The Chicks may be mystery authors, but we’re mystery fans first and foremost. Though we love our own series, we can’t help but admit that there are a few others that we wish we could have written.
I’d be proud to have written: The Destination Wedding Mysteries by Marla Cooper, because Kelsey makes me laugh—and because at one time I had enough ugly bridesmaids’ dresses in my closet to clothe a small village. The Detective By Day Mysteries by Kellye Garrett, because what could be cooler than a semi-famous actress turned investigator—except maybe the author who created her. The Cajun Country Mysteries by Ellen Byron, because I’d love to live in an atmospheric antebellum mansion turned bed-and-breakfast. And I love Cajun food! The Ladies Smythe and Westin Series by Lisa Q. Mathews, because I’ve reached the age where I’ve begun to fantasize about living in an upscale retirement community. And it would be fun to hang out with resident sleuths Summer and Dorothy at any age. The Lila MacLean Academic Mysteries by Cynthia Kuhn, because I’ve always thought professors are some of the smartest, coolest people in the world. Well, except maybe for my brother. (Actually, he’s pretty cool sometimes). So, any series written by my fellow Chicks—funny, talented ladies, all. Truly.
Interestingly enough, I tend to read a line in a novel and think “Ooh I wish I’d thought of that.” more so than an entire series. However, if I did have to choose, I would say the Dead End Job series by Elaine Viets. I love the concept: “Helen Hawthorne came to South Florida on the run, working dead-end jobs for cash under the table.” Each book focuses on a new job. So far, Helen’s been a telemarketer, a hotel maid, and has even worked at a bridal shop and hair salon among other cool places. There are two things I especially love about this series. First, I love how the author set up the mystery of why Helen is on the run and even teases it out several books. I was so intrigued that I read like five in a month. Second, I love that Helen has character progression as the series goes on. The 15th book came out last year. Though she’s now married and no longer in hiding, Helen works as a private investigator, which still gives her ample opportunity to go undercover in a variety of dead end jobs.
Well, aside from wishing I could steal every one of my Chicks’ series, there are two I’d love to write. I’m addicted to those by Louise Penny, Jacqueline Winspear, G.M. Malliet, and Rhys Bowen. But it’s not theirs I wish I could write because I’m so happy just reading them. If I could pen any mystery series, it would be the late Elizabeth Peters‘ Amelia Peabody and Alyssa Maxwell‘s Gilded Newport series. I love reading both them, of course. But selfishly, I covet these particular series because in order to do research, I’d have to visit Egypt for Elizabeth’s and gorgeous Newport, Rhode Island for Alyssa’s. Yes, I’m that shallow. Why do you think I set a series in my favorite part of America—Cajun Country?
Well, okay, there are a LOT of series I wished I’d written. (And thank you Vickie, for the very kind words about the ones authored by us Chicks—ditto for me!) But I also would have been most happy to have penned Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, and Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series. Since I was about ten, though, I’ve wanted to write Sherlock Holmes. I adore uber-deductive mysteries and puzzles!
It’s hard to imagine writing another series besides my own; after all, writing is such a personal thing that it would be difficult to write someone else’s idea. Even when I’m reading a series I really love, I’m glad someone else wrote it and not me. That way, I get the pleasure of reading it for myself! I will say, though, every time I read a series with a paranormal element, I feel a little twinge of envy, because I’d love to be writing paranormal but haven’t come up with an idea that I’ve really clicked with (yet!). But if I’m being practical, I would say Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone series, because it would be amazing to be published in 28 countries and have millions of fans who, every time they meet another mystery writer, say, “Oh, I love Sue Grafton!” (I’d love to just walk around and be her for one day, just to see what it’s like to be so beloved!)
It’s hard to wrap my head around this question, honestly. There are so many possibilities—including all the Chicks! The list goes on and on. But I’ll pick one for the sake of discussion here: Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries. First of all, I loved the series so much and it would have been a blast to spend author-time with those characters. And second, I was also a huge fan of True Blood, and maybe if I were the author, I could have begged them to write in a little cameo. No speaking lines necessary—basically, I just want to be wardrobed-up as a vampire. Or a fairy. Either one.
Readers, is there any series that you wish you could have written? Drop us a note in the comments below!
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