What’s it really like to be a mystery writer?

I get asked this question and related questions —Why did you become a mystery writer? How did you end up being a mystery writer? — quite a bit. The short answer is that it’s cool, frustrating, exhilarating and infuriating in turns, and sometimes all at the same time. But since I was always better at multiple choice questions than essay, I’ll try to address the question in that way.

1. What’s the coolest thing about being a mystery writer?

  1. Getting to write “murder mystery author” under occupation
  2. Having a commute of 14 steps (from coffee maker to desk chair)
  3. Getting to kill (imaginary) people is fun and cathartic
  4. All of the above

2. What’s been the most surprising thing you’ve experienced since getting published?

  1. Getting fan e-mail and messages!
  2. How much time it is possible to goof around on Facebook
  3. How incredibly kind and generous other mystery authors are
  4. All of the above
source: pixabay

3. What are deadlines really like?

  1. Positive, they keep me on track
  2. Nerve-wracking, worrying if I’ll finish on time
  3. Heart-rending. I’m never quite ready to let my manuscript leave home
  4. Hell
  5. All of the above

4. What are some of the things you get to say that you can’t believe you get to say?

  1. So, I was talking to my agent…
  2. So, I was chatting with author Frances Brody (who, as some of you know, stalked me at Malice)…
  3. So, I blog over at Chicks on the Case…
  4. So, I’m doing a little book tour…
  5. All of the above

5. What is a typical day like as a writer?

  1. There is no “typical” day
  2. I write nineteen and a half hours (at deadline)
  3. I spend nineteen and a half hours on Facebook (not on deadline)
  4. I drink copious amounts of coffee, write blogs, answer e-mail, mail ARCs or prize packages, think about the next book, write my current manuscript
  5. All of the above

6. What are the best, the worst, and the hardest parts of being a mystery author?

  1. The writing
  2. The writing
  3. The writing
  4. All of the above, times three

Even though I loved my previous career as a newspaper reporter, the past 16 months and 24 days since my first book was released (but who’s counting?) have been the best. By the way, my NEXT book, One Fete in the Grave, releases in SEVEN days (I’m counting). And my manuscript for the book after that is due in NINE days or approximately 216 hours (I’m anxiously counting).

What’s your favorite or least favorite part of being a mystery reader/writer? Or what’s cool about your job? Please share in comments.

26 thoughts on “What’s it really like to be a mystery writer?

  1. Vickie,
    This is an awesome way to respond to the title of this post. I love it!
    The most awesome thing I can saw about being a mystery writer in the making? Coming up with off the wall ways to kill someone. Which I happen to do all the time. Even in a real conversation. You should see some of the looks I get from friends when this stuff comes out of my mouth!
    I wonder if when you start talking about agent, people overhearing think you are talking about Agent, as in FBI,CIA, etc. That would be a whole other conversation you could mess with people’s heads about.
    Thanks for the post. It started my day off great, especially since I got teeth extracted yesterday and a partial put in. Oh the pain! I wanna kill my dentist!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Hestia! Ooh, if people think I’m talking about an FBI agent that would be even cooler than my literary agent (Don’t tell her I said so)! Sorry about the tooth extraction — hope you feel better. And a dentist would make the PERFECT victim 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved this, Vickie–and kudos to you for entertaining us in the heat of your deadline and pre-launch prep. My fave part of being a mystery writer is answering “yes” to,
    “Oh, so you’re like Angela Lansbury, then?”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lisa, I’ve never had anyone compare me to Angela Lansbury (even though I have rifled through Jessica Fletcher’s closet)! I defer to your awesomeness!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Vickie, I know that JBF closet site also! Wish the owner would keep it up…It may just be that I live a state away from Cabot Cove.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. You are so funny — this was a great post — you actually made me like multiple choice (I remember whenever talking a M/C test that the “D. All of the above” would make me nuts, after I had chosen “C.” But I love that in your case, the “D” is always right. I also loved Jim Carey’s typing!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love this, Vickie. What I love about being a mystery writer is being able to create my own world and take out my aggression by fictionally killing someone. It is a great release.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Although you didn’t actually answer any of the questions, I’m guessing–based on my experience of being a murder mystery author, as well–is that they are all “d,” except when there is an “e” option.

    Love this post, Vicki! I can’t imagine saying it better! Good luck with the next two books!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Excellent deduction, Leslie — no wonder you’re a mystery author! (And a fab one, at that). And no worries on the spelling. I spell it differently than most (Vickis, Vickys, Vickees, Vikkis)!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love this post, Vickie! In addition to everything you mentioned, one of my favorite things is having carte blanche to ask people lots of nosy questions.

    Liked by 2 people

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