Tag Archives | mystery

Are all YA Mysteries Genre Busters?

Welcome to week 3 of celebrating my YA novel, A Spy Like Me! Today we have Jennifer Hoffine! 


I’ve known Jennifer for several years. We met on Critique Circle and still read for each other as needed. She’s a terrific writer with her own news later in the post. Take it away, Jennifer!


Murder, crime, clues, suspense, spying, mayhem. When is a Mystery story still a capital-“M” Mystery story?

I suppose it’s anytime a mystery is the main thing driving the plot.

Even so, it’s difficult to do traditional mysteries in YA because the stock cast doesn’t exist in their world…i.e. there aren’t many teenaged police officers, medical examiners, private investigators, spies, lawyers or judges.

So, to some extent, all YA Mysteries are genre-busting stories.

Some do this through the setting/situation:

Like Ally Carter’s Gallagher girl’s series, where a high school for training girl spies propels the protag and her friends into real-life international intrigues.

Laura Pauling uses her protag’s employment at her dad’s role-playing spy games business to get her into some real-life trouble.

A historical Veronica Mars where a girl ends up helping her father with his P.I. business.

Other times, the mystery is not a Who-done-it but a Why did it happen?


Looking for Alaska is about students trying to understand a friend’s sudden death.

You all know this one about a girl who leaves clues behind about why she killed herself.

And sometimes the protag knows the mystery but doesn’t reveal it to the readers right away.



Some of my favorites involve using an object to propel the mystery forward.

Revolution uses a diary to connect a girl in the present with a girl in the past.



In Dreamland Social club, a set of keys unlocks a mother’s and Coney Island’s past.


I have a genre-busting mystery series myself. No murders or crimes involved, but lots of spying…on cheating boyfriends. Cheater Beaters will come out through Coliloquy later this year.

Finally, Ally Carter has taken YA Mystery genre busting to the next level with her Heist Society series, about a group of young professional art thieves. I love this one even more than the Gallagher Girls series.

Today we’re giving away a signed hardback of the second in the series: Uncommon Criminals.


Just Comment and tweet to enter.


Wow! Thanks, Jennifer. What a great giveaway. And I definitely found a couple books to check out! I love this concept of mystery that doesn’t include murder and how different authors approach it.

Can you think of any genre bending mysteries?

Jennifer holds lots of terrific giveaways on her blog as she talks about Young adult books. Give her a follow!

Be sure to check out the Indelibles Beach Bash to win a free Nook or Kindle and lots of books! I’m giving away the re-release of my short story, The Almost Assassin. It’s a free download for anyone!





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An Indelible’s Beach Bash with lots of books!

So I was chatting with my Indelible buddies one chilly afternoon and we realized that a bunch of us had new releases of novels, novelettes and short stories. So it didn’t take long for a promotional event to spring up.

Starting tomorrow (Monday), we’re holding a giveaway where you can win an ereader of your choice: Nook or Kindle.

But guess what? It will be loaded with the Indelible’s new releases! Woo hoo!

  1. Visit the Indelibles Website between May 21st-May25th. (Starts Monday)
  2. Follow the chain of links to each of the blogs on the hop.
  3. Collect the secret word from each blog.
  4. Submit the secret sentence for your chance to win.

I’m also announcing the re-release of The Almost Assassin: the short story prequel to my novel. It includes an excerpt of A Spy Like Me.

Summary: A teen attempts to follow in the family business but a beautiful “spy” may be his downfall making him The Almost Assassin.

This is my gift to all of you! Download any version from Smashwords for FREE!

(The story will be 99 cents on Amazon and Barnes and Noble until they price match.)

Good luck winning the ereader! And return here all this week for guest posts and giveaways from S.R. Johannes, Jennifer Hoffine, Becca Puglisi, and Gina Robinson!

My secret word is “on”. And the next stop is Lisa Nowak!

Party on! It’s almost summer!

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Nova Ren Suma and those mysterious sisters.

Welcome back to the second week of Spies, Murder and Mystery! Celebrating my release of A Spy Like Me!

Today we have Nova Ren Suma with us. She’s the author of Fade Out and Imaginary Girls. Both will be released in paperback in June with new covers! I read this book called Imaginary Girls and ended up loving it! The mythical relationship between sisters is not easy to show and having an older sister, I related. So I asked Nova to talk to us about mysterious girls.

Nova has run some incredible blog series about Turning Points and authors of upcoming releases. Check them out if you haven’t yet.

Blog ~ Website ~ Twitter


Mysterious Girls

I’m drawn to mysterious characters. The characters who give you pause, who make you question. The ones you need to know more about… And then you discover that the more you know, the more mystery there is to unravel. They’re complex. They’re flawed. They’re impossible to truly know, which to my mind makes them all the more real. I think that’s why I created Ruby, the larger-than-life older sister in my novel Imaginary Girls, or, really, why Ruby found me and forced me to sit down and write about her. I wanted to know who she was, and she wanted to play a cruel little game with me to keep me guessing.

It’s the mystery of Ruby that propels that novel—and so much of that comes from telling the story in the voice, and through the lens, of Chloe, the younger sister who idolizes every single thing Ruby does and yet still doesn’t fully understand her. She can’t. I admit I loved telling Ruby’s story through those eyes. I never want a mysterious girl to be stripped of all her mystery.

I wonder where this fascination came from. Even in my first published novel—originally titled Dani Noir, but you’ll see a new version of it on shelves this June called Fade Out—my narrator, Dani, goes searching for a mysterious femme fatale in her small sleepy town, even if there’s no true “femme fatale” to be found for miles. There are the secrets. The lies told behind closed doors. And how Dani idolizes a true mystery girl on-screen, none other than Rita Hayworth, star of glamorous noir movies like Gilda.

Even my upcoming book, 17 & Gone—which is such a mystery I haven’t revealed the summary yet!—is peopled with a whole cast of mysterious girls. You might just say the book wouldn’t exist without them.

I’m simply intrigued by a girl who inspires questions. And I don’t want easy answers.

So who are some mysterious girls from books I’ve read that catch my imagination?

Hannah in 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher: The whole story is set up to unravel Hannah and reveal why she chose to take her own life. Once the truth is exposed, it’s heartbreaking.

Bev in The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour: Colby can’t keep his eyes off Bev, and neither can we. Why does Bev do what she doe—say one thing and then change her mind and do another?

Mandarin in Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard: I remember being drawn to girls like this when I was in high school, wanting to be their friend, never at first realizing what dark, unruly secrets they kept hidden.

Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote: I know this one isn’t YA, but I can’t help but be obsessed with the mysterious, fascinating figure who makes this novel what it is. We only see her through the eyes of another, and we never quite catch up to her.

Francie in The Blonde of the Joke by Bennett Madison: In this novel, Val tries to be like her gorgeous, exciting new friend Francie, but who is Francie, really? And what does becoming like Francie really entail?

Margo Roth Spiegelman in Paper Towns by John Green: It’s an obsession with the girl next door that drives this mystery and the ensuing adventure adventure. We want to climb out the window and follow her into the night.

Who are some mysterious girls you find yourself drawn to in books?

Comment to win a pre-order of the Imaginary Girls paperback or a signed copy when Nova receives her author copies. Your choice! And please tweet with @laurapauling. Thanks!

Comment on yesterday’s post for a chance to win Spencer Brokaw’s The Impenetrable Spy!

Thanks everyone!


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What does the Creepy Query Girl and A Spy Like Me have in common?

Welcome to Day 4 celebrating A Spy Like Me!


Today we have a treat. Katie (A.K.A. Creepy Query Girl) is talking about living in France. I’ve followed her blog for a couple years and keep reading for her honesty, humor, and well, because she’s Katie! Visit her blog and see why she’s loved by the blogosphere. I’ve read snippets of her work and think she’s a talented writer. Watch out world! Take it away, Katie!

Oh, and Katie lives in France and A Spy Like Me is set in Paris, France!


So, when Laura proposed I write about being an American living in France, I realized that most of the posts I’ve already written complained about French drivers, or ‘goodbye’ protocol, the French’s obsessions with eating outside or ironing every piece of clothing they own.

But the bottom line is, I choose to live in France because there are way more things I love than things that irk me. So today I’m going to tell you about those things:

Eating in France is awesome. Any trip to the grocery store can result in cheap-but-delicious wine, cheese, pastries, pâtés, smoked meats, or chocolate. The food here is that good.

Staying skinny in France is pretty awesome, too. Despite the calories in all of the above, the strict eating schedule most French adhere to (early breakfast, two-hour lunches where everything closes from 12:30-2:30pm, snack at 4pm and hour-long dinner at night ‘en famille’) gives us an advantage in digestion and food choices that works to maintain average body weight.

Free Health Care in France. Basically, French citizens have a social security card with a chip in it. We pay for our medical appointments up front (between 25-50 euros) and then we’re reimbursed electronically within the week/month. Same goes for procedures like ultrasounds or x-rays. Things are usually covered immediately for prescriptions. With two kids suffering from asthma, and one who throws herself into constant calamities, I couldn’t be more thankful for this system.

Commercial Breaks. In France, a 6-minute commercial break occurs once every HALF AN HOUR! The program doesn’t just ‘cut to black’, but we’re given a ‘PUBLICITE’ warning that it’s commercial time. When the French buy up an American series, they usually show it two episodes at a time in order to take up the same slot one episode would have taken in the U.S.  I remember how annoyed I was with the programming when I came back to visit the U.S.- the shows would just cut out every five minutes for a commercial. Sometimes I didn’t even realize we weren’t watching my show anymore! #easilyconfusesdpeople

Paid-At-Home-Moms One of the biggest reasons I love living in France is that the French government attributes ‘family allocations’ – basically a kind of salary if one parent decides to stay home and raise the children. Men have just as much right to this as women. For four years I was a paid-at-home-mom and was able to raise three beautiful children, which is something (with the price of childcare and medical expenses) I’m not sure I would have been able to do in the United States.

My Husband Because I’d be in trouble if I wrote a list of things I love about France and didn’t include my French husband J

Thanks for having me Laura! I’ll be sure to hang out and answer any questions in the comment’s section. Can’t wait to read ‘A Spy Like Me’!


Thanks Katie! I love your posts about living in France.

No giveaway today but check out the three still happening.

Gemma Halliday and Hollywood Scandals
Anne R. Allent and The Gatsby Game
Elisa Ludwig and Pretty Crooked

Come back tomorrow for Elena Andrews and her young adult thriller, Run Like Hell! Every teen’s nightmare come true.

Feel free to ask Katie about living in France!


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Want a sneak peek into the next three weeks of Spies, Murder and Mystery?

So the posts are rolling in and I’m loving what I’m reading and can’t wait to share it with all of you in the next three weeks.


What? Haven’t you heard?

To celebrate A Spy Like Me I’m holding a 3 week Spies, Murder and Mystery Marathon.

Read more about it here.

But here are some sneak peeks!

Six common challenges when writing a traditional mystery and some ideas for getting around them, by the fabulous Elizabeth Spann Craig, author of Quilt or Innocence.

Don’t miss it!

What does the Deepwater oil spill, the European debt crisis and the barefoot bandit have to do with Elisa Ludwig’s YA debut, Pretty Crooked?

You’ll have to wait to find out!

When does a 13-year-old author find the time to write? And what do his teachers and friends think?

Spencer Brokaw of The Impenetrable Spy tells all.

Teddy bear cams, rearview sunglasses, listening ears, video pens – all needed spy equipment.

Find out how Gina Robinson uses them in her fiction, The Spy Who Left Me.

Hollywood scandal inspires Anne R. Allen to write The Gatsby Game.

Curious about which scandal? Return next week!

Becca Puglisi, co-author of The Emotion Thesaurus talks about cake, er, I mean sub-plotting and editing.

Don’t miss out!

That’s just a taste of what’s coming. More great authors. Terrific info! Lots of stories behind the stories. And, of course, book giveaways!

See you next week!

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