Sunday, May 11, 2008

My Town Monday: Carolyn Wheat, local mystery author

It's that time again: My Town Monday. Only this week, we're talking about books to do with our hometown.

I'm writing about Carolyn Wheat, a San Diego mystery author.

I first met Carolyn at a San Diego Sisters in Crime meeting. I ended up taking a mystery writing class she taught. It was pretty informal. We all sat around someone's living room while Carolyn talked. You had to pay attention because she was a rambler and, hidden in her ramblings, were nuggets about clues and red herrings and dialogue and characterization and plot. The class also involved her dissecting our manuscripts. Definitely not for the thin-skinned because Carolyn didn't candycoat. I learned a lot. Both from listening to her critique others' WIPs (works in progress) and from her comments about my own stuff.

Carolyn writes a smart mystery. Lots of twists and turns, everything nicely tied up at the end, interesting well-developed characters. She's the kind of writer who always delivers so when you read something of hers, you can kick back and enjoy. No worries that there'll be a gaping hole in the plot.

Carolyn practiced law in New York City for twenty something years. Her series of five mysteries showcases Cass Jameson, an attorney in New York City. It's a good series. Also, Carolyn has edited a few anthologies, and she's written many mystery short stories.

Personally, I have a weakness for short stories. Especially dark short stories. Which means Tales Out of School is right up my alley. This is a collection of 19 crime stories written by Carolyn Wheat, most of them dark and depressing. Tales Out of School was nominated for a 2001 Anthony.

Funnily enough, Carolyn didn't realize short stories would be a forte. She wrote the first one only because a bunch of other mystery authors were getting into an anthology, and she didn't want to be left out.

We have several really good mystery authors here in San Diego. Carolyn just happens to be one of my favorites.

My Town Monday comes to us via Travis Erwin. Thanks, Travis! Click on his site to read his post about The Bone Pickers by Alan Dewlen and find links to the other participants. And thank you Josephine Damian who came up with pairing My Town Monday posts with book reviews.

15 comments:

Beth said...

Sounds like a combination that would appeal to me - mystery and an attorney.
I've noted the author's name and the book title.

JaneyV said...

As always interesting stuff Barrie.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks for brining a new name to our attention.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm a big fan of short stories too. When they are done right there's almost nothing better. I started out writing short stories almost exclusively and very much enjoyed it.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

I love short stories and will certainly look for Carolyn Wheat in the future.

Terrie

Larramie said...

What a terrific twist: My Town Writers. I think you're on to something, Barrie!

Travis Erwin said...

I'm actually toying with writing a mystery series after my current WIP but I haven't read the genre very widely so I need good recommendations like this.

lyzzydee said...

I like short stories I loved it when Stephen King did the Green Mile in installments!

beckylevine said...

Sounds like a wonderful class. And what a fun way to use our My Town post for this week.

Angela said...

Right now I am into not so short, but when I get in the mood for short I will keep her in mind

Smiles!

deboradale said...

Nuggets. Barrie, as a workshop junkie myself, I can't tell you how many tiny nuggets I've picked up over the years. I've never taken an in-person workshop though. I'm happy to know you took a few nuggests from this one with Carolyn. You made it sound wonderful.

~Debbie

Nicey said...

I am gonna check that out cheers.

Mrs. Annie said...

Great twist on my town monday!

Mary said...

I, too, like dark shorts. Tales Out of School looks really interesting.

Love this new spin on My Town Monday! :)

Patti said...

i love my town monday posts...and now books!