Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Locked Room Mystery

Perhaps I'm the most puzzling of the detectives here, the noir-ish gumshoe with a cheap rented office, a frosted glass door, and prickly disposition. The guy who's maybe on the case because he has to be, not because he wants to be. The enigma. You see, I never set out to write mysteries. Don't really know that much about the rules. I make it a point NOT to know.

That way, when I break 'em, I've got an excuse...

I've written across many genres, everything from romantic comedy, to bone-chilling horror. I like good stories. Period. I hope I've written a few. I start with a scenario first, character second, and let the experts worry about what to call it. So, you can imagine how troubling it was to me when I got the idea for my latest novel, WHISPERTOWN  (HarperCollins, Summer 2013).

I knew I wanted to write about how being part of a WITSEC (that's Witness Protection for those who don't know) family affects a teenage boy. I also knew I wanted him to solve a murder. Right away, that sort of limited my options.

What I knew about the genre pretty much amounted to this: keep 'em guessing. I'd read some Hardy Boys growing up, and watched plenty of Scooby-Doo (okay, it was A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, don't get technical on me), but was far from a scholar on the mysteries. Was a novice, like myself, ALLOWED to write one? Maybe not. I'm sure there are some who'd say DEFINITELY not.

Remember when I said I've got an excuse for breaking the rules? Ignorance is bliss, my friends. I plowed forward.

I didn't exactly FALL into the genre. I'm more like a trespasser. Or a squatter, since I've decided to stay.  I've fallen in love with mysteries. And I plan to write more. WHISPERTOWN is meant to be the first in a series, so maybe I ought to educate myself on the rules and conventions...

Or not. There's a certain appeal to flying by the seat of your pants. I think I'll do it awhile longer.

For the purists out there, you're probably wondering how I did it? How can I possibly get away with such a heinous crime?

Well, I'm sort of like a Locked Room Mystery. The hardest to solve. No easy answers.

I like it that way.


Lamar "L. R." Giles writes for adults and teens. Penning everything from epic fantasy to noir thrillers, he's never met a genre he didn't like. His debut YA mystery WHISPERTOWN is about a teen in witness protection who investigates his best friend's murder and stumbles on a dark conspiracy that leads back to his own father. It will be published in Summer, 2013 by HarperCollins. He resides in Virginia with his wife and is represented by Jamie Weiss Chilton of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.


  1. I love hearing about mystery writers who buck the system and fly by the seat of their pants! Can't wait for the sequel to Whispertown!

  2. I, for one, am glad you got away with the crime! This is a great post and reminder that taking risks and breaking rules is what makes writing fun.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...