by Guest Blogger Evelyn David
We love mysteries. It's why we got into writing them in the first place. And we confess we love a nice touch of romance in our whodunnits because, well, why not? But here's what we don't like, be it in mysteries, television, or for that matter, real life. We hate, and yes that's a strong word, but we hate the concept that the only interesting part of a relationship is the chase.
Yep, we love good, crisp, flirty banter in a relationship. Think Tracy and Hepburn, Cary Grant and just about any actress, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Both the man and woman are smart, sassy, and instantly attracted and immediately repelled by the other. The build-up of a relationship captures our imagination, teaches us about the characters, and most of all, it's fun. But what happens next?
All too often writers drag out this stage of a relationship ad nauseum. The "will they-won't they" grows stale after a few years or a few books. At some point, it's not "will they-won't they," but "who cares." If the couple can't commit to each other and also can't quit each other, that tells us something about their emotional maturity. At some point, the unresolved adolescent longing in a 30-something man or woman isn't attractive, it's worrisome.
Many fiction writers have bought lock, stock, and barrel into the Moonlighting Curse. The underlying premise of this myth is that the hugely popular television show Moonlighting tanked immediately upon the coupling of protagonists Dave and Maddie. One kiss, after two years of protracted verbal foreplay, and the show died. The twosome lost all ability to form clever quips; doomed to be assigned to the subset of boring married couples who sleep in separate bedrooms. Who'd want to watch that?
In a very thoughtful essay, Laura Akers points out that it's really an indictment of writers that they are stuck in the junior high school paradigm of romantic relationships. "…the idea that there is no one capable of producing a series [or book] in which two people solve crimes, fall in love, move in, argue about where to spend Thanksgiving, and all the other things that we, as human beings, not only experience but pursue almost above all else, is patently ridiculous. Are all…writers single and have never learned that that first (real) kiss is only the beginning of the best part of what it is to be in love, and in a relationship? That a life together--especially one punctuated by gun fights, serial killers’ riddles, and the like—is the real adventure? Can it really be that hard to make an actual relationship both genuine and compelling?"
And so we have accepted the challenge of defeating the Moonlighting Curse with our Brianna Sullivan Mysteries and the story of our psychic heroine Brianna and her small town police detective Cooper Jackson. We've decided that we want to write about grownups in our mysteries. The focus is still on the who- and why-dunnit, but their relationship moves forward with each book. The mystery's the thing, but the romance is real. We're not talking about Fifty Shades of Grey kind of real. Our mysteries are cozies and sex and violence take place off-the-page. But we are determined that our couples take charge of their romantic lives as fearlessly as they do their sleuthing. No hocus-pocus involved, but poof, the Moonlighting Curse is broken.
Evelyn David is the pseudonym for Marian Edelman Borden and Rhonda Dossett. Marian lives in New York and is the author of eleven nonfiction books on a wide variety of topics ranging from veterans benefits to playgroups for toddlers! Rhonda lives in Muskogee, Oklahoma, is the director of the coal program for the state, and in her spare time enjoys imagining and writing funny, scary mysteries. Marian and Rhonda write their mystery series via the internet. While many fans who attend mystery conventions have now chatted with both halves of Evelyn David, Marian and Rhonda have yet to meet in person.
Please check out Evelyn's website at www.evelyndavid.com for information about Evelyn David's appearance schedule and writing projects.