Thursday, May 5, 2016

Avoiding the cliché “Thin Man” syndrome.

So what is the “Thin Man” syndrome? Well it’s a term I employ for books whose lead characters meet the love of their lives in book one and after that, in subsequent books they are a happy couple solving crimes while exchanging clever banter. Do not get me wrong. I love the Thin Man movies but a steady diet of this type of relationship in every book series...well did you ever drink so much honey the thought of it now makes you nauseous? Okay, I did try this once on a bet but that is another post’s issue.

My point is that we all know relationships are a process that requires adjustments over the long haul. Two people do not continually get along with never a cross word or a critical issue arising between them. In my series I try to depict the fact that two people can love each other but encounter obstacles. Some are minor and for one, something quite major. Life as a couple is a bed of roses that has some nasty thorns.

Since my two leads are gay men I felt avoiding the always loving, witty crime solving duo cliché was critical. I am NOT throwing shade on other writers but, in some gay mystery fiction novels, it is all to often the dreaded Nick and Nora syndrome. Happy times with funny lines and don’t they make an adorable pair of investigators. Sorry, I need a tad more salt in my mystery duo. I am not against using witty banter in my books. I just like it interspersed with the reality of being a couple.

A friend, who was reading one of my books, told me that at one point in it he worried I’d made Mark Julian unsympathetic in a certain situation. Honestly I was glad to hear it. Mark is a fully developed guy in my mind. He tries to do good yet, occasionally messes up but by the end he gets the job done. As the case unfolds he may appear unsympathetic right at a given moment but in the end I’m confident the reader will be on his side. This is theme is reflected in his relationship with Detective Vinnie Pasquale too. Mark loves Vinnie.  He sometimes screws it up, at times he does get sexually tempted by another guy but in the end the reader knows Mark will stay committed to his true love. To be fair Vinnie goes through things like this too. My hope is the reader will get invested in them because they behave like we do in our relationships. Life and love are complex, have real pressures. I want to show it and still have my readers rooting for these two to prevail.

So again, while I love Nick and Nora movies, in my books I prefer reality in my portrayal of relationships.

So that’s my two cents. Feel free to email me:

Oh and buy one of my Mark Julian books. I think you will like it. Yep another plugJ

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