Although I have categorized my two murder mystery series, The Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives and Death by Cupcake, as cozy mysteries, I often tell potential readers that my books are mysteries with a dash of romance and a heaping portion of humor. And that’s the moment I lose a lot of them. I can see it in their eyes, which sometimes even roll as they hear the word ‘humor’ as if adding humor to a novel makes me less of an author or my books less worthy. I’ve published ten books and yet people will turn away from me at a cocktail party to listen to an unpublished author talk about her work because it’s more ‘significant’. Yes, seriously.
Not all books are ‘significant’. In fact, the vast majority of books published are meant as entertainment for the masses. Nobel prize winning novels, on the other hand, are rarely best sellers. Does it matter if your book or my book is not literature? If it is meant to ‘merely’ entertain? The U.S. media and entertainment industry, made up of film and music, video game, and publishing sectors, is expected to reach $771 billion by 2019. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
Even if it was something to sneeze at – so what? Entertainment is important for our mental well-being. You may even argue it’s important for our physical well-being as well since it often calms us down. In case you missed it, the world is in a bit of a bind at the moment. Political strife within ‘peaceful’ countries is at an all-time high. Terrorism seems to be happening in new and more terrifying ways on a daily basis. Do we not need more humor in this world gone mad? At a time where a trip to a Christmas market or a night club can end in a blood bath?
And as I sat mulling over this post (because I wrote those first two paragraphs right after that party but didn’t know where to go from there), I realized something else. We are way too busy with judging people. Everyone – every single person – contributes to society in some way whether it’s by cleaning toilets, protecting prisoners, or balancing the books of a company. I refuse to believe that some people are more important than others based solely on their job description because even if you’re saving lives someone needs to clean up the blood and gore when it’s all over. I’m done with that. Who’s with me?