Monday, May 9, 2016


By Mary Kennedy                         

Writers are used to weird questions (seriously, we are!) To some degree, it goes with the territory. Tell people you're a mystery writer and suddenly a floodgate opens and you find yourself engulfed in a tsunami of strange comments.
Here are a few questions I've been asked at book signings and interviews. Some odd, some snarky, some just plain weird.

1. "So, you're a writer.  Have I heard of you?"
      After trying out various witty replies, I usually just shrug and say, "Probably not."

2. "I've had a fascinating life. Would you like to write my life story?"
      Again,  I try to go for a kind reply, rather than a snarky one, and stress the idea that I write mystery novels, not memoirs.

3.  "I've always wanted to write a book."  Someone asked Jessica Fletcher this question on an episode of Murder She Wrote and she answered briskly, "Then you should, my dear, you should!"  And then she kept right on walking.

4.  "So you write mysteries. Do you ever wish you could write a real book?"  This is a tough one and it's hard to be polite, but you must! It's rather a baffling question and I usually look surprised and point out that the Dream Club Mysteries and the Talk Radio Mysteries are "real" books, with characters and plots and timelines and a beginning, middle and end.                   

5. (from a television reporter in a teeny, tiny market). "So you're a mystery writer. Do you ever wish you were Tess Gerritsen?" Ack. This time my manners failed me. It was late in the day, I had a splitting headache and had had nothing but coffee and breath mints since breakfast. "No, I don't. Do you ever wish you were Katie Couric?" Not as snarky as it looks in print, because I did manage to smile when I said it. The reporter chuckled so I assume she wasn't too offended.

6. "Do you get paid a lot?" For some reason, people think it's perfectly all right to ask writers about their finances. After experimenting with different answers, I finally decided that simple is best. "Not nearly enough," I say cheerfully.

7. And along the same lines, "Do you ever feel like an overpaid hack?" Answer: "No, I feel like an underpaid one."

8. "I'd like to collaborate on a book with you. How does that sound to you?" Answer: "If you're Janet Evanovich or Nora Roberts, it sounds terrific!"

9. And the inevitable follow-up, "No, I mean I'll give you the ideas, you write them up and we'll split the profits fifty-fifty." I usually pretend to ponder this and then act as if I've had a sudden (and brilliant) idea. "Wait, how about this?" I ask. "I'll come up with the ideas, you write the book and we'll split everything fifty-fifty." Hmm. No one has ever taken me up on that offer, I wonder why.

10. "Is this the only book you've ever written?"Again, this is baffling. Can't they see that I'm surrounded by a TON of books?  I've written over 40 novels. Why would I be signing someone else's books?                 
I hope you've enjoyed this little glimpse into the strange questions I've encountered. If you have some "strange/weird/bizarre" questions people have asked you, I'd love to hear them. Thanks for stopping by!
Mary Kennedy

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