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December 27, 2010

Carolyn Hart: Sixth Grade Christmas

Posted by Anonymous
CarolynHart.jpgCarolyn Hart is an Oklahoma City native and the author of over 40 mysteries, including GHOST IN TROUBLE, which hit shelves in mid-October. On this memorable Monday morning, Carolyn muses on the merits of her chosen genre and the eclectic combination of classics that that first inspired her to become a writer. 
As a child, Christmas meant books to me. I often asked for particular titles. My wonderful mother --- tall, slender, blue-eyed and fair --- loved beautiful clothes and jewelry and dishes. It was not until I was grown that I realized what a generous spirit she possessed, never indicating disappointment that I wasn’t interested in fashion or games. Instead, I always found brightly wrapped rectangular presents beneath the tree. Christmas morning, among a welter of paper, I seized my treasures, knowing that once again I was privileged to embark on a grand adventure, follow lives new to me, visit faraway places that I only glimpsed in old and tattered books about the world, and grapple with human hopes and fears.
Sixth grade was an especially memorable Christmas. My books were LITTLE WOMEN, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, TREASURE ISLAND and A TALE OF TWO CITIES
Those particular books exerted a profound influence on the course of my life. Although I only dimly understood the overarching intent of fiction, I devoured the books. LITTLE WOMEN afforded Jo, the kind of woman I wanted to be. THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO gave me the framework for suspense. TREASURE ISLAND served up adventure, making the flip of each page a joy. A TALE OF TWO CITIES honored courage and offered redemption.
Each of these elements reinforced my love affair with mysteries, which began with my first Nancy Drew. A classic mystery offers a protagonist who wants the world to be a better place, compelling suspense, adventure that draws forth the best and the worst of the human spirit, and redemption.
Those long-ago books and all the wonderful mysteries I’ve read since led me to become a mystery writer. My 45th book, GHOST IN TROUBLE, has just been published. The late Bailey Ruth Raeburn, a light-hearted spirit, returns to earth to help someone in trouble. She is, as are all classic mystery protagonists, a force for good. And last year’s Bailey Ruth novel is now available in paperback; MERRY, MERRY GHOST welcomes the healing grace of Christmas despite loss and sorrow.
Readers might question a link between mysteries and Christmas. Christmas is the season when all of us, regardless of our faith or background, celebrate love and generosity and goodness. Mysteries reinforce a commitment to goodness. No one ever reads a mystery unless he or she wants the world to be a good place…   
God Bless and Happy Holidays.    
Check back again this afternoon as debut novelist Robert Barclay reflects on an unforeseen Christmas message and shares his hope for another fortuitous year.