Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Carolyn J. Rose

 Tomorrow, Carolyn J. Rose, author of the Deadly Duo Mysteries and the Devil’s Harbor series, will be stopping by Straight From Hel to talk about identifying the theme of your stories.

 Sometimes, Carolyn writes solo; sometimes she co-authors with Mike Nettleton. On her website, this is how she describes co-writing a book: “an undertaking that ranks right up there with roller skating on a calving glacier during a moderate earthquake.” The latest in the Devil’s Harbor Mysteries, co-authored with Nettleton, is called Sometimes A Great Commotion.

Here’s the book trailer for Rose and Nettleton’s book, Sometimes A Great Commotion.

If you’re like me, you hoped you’d never have to think about the “theme” of a book once you left college. If you’re a writer, though, it keeps coming up. Your agent asks you what the theme is. Your editor wants to know. And just when you think you’re done with it, someone stands up during your talk at a bookstore and asks about the theme of your latest book.

If you know the theme of your book, leave it in the comments box. If you don’t (and even if you do), come back tomorrow to read how Carolyn J. Rose found her theme (and maybe even her groove).


  1. As E.M. Forster once wrote: "We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."

    Theme is life.

    Unlike commenter above, there's no cement involved.

  2. I do like the decorative cement theme has various possibilies.

    Theme...hmm. I'll be back tomorrow.

  3. At the very heart of my work, I'd say the theme explores mother-daughter bonds. But secondary themes come into play as well.

  4. If anyone's wondering about the "cement" theme several commenters mentioned, they're referring to a loooong spam comment which I deleted.

    Y'all have interesting themes. I wish I'd asked how you narrowed it down to that particular theme or if you knew the theme before you started writing.

  5. Oh, I like her sense of humor. I couldn't help but laugh at her comment on collaboration.

    I don't always start out with a theme perse; it sort of sneaks in there, tho.

  6. I'm glad to hear that some of you are more "theme-savvy" than I am - and that some of you fly by the seat of your pants through theme-land like I do.
    I'm looking forward to hearing more of your comments.

  7. Looking forward to tomorrow's post. I'm not always sure I have the theme of my work nailed down. I can do that for short stories and mainstream work, but it has been hard for me to put a theme to my mysteries and suspense novels.

  8. Great video, Carolyn. I look forward to tomorrow's post. As for theme, I never think about it until the manuscript's completed.

  9. Sia, Jean, and Maryann, I'm pretty much like you. Theme is not something I consider before I write.

    Hi Carolyn.

  10. Looking forward to Carolyn's post tomorrow. Sounds like it will be interesting.

    Thoughts in Progress

  11. Sounds like a great post!

    Ummm....themes. well, I guess good vs. evil? That would be the case for most mysteries, I suppose.

    Looking forward to the post!

  12. You're right, Helen. Theme is something I hoped I would never have to think about again!

    Thanks for the post. I'll look forward to tomorrow!


  13. My theme is about family members. How to deal with the "troublesome" ones.

    My Darcy Mutates

  14. Wow, funny and intriguing, but in 20 years of books publishing no editor or agent or publicist has ever asked me what the theme of any of my books is. That's usually something I get from interviewers who haven't read it, or people at a reading. But even then, it's often in the form of a question: they've identified a theme--do I agree with their assessment?

  15. That's true Lev. A lot of interviewers want something to hang their questions on. They often haven't read the book, only notes given to them, so they need something to start questions before the camera rolls.


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