Friday, November 5, 2010

Guest Blogger Christine Wenger




Please help me welcome the fabulous Christine Wenger!!

TRIXIE AND NANCY, COLOMBO AND MONK
AND OTHER MYSTERY ICONS


I am so thrilled to be asked to blog for Mysteries and Margaritas and a big thank you goes to the lovely ladies of mystery who invited me.

I’m a writer of contemporary romance (mostly western settings), but don’t go away yet! I want to talk about how I got started reading mysteries. And who doesn’t love a great mystery?

Picture me in fourth grade at St. Margaret’s Grammar School in Mattydale, New York. I am wearing a white blouse and a forest-green jumper and black saddle shoes. I’m the tall girl in the last row with thin, pin-straight, blonde hair who is NOT paying attention to Sister Mary Mary teaching whatever….I have a Nancy Drew mystery that I’m reading under the lip of my desk.

Nancy had a roadster, which I was pretty sure was a car. She had great friends, a hunk of a boyfriend, and a father who never knew where she was or what she was doing as she solved mystery after mystery. I wondered how long it would take me to save my 25-cents a week allowance to buy my own roadster, but it never crossed my mind to pay attention to Sister, and I might know the answer to that.

I identified more with Trixie Belden. Trixie had blonde hair like mine, was a tomboy like me, and solved mysteries with her rich friend Honey Wheeler, who had horses that Trixie could ride. Trixie also had a potential boyfriend by the name of Jim Frayne who I was in love with. Trixie roamed all over the Catskill Mountains (I believe) solving mysteries with Honey, and later Jim, and her parents never knew where she was or what she was doing.

How did one get such parents? Mine would barely let me ride my bike off the street.

Anyway, I loved Jim Frayne so much that I had to marry a Jim. I turned down at least seventeen men with other first names until I found a Jim!

That brings me to the TV detectives…my favorites will always be Colombo and Monk. I was thinking of their similarities and differences and I came up with the obvious, but what the brilliant writers of both series did was highly develop each character.

Characters. I’ll always remember Nancy and Trixie, Colombo and Monk, Kay Scarpetta and Stephanie Plum, Richard Castle and… soon I’ll remember Samantha Granger (by Kari Townsend!!).

HAPPY READING!
CHRISTINE WENGER, AUTHOR

15 comments:

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Ha ha...thanks for the plug, Chris!

I am the same way....it's all about the characters for me.

How do you come up with such great characters? And tell us about your newest hunky hero :-))

Maggie Shayne said...

I just love stories about your Catholic school days, Chris! But I never knew the true reason you married Jim. It was all about his name, huh? =)

Great blog post. I remember Nancy Drew fondly, but I didn't fall for the Hardy Boys until they got that TV show!

Barbie Jo Mahoney said...

Great thought on characters, Chris! I too was a Nancy Drew groupie. At one point my mom subscribed through her book club and I was getting a book a month! Which of course led to the Hardy Boy era (of which I didnt appreciate until the TV show, too!) I will forever love Parker Stevenson and have a scrapbook somewhere in my closet to prove it!

So Chris...we know you write the hunky cowboy (and you do it oh, so well) and since you're a reader of mystery, do you ever see yourself breaking out and writing a mystery? Maybe even a Cowboy Mystery??

Jason Barret said...

I have to be honest. I never read Nancy Drew but I love Sister Mary Mary and all of your books, Chris.

A very entertaining blog.

Cassy Pickard said...

Chris, this is great. Thanks so much for joining us on M&M. Not only was I a huge Nancy Drew fan, but my best friend and I traded books (she's now the well-known author Joyce Maynard, maybe influenced by Nancy?). Our parents had to compare lists of what was on our bookshelves so they didn't duplicate their purchases. I was always pushing Joyce to read more quickly so I could have her book.

It's interesting how we carry certain memories with us. I wonder what their influence is in what we write.

Again, thanks, Chris. Great posting!

Liz Lipperman said...

Chris, welcome to M & M. I, too, never read Nancy Drew. Why, I don't know. I always loved Angela Lansbury, though and Perry Mason. (Am I showing my age?)

I'm also Catholic, so I can relate to Sister Mary Mary.

Like Kari. I'm all about the characters and the action. The more the better. I love the same mystery sleuths as you, including Kari's Samantha Granger.

Thanks for a fun blog.

Donna Cummings said...

LOL about the roadster, and needing one even if you weren't sure what it was!

I remember reading some Nancy Drew while babysitting for some kids, and wishing I had the more exciting Nancy Drew lifestyle!

CHRIS WENGER said...

Kari,
The characters just come to me for some reason, not full blown, but then I flesh them out by figuring out their childhood influences (that's what I think motivates them to infinity and beyond!), their goals, and what's stopping them from achieving their goals.

CHRIS WENGER said...

Barbie Jo:
I loved the Hardy Boys TV show, too. Here's some trivia that I'm almost sure of: Parker Stevenson married Kristi Ally. They later divorced.

CHRIS WENGER said...

LIZ,
How could I forget Jessica Fletcher? I still love watching those reruns...Isn't it the day of the Superbowl that they have a Murder She Wrote Marathon?

("I'll take the category "Useless Crap," Alex, for $200).

CHRISTINE WENGER said...

Thanks, Jason! Glad you like my books...Can you believe that I just finished #7??

It's called HOW TO LASSO A COWBOY and comes out in July.

CHRISTINE WENGER said...

Barbie Jo,

A cowboy mystery!
Hmmmmmmm....

CHRISTINE WENGER said...

Maggie,
Love the picture of you and that huge Scooby Doo of a dog! And, yep, that's the real reason I married Jim...he has the same name as Trixie Belden's crush.

Taryn Elliott said...

*swooon* Castle.
Hiya baby.
lol

Great post, Chris!

christine wenger said...

Taryn.
Isn't that Nathan Fillion hot? I love the scenes when everyone is wearing kevlar that says "police" and he's wearing one that says "writer". HA!