As a mystery writer, I deal with murder every day, typing away at my laptop, dreaming up intricate motives and researching true crimes. I don’t write about the actual process of killing someone. My murders take place “off screen.” They’re discovered after the fact.
For me, the fun of writing mysteries is the intellectual challenge of creating a compelling psychology and interesting motives for the killer, as well as developing an empathetic personality and causative circumstances for the victim. And of course, inventing a protagonist to cleverly sort through the red herrings and complexities.
Mystery is one of the most popular genres among readers. It’s fun to be scared when you know you’re safe, hence the popularity of roller coasters, sky diving and zip lining. I’ve loved mysteries since I was old enough to read and today my Kindle holds more mystery novels than any other genre.
So, all in all, murders have existed in the abstract to me for a long time. Until today. This morning I learned that the granddaughter of one of my good friends was murdered this week. A cruel, unnecessary and unforgivable death. Close up, murder isn’t fun. It’s not something to enjoy like a puzzle. It’s the reality of a life taken.
My heart is broken for my friend and her family. I’ll never feel distanced from murder again. Behind each victim are people who will love and miss them forever. Something I won’t forget as I write.