Karen Ranney aka Katherine Storm
When I started writing Murder by Mortgage, it was a test to see if I could. After nearly twenty years of writing historical romance, did I even have a contemporary voice anymore? The first books I wrote were contemporaries, but I put them in the closet when my historical romances sold.
I write what I like to read, which is a good rule for any writer, I think. I love mysteries, especially character driven mysteries, because people are always more important to me than plot.
One day, I was driving through an area of San Antonio renowned for its Victorian homes. I wondered about the people who lived in one particular house. As I sat at the light, Jennifer Roberts was born, and the plot to Murder by Mortgage solidified.
Jennifer was struggling to cope with life. Her daughter’s death, eight months ago, had left her feeling shattered and guilty. Her best friend, Evelyn, was a link to the world outside her house. But one horrible day, someone murdered Evelyn. Paradoxically, it was Evelyn’s death that pulled Jennifer out of the fog and introduced her to life again.
Murder by Mortgage isn’t a light and fluffy mystery, but one centering around Jennifer’s struggles to cope with life and the murder of her best friend. At the end of the book, Jennifer began to function, assert herself, and realize that she could be happy again, despite the past. (I think that’s a recurring theme in my writing.)
When I finished writing Murder by Mortgage, I realized that, in a great many ways, writing a mystery is similar to writing romance.
I love happy endings.
I love the full circle feeling of a good book. I love that the guy gets the girl, the girl gets the guy, and both of them get a happy ever after. I love the hint of possibilities. I love that people can focus on joy.
Maybe it’s the Pollyanna in me.
To my delight, I discovered that mysteries are similar in a reader’s expectations.
The bad guy has to be punished.
The good guy must be a hero.
Justice must triumph.
In other words, a happy ever after.
So, I haven’t strayed too far from my roots after all.
My alter ego name is Katherine Storm, but I’m really Karen Ranney, and I’ve been published since 1995 in historical romance, hitting the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.
I hope you get a chance to read Murder by Mortgage, available on Kindle, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble, and let me know what you think.
KAREN HAS GRACIOUSLY OFFERED A KINDLE EDITION OF MURDER BY MORTGAGE AND HIS GRACE AND FAVOR. WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN AT RANDOM FROM MEANINGFUL COMMENTS ON 5-2-11 AND ANNOUNCED THAT EVENING EST. NO KINDLE? NO PROBLEM. THEY HAVE AN APP YOU CAN DOWNLOAD.