Is it a crime novel? By guest author Nancy Jardine
Today, my friend and fellow author, Nancy Jardine stops by my blog to discuss her books. Thank you, Nancy. Tell us about your work.
I start with a very broad question because you write crime thriller novels, Val, but it’s one which I’ve been asked more than once while selling my novels at Book Fairs, Craft Fairs and events like Highland Games up in North East Scotland. Potential customers have asked me – What are your novels about? I give them an initial overview that I write Historical Fiction; Contemporary Mystery/ Thrillers and Time Travel Historical. I then say that although my novels would not fully fit the ‘Crime’ genre on Amazon they do have crime in them to varying degrees. Though, perhaps they’re not the crime novels they are looking for.
My first century A.D. historical Celtic Fervour Series isn’t a series of whodunits set in northern Roman Britain (roughly from Yorkshire northwards) but they do have battle scenes where the intent is effectively genocide on the part of the Roman generals who invaded the north. Back then, it was bow to the dictates of Rome or they annihilated any Iron Age tribes who resisted them. That could be said to be very big crime indeed but it’s not what would normally be in a reader’s mind who is interested in ‘police detective led procedural’ crime. Killing one warrior or killing many, in battle, isn’t treated the same as murder would be in a detective novel, yet it is premeditated crime of sorts. Are the police involved? No, but they weren’t invented in Roman Britain! In my historical novels there are also situations of retaliation on the part of the invaded ‘Celts’ when they raid Roman convoys and steal the goods; and when the ‘Celts’ organise ambushes of Roman patrols and kill the auxiliary escorts, but is that crime? There are reports of rape and the death of innocent children in the novels but does that make my story fit the crime genre?
If someone picks up a copy of my mystery novels and reads the blurb they can see that although my mystery thriller Topaz Eyes wouldn’t be classified as a crime novel it does have strong criminal elements. There’s acquisition of goods (jewellery) by devious means; there’s intent to kill; there’s stalking with intent to murder; there’s theft: there’s murder; and there’s accidental death during an aggravated criminal situation – yet my story Topaz Eyes is not considered to be a crime novel because it is primarily a mystery thriller. Are the police involved? Yes, in more than one city but is it a crime novel? Errr…not quite. Topaz Eyes has also been called a treasure hunt mystery; a romantic mystery suspense that ‘weaves a plot of intrigue across Europe’; ‘A velvety trip packed full of history, mystery and suspense’ and many other wonderful 5* comments. But it’s not a crime novel.
What about my other mysteries published by Crooked Cat Books? Well, funnily enough they also have crime in them but again not the type that gets them classified as crime novels.
Monogamy Twist is a fairly simple mystery that centres on a plot that’s a combination of a quirky Dickensian-style bequest of a dilapidated Yorkshire mansion house and a somewhat shady ancestral tree. There’s fraud; there’s intended deception and possibly even a touch of benign coercion- all of which might court prosecution today- but essentially it’s a slightly humorous ancestral romantic mystery. Are the police involved? No, but the main female character has to be an amateur sleuth to solve the mystery.
Take Me Now is what I call my ‘Corporate Sabotage’ mystery so yes, there’s definitely crime involved but it’s a light-hearted, fun romantic comedy mystery. There’s intent to cause bodily harm; there’s malicious and wilful damage to property and people; there’s attempted murder- though, again it isn’t called a crime novel. Are the police involved? Yes, they are. Is there an amateur detective involved? Yes, but she’s also one of the main characters in the romance.
My point in all of this seems to be it’s actually quite hard to write a novel without any kind of crime in it! The next time I sell my books at a Fair of any kind perhaps I should get a large pop up banner to proclaim – I’m not actually a crime author but… with a lot of *wink, Winks* and smiley faces.
Stop Press – My Celtic Fervour Series published by Crooked Cat Books is no longer available after the end of February 2018 but look out for new versions later in the spring! My Crooked Cat Books contemporary mysteries are definitely available, easily seen via my author page below.
Nancy Jardine regularly looks after her grandchildren and sometimes her garden can look quite creative. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, the Scottish Association of Writers, the Federation of Writers Scotland and the Historical Novel Society. She’s published by Crooked Cat Books and has delved into self publishing.
You can find her at these places:
Amazon Author page http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere