Friday, June 28, 2013

Tour Stop | Broken Strings by Nancy Means Wright

Book Title: Broken Strings
Author: Nancy Means Wright
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: GMTA Publishing, LLC
Presented by: As You Wish Tours 

Let the Character Shape the Plot

Conflict, suspense, humor, plot, setting, point of view, juicy suspects, pain-in-the-butt adversaries and great writing—all these elements enter the mix for a first class mystery. But the most important of these, I insist, is character. Create a charismatic, dynamic character as protagonist, let the story unfold through his or her flaw, quirk or passion, and you’re off to a flying start! 
In Sophocles’ fifth century B.C.’s Oedipus the King, one of our earliest “mysteries,” it’s the latter’s hubris and his blind passion to find a killer that leads him to question folk, one by one: Come here…You must answer everything I ask! Until he discovers that he himself killed his father and slept with his mother—wow! Centuries later, in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, it’s Montresor’s obsessive desire for revenge—since naïve Fortunato “ventured on insult”—that leads the hapless victim down into the damp bowels of the family vaults and doesn’t let go until the last trembly jingle of bells. And no detectives in the story—just the two unforgettable characters. Whew!

In 1868, Wilkie Collins deliberately set out in his novels, especially The Moonstone (read it!), to let his characters “direct the course” of events. And more recently, vibrant characters lead the way in Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories, in which a reluctant detective Jackson Brodie tries to solve three old murders. The nonlinear plot is spun through several points of view, and the story leaps in and out of time and the characters’ minds. To me the dead bodies are less significant than the three-dimensional characters whom she portrays with humor, humanity, and surprise. A brilliantly written subversion of the detective-thriller!

As for this humble writer, much of what happens in my mysteries stems from the volatile nature of my sleuths. The protagonist of my historical novels is 18th-century Mary Wollstonecraft, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (her daughter wrote Frankenstein). A conflicted woman who wanted “to live independent or not at all” but who longed for a grand romantic passion, she was both impulsive and rebellious. She once kidnapped her sister from an abusive husband, and later went to revolutionary Paris as a war correspondent.
And in Broken Strings, my sleuth Fay Hubbard is thrown into one situation after the next through her impulses, her anger at an injustice, and her passion for marionettes. So I say: choose a flawed but passionate character, and let the rumpus begin!

Nancy Means Wright


When puppeteer Marion collapses during a performance of Sleeping Beauty, her friend Fay Hubbard promises to carry on. But Fay already has her hands full with three demanding foster children, Apple and Beets, who have a fractious jailbird father—and sixteen-year-old Chance, who has a crush on a much older guy in a band called Ghouls. And now Marion’s husband Cedric seems more interested in a drop-dead-gorgeous French teacher than in any string puppets. And who is the mysterious Skull-man who warns of death if the show goes on with one of Marion’s offbeat endings? When an autopsy reveals that Marion had swallowed a dose of deadly crushed yew—and a friend finds her sister dangling from a rod like a marionette, a shocked Fay goes after the killer.

Nancy Means Wright has published 17 books, including 6 contemporary mysteries from St Martin’s Press and two historical novels featuring 18th-century Mary Wollstonecraft (Perseverance Press). Her two most recent books are the mystery Broken Strings (GMTA publishing) and Walking into the Wild, an historical novel for tweens (LLDreamspell). Her children’s mysteries have received an Agatha Award and Agatha nomination. Nancy lives in Middlebury with her spouse and two Maine Coon cats.


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1 comment:

  1. A million thanks to Julia for a terrific blog tour for my mystery, Broken Strings. And to Kitty Bullard for her unending efforts to bring our books, including mine, into the world. Not an easy job with so many writers pounding on the reader's door! Thanks, too, to the webmaster of this site. Truly gorgeous.
    And I'm grateful to everyone who took a chance on a free copy of Broken Strings!