Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Defending Daniel

My latest Molly Murphy mystery, The Family Way, has been out for a month now and I've been gettins some flak about Daniel and the high handed way he behaves toward Molly. I agree, I wouldn't want to be married to him and be ordered around like that....

however, this is a historical novel. I'm writing about 1905, a time when women had no rights. They could not vote. Not be heard as a voice in the community. In the state of New York, where my stories take place, they could not own property, their husbands could beat them with a stick no thicker around than their thumb (hence the rule of thumb. Who knew?) AND it only took the husband plus one doctor to have them certified as insane and committed to an asylum.

The woman was at the mercy of her husband in all ways. No wonder Molly thought long and hard before agreeing to marry a man she knew she loved. He loves her too, which makes it all right. For a man of his time he is quite understanding, and when there is hitting involved it is interesting to see who does the hitting.

But one doesn't need to go too far back to see the same blueprint for marriage. Look at all those TV shows from the 1950s. I Love Lucy, father Knows Best, Leave It To Beaver. Mom wore the apron, baked the cookies and left the decisions to the dad. Lucy is terrified if she bought a new hat without Ricky's permission.

It is only when women come into the workplace that the playing field evens out. With money comes power. So don't be too hard on Daniel. In the end he really wants to protect Molly, and being a sleuth is really a silly idea for a woman, isn't it? Not that it will ever stop her...
The next book is written and being sent to the publisher this week. it's called City of Darkness and Light and it takes place in Paris. And yes, Molly is again called upon to do a spot of detecting.

This week i'm off to Malice Domestic, the convention in Bethesda, MD celebrating the traditional mystery, and again I'm nominated for an Agatha Award (making my 11th nomination). After that it's over to England for a reunion of college friends and then on to Istanbul for...for much needed R and R.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

When real life intrudes on fiction.

This week I had planned to do a final polish on my latest book, City of Darkness and Light. And then life intervenes...one horrible tragedy after another, terrorism, explosions, senseless deaths.
When things like this happen I find myself wondering about the books I write. My stories all involve small tragedies--at least one murder, lives torn apart, families devastated. And these are written for entertainment, clever clues, witty detectives, scary moments, suspense.

 We detach ourselves from the basic fact that killing another human being is the worst thing that a human can do. So I'm wondering if what I am doing is morally wrong, whether I am in any way glorifying killing and death.

I don't think this is true. I think I always write with true sympathy for those who have lost a loved one. I don't take death lightly. Some of my books, especially Evans Gate, have examined how the loss of a loved one tears a family apart. And in those of my books that are comedies, I never take the actual murder lightly.

And I know that people find our books comforting at such times because we try to make sense of the senseless. We find the murderer. We bring him or her to justice. We bring the closure that doesn't often happen in real life.  I'll get back to those final re-writes now.

Hug your loved ones today and let them know how much they mean to you.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Thoughts on the Boston marathon tragedy.

I was going to write a light, flippant piece today when I turned on the TV and saw the horrific news from Boston. My first thought was that four of my Jungle Red friends live in Boston--one of them a TV reporter who might well hae been at the scene. I was relieved to hear my friends were safe but there was still no way I could think of anything but this senseless tragedy.

So I reverted to kindergarten and to that old adage--everything I needed I learned in Kindergarten. And I'm thinking how much better the world would be if we all followed the kindergarten rules:

1.Treat everybody the way you want to be treated.  Not everybody will look like you or think like you. Accept their differences and be kind to them anyway.

2. Sharing is a good idea. We live in a wonderful, bountiful world. If nobody was too greedy, if everyone shared, there would be enough for everybody.

3.Be a helper, like all those brave souls who rushed toward the bomb blasts, not away from them.

4. Hug those you love and tell them every day how much they mean to you.

My heart goes out to the people of Boston, to marathoners everywhere and especially to those who lost a loved one today, or were injured. Bombing is the most senseless, cowardly act in all the world. There is nothing NOTHING brave or noble about killing innocent people. If you disagree with my country get into a tank and fight my army, man to man. Or better still, educate yourself and find out all that is good and great about America and try to emulate it.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Ah, Spring!

I realize I've been remiss about blogging recently, but I do have good excuses...finishing the first draft of the new Molly book, tentatively called City of Darkness and Light. Oh, and a little thing called TAX. I worked on it all week and have finally faced up to the fact that I owe money, however hard I try.

So with both things now out of the way I can finally acknowledge that it's Spring and I should be leaping around, enjoying myself. My front garden looks as good as it ever will, being a steeply sloping hillside, and the jasime and pride of Madeira are blooming like crazy at the back, and the birds are all chirping happily.

And deep within me a little voice is whispering "Spring cleaning". Those who know me can attest that I do not do housework from choice, but I do like the end result when all is clean and gleaming. So I may just attack some windows.... I only say may....

I should also attack the garden, but it's such an overwhelming task that I get too discouraged. It's not as if I have neat little flower beds. I am on a hill, steep up and steep down and no soil to speak of and hundreds of deer and rabbits waiting to munch on any plant I put in. So I content myself with the view from my balcony. if you want to know what that looks like, go to my Facebook page and look at the header (www.Facebook.com/RhysBowenAuthor).

Do you have any spring rituals? Cleaning, planting, new hats, throwing out old clothes?