THE IDEA THAT WOULDN’T DIE!
By E. F. Watkins
My new series of Quinn Matthews Haunting Mysteries grew out of a change in my own reading tastes plus my desire to let nothing I’ve ever written completely go to waste.
Of my other six published books, five are “paranormal thrillers.” You also could call them “horror lite.” They have a fair amount of violence, gore and sex, but more on the level of a mainstream thriller, not hard-core horror; it’s the paranormal element that tends to nudge them into the latter category.
I often market my books in person at conventions and book fairs, which brings me face-to-face with my potential customers. A few act curious about my thrillers but hesitate, saying, “I don’t like anything too scary. I’m more into—y’know—mysteries.”
Over the years, I found my tastes moving in that direction, too. When I wanted to really relax, I preferred a mystery over something more emotionally grueling. (I like being scared, but too much gore and brutality does upset me.) Still, I love writing paranormal, and for a long time mystery readers didn’t seem to want “real” ghosts or other psychic phenomena mixed into their whodunit puzzles.
That situation seemed to be changing, though, so I thought of trying a paranormal mystery. Decades ago, I’d experimented with a haunted-house story that never found a publisher. I’d tried the “Amityville Horror” approach when I would have preferred to go for more psychological shudders. Now I decided to turn it into a first-person, almost-cozy mystery with a heroine based loosely on a younger version of myself. I kept the same title, Dark Music, and launched Quinn Matthews as a fledgling psychic amateur sleuth. This time, the book found a welcoming home with my publisher, Amber Quill Press LLC.
How to follow Quinn’s first adventure with a shivery sequel? I reached back into my dusty files for another plot that never had quite come together, about a goth-rock band being hassled by someone from the lead singer’s past. This time, I’d tell the story from the viewpoint of Quinn, an outsider trying to help the singer figure out of he really was under a curse, as anonymous notes claimed. I came up with a paranormal menace even more dangerous than the ghosts of the first book—and finally made good use of my once-abandoned story line as Hex, Death & Rock’n’Roll.
I’m happy to say that, in addition to selling well among those customers who prefer mysteries to horror, Dark Music received the David G. Sasher Award as Best Mystery at last year’s Deadly Ink Mystery Conference, and Hex was a Finalist in the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. <br>
So writers, keep in mind that you can recycle more than your old newspapers and bottles—you also can repurpose your plots and characters. After all, good idea is a terrible thing to waste!
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/E-F-Watkins/256793337731618
Dark Music on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Music-E-F-Watkins/dp/1611248949/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1425250449&sr=1-1&keywords=dark+music+watkins
Hex, Death & Rock’n’Roll on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hex-Death-Rock-N-Roll/dp/161124854X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1425250586&sr=1-1&keywords=hex%2C+death+%26+Rock%27n%27roll+watkins