Why do I write mysteries?

Today’s guest post is by Amy M. Bennett, author of the Black Horse Campground mystery series

One piece of advice most writers are given is to “write what you know”. Understandably, this creates problems when one writes murder mysteries.

I write what I love, and I love mysteries! Since I was young, I’ve always been a huge fan of the mystery genre. I graduated from The Three Investigators and Nancy Drew mysteries to Agatha Christie mysteries while I was in junior high. I became a huge fan of Mary Higgins Clark’s romantic suspense novels as a young adult and that was when I learned something: almost every genre has an element of mystery in it.

Think about it. In romances, there is always the question of whether or not the lovers get together and what it is that’s keeping them apart. In historical novels, there is usually some family secret, hidden in the characters’ pasts that propels the story and drives the characters’ motivations for what they do. In almost every story, there is a big “Why?”

I’ve always wanted to learn the “why” of many things. I actually enjoyed school and always utilized the “suggested reading” lists teachers gave (like I needed an excuse to read!) because I always wanted to find out the “why” of whatever we were taught. I still love to research anything that catches my interest and learn more even. I am an ardent advocate of my late father’s motto: “Don’t be afraid to learn something you don’t need to know” (even if that sometimes creates problems for my characters!)

In my Black Horse Campground mysteries, murder isn’t the only mystery that needs to be resolved. Family secrets and love triangles present other “who”s and “why”s. In the end, it’s simply caring about the characters and wanting to know what happens next!

Here’s a blurb about my latest Black Horse Campground book, “A Summer to Remember”:

It’s been a memorable year at the Black Horse Campground. But someone wants certain things forgotten….

After Bonney Police detective J.D. Wilder wraps up three cold-case murders, believing that the murderer was his former partner, he tries to focus on his personal life in his new hometown and his budding relationship with Corrie Black, owner of the Black Horse Campground.

When he receives information that proves his former partner wasn’t the murderer, the case is reopened with the knowledge and urgency that the killer is poised to strike again. But who held a grudge against the three cold-case victims… and who is that person’s next target? With the help of Bonney County Sheriff Rick Sutton, J.D. probes the memories of several Bonney residents who knew the victims and begins to make connections.

Then another death occurs and while J.D. and Rick are investigating, Corrie is attacked. The attacker and the cold-case murderer could be the same person, but Corrie’s condition is critical and she’s lost her memories of the entire previous year… including the identity of her attacker and even having met J.D. Will she survive long enough to remember what happened? Or will she end up as a memory and the murderer gets away once again?

Amy Bennett’s debut mystery novel, End of the Road, started as a National Novel Writing Month project in 2009.  It went on to win the 2012 Dark Oak Mystery Contest and launched the Black Horse Campground mystery series, followed by No Lifeguard on Duty, No Vacancy, and At the Cross Road. A Summer to Remember is the fifth book in the series.

When not sitting at the laptop actively writing, she works full-time at Walmart of Alamogordo, New Mexico (not too far down the road from fictional Bonney County) as a cake decorator and part-time at Noisy Water Winery in Ruidoso (where you can find some of the best wines in the state of New Mexico, including Jo Mamma’s White!)  She lives with her husband and son in a small town halfway between Alamogordo and Ruidoso.  Visit her website at www.amymbennettbooks.com and The Back Deck Blog at http://amymbennettbooks.blogspot.com


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