I couldn’t overlook it, I quit the book and series on the spot; yet another because I just couldn’t respect the protagonist at all, she was so whiny and entitled. All that to say that your books are a delight, and never once offensive to me, politically or otherwise — and I am clearly not shy about walking away from a series that no longer appeals to me. I loved your blog post on this subject, especially the opportunity to get a little deeper acquaintanceship with our regulars, so thank you for that. I also appreciate that your characters espouse a wide variety of political stances, which feels so real to me as a demographic representation. Finally, “Restaurant owner Gus is so conservative he advocates a return to the gold standard” made me burst right out laughing because if you had asked me to guess Gus’s political position, this is so spot on. I can practically hear him growl it. Thank you for continuing to share the amazing inhabitants of Busman’s Harbor with us. I hope we have many, many more visits to look forward to.

    1. I, too, have walked away from series I perceived as too preachy, even when I agreed with them. The nice thing about a fiction story with a beginning, middle and end, is that it doesn’t have to be preachy.

    1. Right. To me it was an easily observable fact (of a fictional place I made up) and Chris would be a character who would comment on it.

  29. Well rounded characters have political opinons – just as they have love lives. For me the line is crossed when the authorial voice takes over the story. That passage doesn’t do that.

  30. An excellent post. How can characters not have political points of view? Even personal choices reflect an ideology. As the old slogan says, “The personal is political.”

  31. I blew right by that passage and never gave it a thought. I don’t like overly political books but have never thought about your books in that context. I agree with what others have said about the word “woke.” Most people using can’t define it and most politicians wave it around like a red cape in front of a bull.

  32. What I find interesting – and you said let it rip! – is that all the political viewpoints you listed skewed right. You don’t have to prove anything to that reader, i.e., listing conservative bona fides. I think it’s healthy to have a mix of viewpoints in a series, as you do in general. For me, the politics of the characters in all my books are a mix. That’s the real of where they live. And I think that’s the point for all of us – writing to the real without becoming preachy in either direction.

    1. I had never stopped to count them up before! Of course, you have a range of views even within the left or right divides. Maine is a purple state so I guess my characters represent that.

  33. “Hidden Beneath” was another page-turner for me, as the family rallied around Jacqueline to help her with an old friend’s estate. Having been through that kind of document search for a close cousin’s papers last year, I felt your descriptions read as if you had done it yourself. Brava!

    Chris’ comment rang true to the character, and seemed another reason why he and Julia weren’t meant to be together in the long run. They see the world differently and are in different places in their lives. LUV the Flynn angle. 🙂

    Wonderful writing as the characters decided what was important to carry forward, leave behind, or ‘own up’ to.

    1. I am loving the insights into Chris’s character and Chris and Julia’s relationship that are coming out in this discussion.

  34. Barb, terrific essay. (The book is waiting for me, as soon as the WIP is finished!) Personally, I do not think that observations of society or social issues are “politics,” even if they have sometimes been treated that way in recent years. In one of my Spice Shop books, a trans woman, a painter, becomes a vendor in Pike Place Market and befriends Pepper. I got a note from a reader similar to the one you received, but also complaining that the character was clearly evidence of my intent to thrust “those people” on readers because she served no purpose in the story. It seemed as if the reader was so focused on being annoyed by my attempt to portray the Market as it is — I have no doubt that there are trans people among the vendors — that he overlooked the critical clue the character provided.

    The cozy is as much about the search for justice as any other mystery, and I love that it is broad enough to include social issues. Of course the mystery is paramount, so they usually surface in subplots or characterization. They are part of real life. The trick is in the care with which we handle them, just as with some of the other harsher aspects of life.

    1. Leslie, I know what it’s like to have a TBR pile stacked up waiting for a WIP to be handed in. My deadline was July 1. As you say, some of this is about portraying the world as it is.

  35. I love this quote from author Kelly Yang, “Books are doorways & mirrors.” When you read a book, you filter your life experiences through the chapters. It’s been clear throughout the series that Chris always had a chip on his shoulder concerning Julia’s family’s wealth. He’s going to look at life differently since he was raised in a different manner than Julia. Chris always struck me as bitter at the hand life dealt him, but once again, that’s MY interpretation of the character. As a librarian, I challenge people to read books that make them uncomfortable. Why does this make you upset? It it challenging your beliefs? Is it not reflecting what you want? The simple solution is if you don’t like it, don’t read it, but other people DO want to read this series. Yes, feel free to state your opinion, but your opinion is your own reflection on your beliefs. A good writer expands & grows the characters so they don’t become stagnent. Keep writing Barbara & thanks for having this conversation!

    1. I love what you are saying about readers filtering books through their own experience. That is so true, and also true of me as a reader. I never understand people who want to read only books that don’t challenge their beliefs, but I also know that often when people reach for a cozy, they are looking for a comfort read.

  36. Oh puleasse, no readily please don’t write about their political or religious character’s view, I read to escape not to be drawn into a political/religious debate. If we start having this discussion, then I will be looking at all the other writers/ authors characters in their books and I won’t be able to read again. I didn’t found this book n the nonfiction section, and unfortunately or fortunately people don’t think, act, or feel the same as everyone else, that’s what makes us as humans unique. And as Ms Ross stated she is not siding on any one characters side, she s just writing her story hopefully for everyone’s enjoyment. I was brought up with the sayings, if you can say anything nice , don’t say anything at all and , treat people the way you want them to treat you, and we are not here to judge others , just be respectful and responsible for your own actions. I don’t sent me hate mails thank you. Respectly Rosemarie

  37. Please continue to portray REAL people. If I wanted to re-read The Stepford Wives, I could find it at the library. No one is all anything. But at least you write believable characters and you can be proud of yourself for sticking to the Cozie Covenant.

  38. WOW! The woman that ripped you for your characters must have missed coffee for a whole week and felt the need to make someone else accountable for it.

    Please keep doing what you do so well. You bring your characters to life for us with between the pages through the written word. In a few pages you make your characters 3 dimensional and interesting. What fun would it be if everyone played nice and everyone got along? Sure won’t represent “real” life! I agree that there are three things you don’t discuss in depth(as I was taught fro a young age they are religion, politics and someone else’s kids) unless you know before hand that you are going to agree or be ready to duke it out. However, cozy mysteries or any fiction book isn’t the platform for discussions or sides. They are fictional stories around people the author has created for the reading pleasure of the reader. If you are so picky on your fictions, I dare say what do you do with real life non-fictions books? I personally don’t want characters that think exactly like me, but rather those that either entertain, make us laugh or even think and play a real part in the story. In life not all people do we like or even want to be around, but we do have to learn to get along or more to a deserted island because if more is there than you, there will be 2 views. Doesn’t mean one is right and one wrong, but you have to be able to see and listen to them both to get the real story. So goes fiction.

    Forget the naysayers and keep writing your amazing books! In the mean time, isn’t it grand that we live in the U.S.A. where everyone can have an opinion and speak it freely – including fiction writers of cozy mysteries. 🙂
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  39. One or two sentences is not going to ruin a book for me. Everyone has an opinion. Why shouldn’t the characters have one two as long as it is not a soapbox long part of the book. Thank you for sharing. Have a great vacation. God bless you.

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