Laina Turner shares why she enjoys killing off her characters.
I like to kill people.
I don’t mean that literally (though at times there are people I would like to literally kill but that’s a whole different blog post) I’m not a murderer. I promise I don’t have bodies buried in my backyard, at least not that I know of. It just seems that in my writing, I like to kill people. Someone ends up dead in each book.
When I decided to become a serious writer, after years of wanting to but never actually finishing anything, I had this plan of writing romance. As a kid, I snuck my grandmother’s Harlequin Romances and my mothers Janet Daily books to read. Even thought I only understood half of what was happening, I fell in love with the stories and decided at that point I wanted to be a writer.
I toyed with writing all my life but never finished anything. The normal head trash and doubting thoughts that many of us authors experience kept me from pursuing my dream. I just didn’t believe I could really do it. However, when I reached my late 30s, I decided life was too short not to do what you love in life and vowed to start and finish a novel.
The book I started writing, with the intention of keeping at it until I typed The End (which I did, Stilettos & Scoundrels), was supposed to be a romance. Like the ones I read when growing up. Presley Thurman, the main character, was to go back home for work-related reasons, and meet an old high school flame. Then after much love, attraction, drama, agony, and of course a good dose of humor they would discover they had never stopped loving each other, get together, and live happily ever after. Yeah, that’s not exactly what happened.
Somewhere along the way someone got killed and I was halfway through having Presley solve the murder before I realized I was no longer writing a romance novel but rather a cozy mystery. How the heck did that happen, I kept thinking to myself. I know it might seem odd that I didn’t know what I was going to write but my writing style it to start with a general idea and then just sit down and write. What happens I usually only know right before I put it on paper and things often do not work out the way I planned.
I decide to go with the flow and if Stilettos was to be a mystery so be it. I would just write another book that was a romance. When I finally started my next series, The Trixie Pristine series, and my intent was to make it a romance. Once again someone was murdered and Trixie and friends were well on their way to solving it before I realized I once again was off track to my original intent.
Then I decided to just give in to my natural tendencies and for the last few years have been writing cozy mysteries. I love to read them and love to write them so I am happy with the path that chose me.
However, I can’t help but wonder what it is about my mind that makes me want to kill people even when I don’t plan to? Is it pent of anger or frustration? Do I have some subconscious dark side that comes out in my killing of fictional people? I like to think that I am relatively normal but maybe I’m not. Notice I said relatively. I think at some level all us authors are a little unbalanced.
Whatever the reason I do love what I write. I have the best job in the world.
In this cozy mystery short story prequel, Trixie and her friends Berklie and Sophie, considered themselves typical thirty-something females until someone turned up murdered in their newly opened bookstore/wine bar. They thought they would be living out their dream in their new shop, not trying to catch a killer. Who killed Sylvia and why? Or was one of them the intended target?
As a child Laina Turner thought she would either be a truck driver (thanks to Jerry Reed in Smokey and the Bandit) or work at Taco Bell (her favourite restaurant as a child). As she grew older she realised her talents lay in academics and business and for the last several years has been a business consultant and college professor where she uses the analytical side of her brain and not the side that makes up stories. Through all her career choices she has continued to have a passion for writing. Taking the plunge in 2010 to write books that she actually lets people read, she has worked her way up to having 5 fans (maybe 6 now). Her blog, The Art Of Living Fabulously, was launched to share the daily fun in the life of a Real Housewife of the Midwest along with the musing of other fabulous ladies.