Monday, April 30, 2007

Writing A Chick-Lit Mystery

I’m honored to be a guest blogger at Donna’s today. She’s a talented romance writer! I haven’t known her very long, but when she gave me positive feedback on my contest book excerpt, I knew she was cool. LOL I’m impressed she’s published by both Harlequin and Samhain. One of my goals is to get a contract from Harlequin. Then it was great to learn we both like reading books by Debbie Macomber and LaVyrle Spencer. I enjoy reading Donna’s posts, but I’m glad she’s taking a break. Her tendonitis needs a chance to heal.

Okay, here goes.

Do you like reading murder mysteries? Are you able to correctly guess who the murderer is? A lot of readers have told me how they have enjoyed reading A FIERY SECRET, and said they never guessed the murderer. Although it’s been fun to hear who they thought did it and why, I also felt immense relief. Before my chick-lit mystery released, I had negative thoughts that I didn’t do my job well enough writing the mystery part of the book. I was afraid that the readers would guess the murderer too soon. I’m sure my lack of confidence in myself was caused by it being my first attempt at writing a mystery.

The following is what I wanted to accomplish when I wrote this book:

I felt it was important to mislead the reader without actually lying to her or him.

I didn’t want the mystery story to become tedious, so I brought humor to it.

I wanted to keep the readers guessing throughout the book. To have them thinking a lot about the suspects, the character Catherine made a list of people who had reasons to want her friend Max dead. As she learned more facts, she added details to each person’s background and possible motives.

The character I chose to be the murderer had to be believable, but at the same time a bit of a shock to the reader.

To connect with the reader on an emotional level, I didn’t want the mystery of who killed Max to dominate the story. Catherine needed to have more in her life than just investigating. I thought the romantic aspect made Catherine more realistic. Plus I also wanted to write chick lit so decided it’d be fun to combine the two genres.

In the real world, we all have unique personalities and handicaps. The handicaps might be physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental. I wanted to show the strength of a secondary character with a disability so the character Miranda was born with Down syndrome.

Even though I received favorable responses to my book from readers with requests to write more mysteries, I still was in a panic mode about what the reviewers would say. Here is a little bit from the reviewers’ comments:

“Author Diane Craver has a way with mystery. This enchanting Chick Lit voiced novel will have you suspecting just about everyone when it comes down to just who killed the janitor?” JoAnn Gonger, Gotta Write Network

“Diane Craver sure knows how to write mystery yet add a tinge of romance to it. Diane Craver did a beautiful job with this book and I hope to read more of her books.” Lena C., Fallen Angel Reviews

“’s not the classic chick-lit book. It has more depth than that…” Janet Davies, Once Upon A Romance

“A murder mystery and secrets carried for years make this an enjoyable read. The characters grew up together and think they know all about each other, but soon find out that things aren't what they seem. Interesting secondary characters, including Catherine's godson and her mentally challenged friend, and a surprise ending make this a well- rounded story.” Cindy Himler, Romantic Times

Because of what they said, I think I’ll write another Catherine Steel mystery!

If you leave a comment, your name will be entered in a drawing for a free download of A FIERY SECRET. I'll post the winner here in the comments tomorrow morning!

If you’d like to read an excerpt of A FIERY SECRET, go to: and a different excerpt is at:

Thanks and have a terrific Monday!


  1. You certainly set yourself a tall order in regards to all of the goals that you wanted to reach with your book. If the reviews snippets are anything to go by, you managed it all just fine. Congrats!

  2. Anonymous12:05 p.m.

    Thanks for the congrats! I was pretty stressed out before I received my reviews, but I did enjoy writing A Fiery Secret.

  3. Hey Diane! How are you! I'm at work but had to chime in. You know I cannot wait to read A Fiery Secret! Love good murder mysteries. Hope you have a great day today. I'll try to check back later if I can but Mondays are so Talk to you soon.

  4. Anonymous12:54 p.m.

    Sorry you are at work, Sherry. I know you'd rather be reading. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Anonymous11:26 p.m.

    I love Diane's books - they pack a big emotional punch and the characters are unforgettable.

  6. Anonymous12:01 a.m.

    Thanks Linda! I'm glad you enjoyed my books and characters.

  7. Anonymous6:59 a.m.

    Good Morning,
    Since Linda already read A FIERY SECRET, I'll give a free download to both little lamb lost and to Sherry. Let me know which format you'd like. Email me at:

    Thanks for taking the time to leave comments!