Monday, February 12, 2018

Elements of a Mystery & Amber Hart's WICKED CHARM

Hi Everyone!

How many of you enjoy reading mysteries?

*raises of hands*
Shouts of "Ooh, me!"

Perfect! Because today I have a special guest who's, not only celebrating the release of her brand new book WICKED CHARM, but she's here to explore what makes up a good mystery. Read on as young adult author Amber Hart shares her thoughts on writing a mystery. Take it away Amber...
Mysteries are meant to invoke that what’s-going-to-happen-next, feeling. The most important elements of a mystery novel, for me, are that they’re unpredictable, exciting, and razor sharp. They keep you guessing. What difficulty will arise? Who is responsible? And setting is a big factor for me. The settings are usually eerie. Deserted roads. Sleepy islands. A sprawling, empty house. The setting itself becomes a living thing, with a heartbeat of its own. For Wicked Charm, it was a spooky swamp in the deep, dense woods. 

Let’s not forget that the characters are sly. A mystery never fails to give you a mischievous character. You can’t figure out what they’re really up to, and that’s a good thing. Parts of them are hidden and secrets are everywhere, little breadcrumbs to keep you going—the story unfolding at a slow but entrancing pace. Which makes everyone is a suspect. You can’t help wondering if each character has an ulterior motive. They probably do. Most do. The main characters in Wicked Charm, Willow and Beau, both live where all of the murders are happening, and especially for Beau, this is problematic since he’s connected to the victims. The characters often get inside your head. They cut straight through and make you think. I wanted the reader to question everything they thought they knew about Willow and Beau, and the other characters as well. There are often surprise twists. It was important to me to keep the budding friendships, romance, family ties, and eerie setting, while still making the reader look over their shoulder, wondering what’s coming next. The killer could be anyone. Even Willow or Beau. You’ll have to read Wicked Charm to find out. 

Thanks for having me and allowing me tell you a little about Wicked Charm! I hope you love it as much as I do.

You're welcome, Amber! Such an intriguing view into writing mysteries and how those elements draw readers in. Thank you for sharing.

Now, let's take a peek at her beautiful book baby. From the moment I saw this cover (& read the blurb) I knew it had to appear on Writer's Alley. 


Wicked Charm 
by Amber Hart
Publication Date: January 30, 2018 
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Nothing good comes from living in the Devil's swamp.

Willow Bell thinks moving to the Okefenokee area isn't half bad, but nothing prepares her for what awaits in the shadows of the bog.

Girls are showing up dead in the swamp. And she could be next.

Everyone warns Willow to stay away from Beau Cadwell—the bad boy at the top of their suspect list as the serial killer tormenting the small town.

But beneath his wicked, depthless eyes, there's something else that draws Willow to him.

When yet another girl he knew dies, though, Willow questions whether she can trust her instincts…or if they're leading to her own death.

Amber Hart resides on the Florida coastline with family and a plethora of animals she affectionately refers to as her urban farm. When unable to find a book, she can be found
writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She's the author of several novels for teens and adults, including Wicked Charm, the Before & After series, and the Untamed series. Rep'd by Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group.

For more on Amber and her fabulous new book baby, check out her other tour stops or visit her on social media.

So readers, what's your favorite mystery novel?


  1. Great setting for a mystery. And yes, everyone has an ulterior motive whether they admit it or not.

  2. I love mysteries, too! Unpredictability is the key to a good one.

  3. Congratulations on your book, Amber! It sounds wonderful!

  4. Congrats! Excellent cover. And keeping the reader guessing is key.

  5. Nice cover! Congrats to Amber.

  6. I love mysteries. :) Nice to hear from Amber. Wishing her all the best with Wicked Charm.


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