About the Author
Best known for his work in mysteries, Hy was one of the original writers for the groundbreaking series,Monk. He worked on the show for all eight seasons, the final two as Co-Executive Producer, and received three Edgar Nominations from the Mystery Writers of America for "Best TV Episode."
In a related project, Hy was Executive Producer and head writer of Little Monk, a series of short films featuring Adrian Monk as a ten-year-old. His latest TV work was as writer and Consulting Producer for White Collar.
Hy is also the author of hundreds of short stories and ten books of short whodunits, which have been sold around the world in fourteen languages. Hy's first full-length comedy/mystery play, Home Exchange, premiered at the Waterfront Playhouse in Key West in May 2012. And, in a different vein, he recently authored a humor book called Things Your Dog Doesn't Want You to Know.
Hy splits his time among Key West, Vermont and New York City.
Author Website: http://www.hyconrad.com/
GUEST POST FOR “SOCRATES BOOK REVIEWS”
BY HY CONRAD
AUTHOR OF “RALLY ‘ROUND THE CORPSE”
WAIT! I’M A COZY WRITER?
Until recently, I’d never thought of myself as a writer of cozies. I was a mystery writer who wasn’t interested in violence and, for some reason, wasn’t fascinated by sex. These were always the parts I rushed through as a reader, eager to get back to the characters and the story.
Maybe that was part of it. I’m a story guy. Violence and sex – or sexy violence and violent sex – are just story interruptions. I can’t, off the top of my head, remember any sex scene that actually moved the plot forward. And although action is always exciting and worthwhile, violence itself is rarely a game changer. Literary violence, after all, is basically a binary situation. Either a character wins or loses. “Okay, good. He won. Now let’s get on with the plot.”
To many, this may seem a juvenile attitude -- tell me a story! -- and it won’t get me a job writing a knock-off of "Fifty Shade of Gray." But my love of mysteries goes back to the day when almost every one of them, except those by Mickey Spillane, was a cozy, or as we liked to call it back then, a mystery novel.
I hate to think of my writing career as an exercise in nostalgia, trying to recreate the fun and emotions of my boyhood days of reading under the covers – Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple and Nero Wolfe – but there are worse careers to have. Who knows? If I’d been raised on Dean Koontz and Criminal Minds, I would probably be nostalgic for psycho bloodbaths instead.
Even my decade spent writing for TV was notable for its lack of violence and sex. I doubt something like "Monk" could even get on the air these days. But again, when we sat down to write that show, we didn’t think we were writing for a specific sub-genre. We were just a bunch of middle-aged folk writing what we ourselves wanted to watch.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I started being labeled a cozy author. I actually had to look it up to find out what the rules were.
I still kind of balk at the label. For one thing, I’m a guy. Aren’t I supposed to be writing about ex-soldiers with amnesia, trying to figure out who wants them assassinated? And why are so many of my characters women? There’s a whole gender of people out there who understands women better than I do.
I guess the answer is that I write what I like, the stories that fascinate me, with no rules or restrictions in mind. When an idea comes, it’s full of possibilities and, I hope, humor and good characters. Then I have to put it down on paper in order to find out how the story ends.
When it does end, there won’t be a lot of sex or violence. That’s just who I am, with or without the “cozy” label. And I think a lot of readers feel the same way.