Sunday, February 14, 2016

Romance and/or Mystery?

From the day back in grade school, when I received a handmade valentine from a boy I had a crush on, Valentine’s Day has always been my favorite holiday. Through the years, when I got candy, flowers or jewelry from the current man in my life, my feelings for the holiday were reinforced. For me, love will always be “in the air” on Valentine’s Day whether or not I’m romantically involved.

But, as a mystery writer, there’s a flip side to the coin. I still see romance on Valentine’s Day but I also see mystery. It all started many years ago when, for three consecutive years on Valentine’s Day, I received a single red rose from someone who chose to remain anonymous. There was no note and no indication of who it was from.

When I opened my apartment door the first time it happened and saw the rose on the mat, I had mixed emotions. I remember glancing around, thinking someone I knew was watching me, waiting to step out from their hiding place to tell me “Happy Valentine’s Day.” But there was no one there. Did I have a secret admirer? That thought was both intriguing and frightening.

I was determined to find out who had given me the rose. I figured it had to be from someone who lived close by because it was obvious from the condition of the rose that it hadn’t been there long. I wasn’t dating anyone at the time so I went through a mental list of possible “suspects” including a few male friends, my father and an ex-boyfriend. One by one, I asked them if they’d given me the rose. But no one admitted to it.
I had several male neighbors and there was one man in particular who seemed to always be lurking around. Truthfully, he gave me the chills and I hoped it wasn’t him. I have to admit to being a little paranoid; I started looking over my shoulder.

For the next two years, the same thing happened on Valentine’s Day. Until I moved. Now, I could assume it was from my weird neighbor but, as in any good mystery, without proof or a confession, I’ll never know for sure. So, it remains a mystery to this day.

We writers often use bits and pieces of our own experiences in our novels. My “rose experience” gave me the idea for my fifth Malone Mystery, which I’m currently in the process of writing. Of course, my main character won’t be me and the location and the plot will be entirely different from mine. But that’s where the fun and magic of writing fiction comes in.

Regardless of whether you see romance, mystery or a combination of the two, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Madeline Gornell has posted my article "Visiting the Scene of the Crime" at:
Pat Hernandez is interviewing me at:
I hope you'll stop by.