The femme fatale is a long-standing character type in crime fiction, a prominent and popular fixture of the mid-twentieth-century hard-boiled detective novel. Her overt sexuality is her chief weapon, greed is her underlying desire, and her fate is bleak, without redemption. It’s also a misogynist archetype, a product of the male crime writer’s anxiety about his diminished standing in Depression Era America and later his fraught reintegration into civilian life after World War II.
CrimeReads—”The Femme Fatale: Subverting and Complicating a Noir Trope”
Electric Lit: "10 LGBTQ Crime Fiction Must-Reads"
The act of coming out is an unveiling. Since queer people live in a straight, cis-gendered dominant culture, we have the burden of proclaiming our sexual orientation or our gender identity. As a narrative, the coming-out story is one we’re familiar with, and one we’ve embraced. Crime stories have a similar structure, which perhaps is why they resonate with queer readers and writers: the tension of withheld secrets, the satisfying snap of the puzzle pieces fitting together, the wonder of the reveal. We’re drawn to a narrative where the unknown becomes known. Where motives are made clear. Where identity is made evident.
CrimeReads: "Closure: Crime Fiction's Most Satisfying and Elusive Gift"
Several years ago, I decided to redecorate my office. The idea was to make it more aesthetically conducive to writing: fresh paint in pleasing earth tones, new furniture made from recycled pallet wood, everywhere clean, modern surfaces—a blank canvas from which to create. In truth, it was an elaborate (and expensive) excuse to procrastinate revising the ending of my novel, Dodging and Burning. One Saturday, passionately avoiding my laptop, I grabbed my husband, and we moved the furniture out and ripped up the frayed wall-to-wall Berber carpeting. Underneath, we discovered a loose board in the pine flooring. Our curiosity piqued, we removed it. Between the support beams, peeking through the dust, we found a treasure trove: three Chesterfield cigarette packets, two Hershey bar wrappers, an ad for women’s cosmetics, a hand-drawing (perhaps a tracing) of the silent film comedian Harold Lloyd, and the remains of a letter penned by a woman named Catherine, all dating back to the 1920’s or early 1930’s.
Southern Writers—Suite T: "Crafting Revelation in Fiction One Detail at a Time"
Revelation in fiction comes in many forms: In a murder mystery, the curtain is pulled back on the identity of the culprit. In other narratives, the curtain is pulled back on the true nature of a character. For a revelation to work in fiction, it must feel surprising and inevitable to the reader. These qualities seem contradictory but in the hands of a skilled writer, the tension between the inevitable and the surprising is always present; it is the only way a revelation is fairly earned.