Eric Mayer

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What We Write
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Mary has a couple of essays out today that help explain our approach to writing. In her monthly blog entry for Poisoned Pen Press she lists Fourteen Things I Have Learnt By Reading Golden Age Mysteries .

Our John the Lord Chamberlain mysteries owe a lot to the classic mysteries of the early part of the twentieth century, exemplified by authors like Agatha Christie and John Dickson Carr. We are less interested in action and suspense than in the intellectual side of things -- the investigation, piecing the clues together. I suppose that makes them old fashioned but we prefer to write what we like best.

Over at Jenny Milchman's blog, Suspense Your Disbelief, Mary has a piece about our use of magic in the series and a real historical villain, who purportedly employed magic, whom we used for fictional purposes. This bloodthirsty fellow was a notorious Prefect of Constantinople nicknamed "the Gourd." Actually, if I recall correctly, the translators rendered his nickname as "the Pumpkin" which didn't seem quite right to us since there weren't any pumpkins in that part of the world during that era.

It goes without saying that we both love history and so we choose to write historicals. Sadly, many people today find history boring. Yes, hard to believe -- from my point of view -- but true. Also, we are both attracted to hints of the supernatural so most of our stuff contains, not outright fantasy, but a bit of what Mary likes to call "woo woo."

I'm not sure any of these tendencies are wise from a commercial point of view but to me, even more important than "write what you know" is write what you like.

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