HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: It's one of those topics we sometimes don't confront: Why do we write about crime? Is if for justice? Or to solve a puzzle? Or for simply telling a mesmerizing story with high stakes and an important outcome?
Yes, it's all that.But Christina Freeburn has an additional idea. Maybe it's about--well, let the fabulous Christina explain.
Lately it seems that a day doesn’t go by where there isn’t another heartbreaking story about someone’s life ending much too soon because of crime. I live in an area where guns are part of everyday life. West Virginia has a large hunting people, and many families get their yearly supply of meat during hunting season. Gun rights are a huge issue in the states and recently West Virginians had a huge divide over whether or not a person should be required to have a permit to conceal carry.
I fall on the side of believing it’s good to have rules and permits one must know and possess to carry a gun on your person. Some people didn’t understand my stance considering I write mystery. The most often question I’m asked is: If you don’t believe everyone has a right to carry a gun then why do you write about crime? Why do you glorify it?
I try to explain that writing mysteries isn’t the same as glorifying violence but it seems at times that where I “draw the line” is confusing.
The reason I write mysteries is not because I agree with violence, but because I find that traditional mysteries give one a sense of being able to control our lives, and also to stop violence. While a murder is what the plot revolves around, it’s the characters that drive it. Traditional mysteries are less about the actual how of the murder, and more about the why. Murders aren’t glorified as being the answer to a problem, but rather the start of a larger one.
Murder is never the happy ending to the original problem, but the beginning of a horror story the killer never imagined would be the result of their decision. For me, mysteries are about hope and ingenuity. Traditional mysteries show ordinary people stepping up to ensure justice is served in their community. The heroine or hero make a decision to stand up for someone who can’t defend themselves. It’s that character trait that grabbed my interest and never let it go.
It was what made me love reading and writing mysteries. That is where it started for me—reading. I started reading mysteries when I was a child: Encyclopedia Brown, The Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys. The main characters took up a cause to help someone and that was what kept me coming back book after book. It did my heart good to read about people who stepped up for the underdog, the loner, the person some believed didn’t matter.
It gave me hope that the reason so many mysteries had these take charge characters was that there were real people in life who were willing to put themselves in harm’s way to save another. For children who live in an unsafe home environment, mysteries can provide hope, and also show that everyone has abilities within them in that can help defeat the villain. And those feelings and belief never left me.
I started creating stories in my head when I was child, and started writing them down when I was in high school. I tried my hand at different types of stories and always found myself going back to mysteries.
I write mysteries not to glorify violence but to show it doesn’t have to dictate a life and it can be conquered. And to share the place where I first found hope.
HANK: Such a wonderful thought! Have you ever thought about hope as the impetus to mystery?
About FRAMED TO DEATH
Faith Hunter joined the US Army for excitement only to return home to Eden, West Virginia when the adventure she dreamed for turned into a nightmare. Working at her grandmother's scrapbooking store, turns out not quite as boring or quiet as she remembers and wants. Match-making grandmothers. Sexy neighbor. Murder. Sleuthing. Inquisitive homicide detective.
It all adds up to more excitement than Faith--and the skeleton in her cropping tote--can handle.Eden has turned into a hotspot of crime, and Faith finds herself smack dab in the middle of the flare-up. When a favor for a friend links Faith to the synthetic marijuana problem invading her town, no good deed goes unpunished becomes the title of her life. The town accuses the police of favoritism toward her, putting a strain between Faith and Ted, and a new officer is determined to prove Faith’s guilt.
When the criminal is outed, Faith’s relief is short-lived. A fire takes out the store—along with the suspected dealer—and she’s now number one on an officer’s suspect list. Faith sets out to prove her own innocence, and her digging sparks the truth to life. Instead of the truth setting the town free, Faith finds out it might destroy Eden, the friends she holds dear, and smother out her own life.
Christina Freeburn is a full-time writer and focuses on stories with characters, especially heroines, overcoming their pasts and striving to help the down-trodden turn around their lives...sometimes with humor, othert imes serious, but always with heart.
The Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery Series: CROPPED TO DEATH, DESIGNED TO DEATH, EMBELLISHED TO DEATH, and the forthcoming FRAMED TO DEATH is published by Henery Press. The New Beginnings Series includes the books: LOST THEN FOUND, LED ASTRAY, SAFE AND SOUND, LONG GONE and FAR AND AWAY are published by Desert Breeze Publishing. Past books include Parental Source and Generation Without Souls, police procedurals which are now out of print. Her first novel, Parental Source, was a nominee for the 2003 Library of Virginia Literary Award.
She lives in West Virginia with her husband, children, dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid or allergic to felines.