Not long ago, mystery author and Sisters in Crime president Sherry Harris wrote a wonderful post decrying a disdainful attitude on the part of some in the mystery community toward the cozy genre. The post hit home for a lot of cozy authors, including yours truly. https://wickedauthors.com/2019/05/09/can-we-just-stop/
Since embarking on a career writing mysteries, I’ve noticed there are organizations and conferences that don’t seem to embrace the cozy. I’m realistic about this. I wouldn’t expect a convention called Thriller Fest to celebrate a book titled Plantation Shudders that features a woebegone basset hound on the cover. Yet to my surprise, ITW, the organization behind the con, has offered enthusiastic support for my series. So it can be done.
What concerns me, though, is the increasing amount of self-consciousness on the part of cozy authors themselves. This has created a subgenre I call the “Cozybut.” As in, “I write cozies but they’re deeper.” “I write cozies, but they’re edgy.” “My books are labeled cozy, but they’re really not.” Readers don’t apologize for reading cozies. Why should we apologize for writing them?
Personally, I’m all in on being a cozy author. I insist that my protagonist’s pet pup appear on every cover of my Cajun Country Mystery series.
Those are a whole lotta basset hound pictures! We love you, late, lamented Lucy.
I asked the publisher of my new Catering Hall Mysteries to include a cat on the cover of the first book, Here Comes the Body.
This is Sphinxy, my friend Kimberly’s late cat who inspired the cat in Here Comes the Body. For some reason, she’ll be black on the book’s cover.
I think the punny title I came up with for the series’ second Catering Hall Mystery – Long Island Iced Tina – is effing brilliant. I’m praying they use it. (See how I used ‘effing’ instead of the actual cuss word? That is so cozy of me.) I’ve written a suspense novel and have an idea for a second one. I also have ideas for three new cozy series I’m super excited about.
I wrote both of these furbabies in to my Cajun Country Mystery series. Pogo is “Jolie.” Our beloved late Wiley is “King Cake.”
Yes, there are subpar cozies. There are also subpar thrillers and suspense novels. But the words “thriller” and “suspense” don’t have the same stink on them as the word “cozy” does.
I say instead of a stink, we think of “cozy” as having the scent of fragrant flowers from Miss Marple’s garden. We own our genre and celebrate it, not only with readers but with skeptical fellow authors. We fight for the respect that the genre, like every mystery genre, deserves.
We let the world know that “cozy” is not a four-letter word.