Tuesday, June 27, 2023

A Crafty Crime Guest Post

 June 28 – My Reading Journeys – CHARACTER GUEST POST  

The Trials and Tribulations of an Amateur Sleuth

By Anastasia Pollack

The problem with being a fictional character is that you have little to no control over your own life. Take me, for example. My name is Anastasia Pollack. I was a happily married middle-class suburban wife and mother who worked as the crafts editor for a women’s magazine. But that all changed the day author Lois Winston plucked me—kicking and screaming—out of my happy existence to become the protagonist of her cozy mystery series.

Suddenly, I discovered my loving husband loved Lady Luck more than his wife and kids. Before the first page of the first book, he’d dropped dead at a casino in Las Vegas, leaving me with debt up the wazoo, his communist mother, and his loan shark. Then the bodies started dropping. Dead bodies that didn’t die from natural causes. 

And that was just in Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries. There have been twelve books and three novellas to date, and the murders and mayhem just keep coming.

Rumor has it Lois Winston, my author, began her writing career penning romance and romantic suspense novels. I often wonder how different my life would have been had she chosen me as one of her early heroines. I would have had a happily-ever-after at the end of the book and not felt like I was trapped in an updated version of Groundhog Day where only the victims, the killers, and the modes of murder change from book to book.  

Okay, the plots are also quite different in each book, but still, they’re murder mysteries. People continue to die, and with Lois having chosen me as her sleuth, I never know if I’ll survive to the next book. That’s why I consider myself a reluctant amateur sleuth. Extremely reluctant. I’m not one of those nosy elderly (or not so elderly) ladies you find in many cozy mystery series. Given my druthers, I’d rather be doing anything other than trying to figure out whodunit.

I’ve been told I needn’t worry about my imminent demise because I’m the star of the series. However, when someone is pulling your strings, do you really have an ironclad guarantee that person won’t get tired of you at some point and snip those strings? Then what? What happens to characters who are no longer wanted or needed by their authors? I’m not sure I want to find out. What if it’s worse than contending with all those dead bodies?

At least, after turning my world upside-down in the first book, Lois graciously wrote in a budding romance for me, one that recently resulted in a wedding between photojournalist (and possible spy?) Zack Barnes and me. In A Crafty Collage of Crime, we’re on our honeymoon. Does Lois at least leave us alone long enough to enjoy the honeymoon? Of course not. Within hours of the plane touching down, I stumble upon yet another dead body.

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