Karen’s Killer Book Bench: THE UNEXPECTED RESOLUTION (Jolie Gentil Cozy Mystery Series Book 10) by Elaine Orr

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Jolie Gentil Cozy Mystery Series Book 10


A midnight wedding, Army veterans who face repercussions of two wars, and a startling wedding guest. Wedding days don’t usually pack as big a surprise as Jolie and Scoobie’s New Year’s Eve nuptial. Scoobie never knew much about his family, and after the way he grew up, who could blame him for liking it that way? A 9-1-1 call during the wedding changes everything. Suddenly Jolie has to help Scoobie figure out what he wants to know and determine who seems to want one of his family members dead.


By Elaine L. Orr

A friend teaches romance writing, and emphasizes that no matter what the plot or assortment of characters, the love story between the two protagonists must always be paramount. What about a mystery with (a common marketing phrase) “a touch of romance?”

I thought the balance would be intuitive until 2005 when I wrote a mystery with a strong romantic element. Which component should dominate, or should I place equal emphasis on plot and love? The story was uneven, and I eventually rewrote the book so that the mystery had more focus and the characters’ internal dialogue about their relationship decreased substantially. The story became better, but I still didn’t have great skill in building both components.

When I later began a mystery series, the balance question arose again. The answer was easier. The mystery would predominate and a love interest would grow over time. Why include it at all? Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple didn’t usually think about love. On the other hand, Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books would be less fun without Ranger and Joe Morelli.

In my published mystery novels, the strong protagonists are women with at least some love interests. I needed to create male partners who were interesting, not simply bedtime buckaroos.

I write cozy mysteries, and generally don’t like books in which the boyfriend/potential boyfriend is in law enforcement. In some books, the sheriff/police officer provides more information than they would ever give a civilian, and it’s too unrealistic. Yes, it’s fiction, but how many local police chiefs do you know who work with amateur sleuths?

Other ideas I rejected were: the powerful benefactor/titan of industry who has lots of resources (financial and otherwise) that the amateur sleuth relies on; a news reporter who shares the investigative duties; and the all-supportive boyfriend/spouse who makes the sleuth’s life much easier. Any of those romantic partners can work, I simply saw them as people who would make the sleuth’s life less challenging. What’s the fun in that?

I settled on friendships that could grow into love, with the boyfriend eventually in a job that could occasionally bring in helpful information. In a long series (such as my soon-to-be eleven-book Jolie Gentil series) the sleuth’s love realization grows slowly, and her partner, Scoobie, also adds humor and counters Jolie’s occasional rash decisions.

I didn’t initially see them getting married, but he grew on me. In The Unexpected Resolution they do tie the knot. They also find out some things about Scoobie’s past that will influence their future greatly. Plus a murder comes into play, of course.

Two other series (River’s Edge and Logland) began with the idea of slow-growth romance – though I don’t think the culmination will take ten books!

A final thought. How does marriage (or a permanent commitment) affect the story line? On television shows it reduces a lot of creative tension. I thought about that for months, and resolved the issue for Jolie and Scoobie by moving time ahead a couple of years and adding new characters that can complicate lives and create dramatic conflict.

I’ll let readers of book eleven (Underground in Ocean Alley, coming in April 2018) tell me if it works.

Meet Author Elaine L. Orr…

Elaine L. Orr is the Amazon bestselling author of three mystery series — the ten-book Jolie Gentil cozy mystery series, set at the Jersey shore, the two-book River’s Edge series, set in rural Iowa, and the Logland Mystery series, featuring a small Illinois college town and its police chief. Behind the Walls was a finalist for the 2014 Chanticleer Mystery and Mayhem Awards, and Demise of a Devious Neighbor for the 2018 award (to be announced in April). Elaine also writes plays and novellas, including the one-act, Common Ground and the 2017 Falling Into Place. Her novella, Biding Time, was one of five finalists in the National Press Club’s first fiction contest, in 1993. Elaine conducts presentations on electronic publishing and other writing-related topics. Nonfiction includes Words to Write By: Putting Your Thoughts on Paper and Writing in Retirement: Putting New Year’s Resolutions to Work. She also conducts online courses on writing and publishing on the Teachable platform. A member of Sisters in Crime and the Indiana Writers’ Center, Elaine grew up in Maryland and moved to the Midwest in 1994.

Links to Elaine’s website, blog, books, etc.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2EEnPaN

Website: www.elaineorr.com

Blog: https://elaineorr.blogspot.com


**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY: Elaine is giving away a Kindle copy of THE UNEXPECTED RESOLUTION to one lucky reader who comments on her Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog.

Thanks, Elaine, for sharing your book with us!

Don’t miss the chance to read this book!

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18 Responses to Karen’s Killer Book Bench: THE UNEXPECTED RESOLUTION (Jolie Gentil Cozy Mystery Series Book 10) by Elaine Orr

  1. Helen Drake says:

    I really enjoyed your interview and how you develop the love interest in your Cozy Mysteries, which has become my favorite genre as I’ve grown older. I have read plenty of cozies where the romantic partner is all of the things you described, with law enforcement being the most prevalent. I look forward to reading your books, especially the ones set in Iowa, where I was born.

    • Helen. Thanks! I try to think through the professions for the sleuth and her buddies. I think it makes the books more realistic for readers. I lived in Ottumwa for years. I hope you enjoy the Iowa books. Let me know what you think, please.

      • Helen Drake says:

        I was born in Burlington and lived there from age 8 to 12. I’ve visited a few times since. I have been to Ottumwa.

        • Small world. Feel free to keep in touch at elaineorr55@yahoo.com. I set a book in Burlington, not one of the mysteries. Called Falling Into Place, kind of a family story about a vet whose family helps him deal with WWII PTSD. Not that there was a name for it back then. Came out last fall. Let me know if you would like a PDF.

  2. Karen Docter says:

    Good morning, Elaine, and welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench. I loved your explanation of how you develop the romance interest in your cozies. I, too, tend to write love interests as normal people. My series does have a couple of cop heroes, but the majority are not. Thanks for sharing your methodology, and your book, with us today!

  3. Eileen AW says:

    I enjoyed your dialogue as you bring up some interesting points. My concern as a reader is that it’s fiction so do you. the author, really have to follow the rules? I enjoy reading cozy mysteries and the challenges they give to my brain in figuring them out.

    • In many aspects of fiction, we authors get to make up our own rules. Since I write cozy mysteries — which are more akin to real life than say paranormal mysteries or even thrillers — I like to have my scenarios at least be possible. I suppose it’s what I like to read. Keep enjoying those books.

  4. bn100 says:

    interesting about your ideas

  5. Sharon Greene says:

    I really enjoyed the discussion of combining romance with mystery. My 2 favorite genres are cozy mysteries and romantic suspense and the issues you raise are common to both. I agree that many times, the love interests are unprofessional at best or actually in breach of their profession’s code of ethics the way they openly share confidential information.

  6. Bonnie Oswald says:

    I never really thought about how complicated it would be to pick a love interest for a strong female character, Very challenging!

  7. Emme says:

    Love the Jolie Gentile series. I’m glad it too Elaine 10 books to make up her mind. The relationship between the two characters felt real and not forced.

  8. Donnah says:

    Thank you for sharing! I learned alot as a reader, the many decisions an author has to make. I personally enjoyed the slow development of Jolie, refreshing approach.

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