Friday, July 5, 2019
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS: Mainly by Moonlight (Bedknobs and Broomsticks 1)
So here we go, starting with Mainly by Moonlight.
It's probably not a surprise that I have a great fondness for witches and witchcraft. They make the occasional appearance in my stories (Strange Fortune, The Hell You Say, etc.) but for a long time I've wanted to make a witch my actual protagonist.
Like a lot of my readers, I grew up watching Bewitched, but even as a kid I had a couple of problems with it. For one, it was a comedy, and believe it or not, I pretty much hate comedy. I know, right? I mean, obviously humor figures a lot in my books--as well as in my real life interactions--I prefer my characters to have a sense of humor (in fact, keeping their sense of humor toned down is more the issue), there are plenty of comedy movies I love, but TV comedy--sit coms and the like--have never been my thing. I like mysteries, I like murder. That's really pretty much it for me. I like it in my reading and in my viewing.
But the bigger problem with Bewitched is Darrin. Darrin is such a dolt. Now that I'm an adult, I can see he had his good qualities, but yeesh. Why on earth would Sam marry someone like that? Let alone be SO besotted? (an echo of Cosmo's adoration of John perhaps?) Darrin was such a stick figure that I only noticed a couple of years ago that at some point they changed the original actor out for a clone. (But actually, that's okay--for the record, I much prefer changing an actor to killing a character off.)
Anyway, I've wanted to do a romantic witch mystery (with comedic elements) for some time, but my fantasy and spec fiction don't tend to do as well as my contemporary mystery and crime stuff, so the question was one of timing. When is a good time to write a trilogy (series?) that might be entirely for own amusement?
Well, two things made me feel like now was a good time: the popularity of witches in mainstream mystery (even cozy mystery) AND my need to write something new. Something that didn't involve federal agents (as much as I love federal agents--and, hey, I'll be starting a new FBI trilogy next year!) or cops or writers/artists/teachers/librarians who sideline as amateur sleuths.
But a police commissioner? Yes. A bookseller/antiques dealer who is also a witch AND an amateur sleuth? Completely different. :-D
You see how this works?
The second big influence in the Bedknob and Broomsticks trilogy (series?) is the old 1970s crime drama (crime drama????) McMillan and Wife. Talk about a major influence on my formative years! I loved everything about that show, from Sally's football jersey sleep shirt and vintage car to handsome, solemn Mac's indulgent (occasionally paternalistic) adoration of his way younger wife.
That was probably