My debut novel For Better, For Murder is scheduled for release this week. Thank goodness, because now anyone can read the book and decide what it’s about instead of asking me. I found this question rather hard to answer.
I should know what the book is about. After all, I wrote it. But sometimes others see more clearly since they are not as close to the work.
When I finished writing For Better, For Murder, I thought it was a murder mystery about a woman who finds a dead man in a Ferrari she’s trying to sell to get her fledgling sports car business in the black. And a romantic suspense about a woman regretfully close to divorcing the only man she ever loved, the sheriff’s deputy who arrives to investigate the murder and who seems to think she’s a suspect. Plus a humorous yet emotional saga about a woman with a bipolar younger sister who has demanded care and attention since their mother died.
Now I know I only scratched the surface with that description.
My critique group said the book is about family. I thought they were right—I’ve got parent and child relationships, sisters, husbands and wives, not to mention friends who are extended family.
One of my manuscript swap partners decided the series (he’s read ahead) was about freedom versus obligation, which was one of the reasons he enjoyed it so much. I thought he was right, too—and an insightful fellow. I was secretly thrilled that my light-hearted, humorous cozy series might be a tad deeper than I had planned.
My agent’s pitch to publishers said For Better, For Murder had a “terrific female protagonist” and that my “sense of place and character is very sharp, as is her knack for keeping romance and suspicion in a tight pas de deux.”
Well, I took years of French in high school and college, but I still had to look up “pas de deux.” If you need to, you can look up its nuances online, too.
Kirkus Reviews wrote For Better, For Murder was about “buyer’s remorse” and “murder and mayhem”. Ah, murder and mayhem! Most definitely! Buyer’s remorse? I had to think about that for a second. Why, yes, both literally and figuratively!
Kirkus Reviews also said “Bork juggles multiple puzzles deftly in her witty debut.”
It’s true the story has multiple puzzles: who murdered the man in Ferrari in Jolene’s showroom, where is Jolene’s sister, who took a DeLorean out of Jolene’s garage, who is robbing the local convenience stores, where did all the money hidden in Jolene’s home come from, who wants to frame Jolene for murder, who invaded her home not once but twice, will true love win out, and more.
But I got out my dictionary to make sure I understood the nuances of “deftly” and “witty.” I came away with the impression that the reviewer found my writing skillful, very clever and humorous—all the things I had hoped it would be.
So now please read For Better, For Murder and see if you agree.
Lisa Bork’s debut novel, For Better, For Murder, hits stores this week. It’s the first book in the Broken Vows mystery series from Midnight Ink. Lisa has a BA. in English and a M.B.A. in Marketing, and she worked in humans resources and marketing before becoming a stay-at-home mom and author. For more information, visit Lisa's web site.