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Friday, October 28, 2016

Questions Readers ask Writers, by Sue McGinty

Thanks for asking me to contribute to your SJC blog. I will be the speaker at your monthly meeting on November 5th. As many of you know I write the Bella Kowalski Central Coast mystery series.

What kinds of questions do you get as a writer?

As a mystery writer I get all sorts of questions about my books, my characters, even my personal life. Concerning the latter, sometimes I am forced to answer, “None of your business.” I mean, reallyAre the love scenes based on real life?

Do you welcome questions from your readers?

Absolutely, it shows that the reader is connected with me and with my protagonist, Bella Kowalski, obituary writer, former nun, former cop’s wife, now single woman on her own.

Do readers ever give you advice about Bella?

All the time. A reader told me I should have Bella color her hair because all that gray makes her look old. Don’t know how she knew that because there’s never been a photo of Bella, per se, anywhere, but obviously the reader sees her in her mind’s eye.

Do you get questions from men?

Rarely. But mostly they critique the writing, saying they love it or they hate it, that this character is underdeveloped, or overdeveloped.

Do you ever create characters of add plot details base on readers’ questions or comments?

Sometimes, though mainly I depend on my beta readers for these. For example, in “Murder in a Safe Haven,” my newest, all three of the beta readers said if I mentioned the old slave tunnel under the convent, I had to put Bella there. I didn’t want to, but I did, though I thought her being in a tunnel violated the norm of a cozy mystery. However, I kept it short, readers like it and it turned out well.

What is your preferred way to ask and answer the questions of readers?

Definitely via social media like Facebook, because then others can chime in as well. It’s amazing the number of opinions I get about even simple things.  

(To find out more about the meeting and Sue, scroll down.)


  1. That's so funny about Bella's hair! I never saw it as gray. :-) She's such a great sleuth, with just enough quirks to be interesting, but she's always sympathetic.

  2. Hilarious about the hair. Looking forward to seeing you at the meeting.

  3. Replies
    1. Me too, but yeah I'll see you at Cowgirl Christmas.

  4. thanks so much for hosting me you guys. So looking forward to next Saturday.