Mystery or Romance?

I’m sitting at the Newark airport and it’s just too darn noisy to do a vlog, so I decided to blog instead. The release of my sixth novel is just days away and, since this book, Slingshot, represents a bit of a departure for me, I thought I’d start a discussion and have a drawing for a free book for anyone who chimes in.

Those of you who’ve read my work before, know that I generally write romance with a dash of intrigue. Slingshot is a mystery with a bit of romance sprinkled in. It’s a series, which means my readers won’t get a happily ever after, at least not in this, the first book in the series. So, here’s the question: do you like to read mystery, romance, or both and why? For all the writers out there, which do you prefer to write? I’ll do a drawing for a copy of Slingshot next week – live with Donovan 🙂 Just leave a comment by noon on Sunday, May 27th.

77 comments

  1. Occasionally I want a HEA book. Those are the times when I feel a little lonely or sad, and am looking for a feel-good experience. But, those are the exception. Generally when I read stories I am interested in something different, that is a puzzle to be solved or to witness a character overcome a challenge (internal or external). The same is true when I write. I don’t end the book when the characters finally get together. There is a vast landscape of living beyond that point, and that’s what I find intriguing to explore.

    Congrats on your new book – I hope it does great!

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  2. read both, prefer romance with a little intrigue. waiting for the next installment of a series is torture, but usually well worth it. can’t wait to read #1!

    ~allie

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  3. I read both, but probably more mystery than romance. I really enjoy books that combine the two and so looking forward to Slingshot. Mystery gets my mind going and I love to solve puzzles. Romance is relaxing and is more like mind candy for me. So, both feed different needs and both help me relax which is a large reason I read to escape from the busyness and stress of life.

    Anita Bradshaw

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  4. Since this is a question I also struggle with, I’ll chime in–I want both. I want a good, fully-fleshed mystery, featuring strong lesbian characters, and in each book I want a level of romance that fits with the story. I don’t want an occasional sex scene, and I don’t want the romance limited to superficial interactions–I want characters who grow and change and love, all interwoven with captivating mysteries. Impossible?

    Seriously, my idea of perfection would be a series that isn’t restricted by genre…Book One could be character heavy, book two plot heavy, and so on. One book primarily romance, if the progression of the series arc supports it, the next book mystery-driven because something within that storyline is needed to advance and inform the characters. I know this sort of fluidity is frowned upon, because genre parameters are fairly strict–but as a reader, I don’t know why. And as a writer I simply cannot make my story lines conform.

    I don’t know if the rules are so fixed because mystery readers don’t care for romance, or vice versa, or because traditional book length isn’t long enough to flesh out both sides of a hybrid story. I just know what I like, and what my brain keeps insisting upon. Guess we’ll see what the future brings.

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    • Great comments. I’ve never felt restricted by the various genres, but I do think that not every book will fit everyone’s expectations. I’m having extra fun writing a series, because I can focus on different aspects of the main character in each book without leaving the reader feeling like I’m heading in too many different directions at once. Thanks for chiming in.

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  5. Honesty behooves me (isn’t that a wonderful word? – behooves) to confess that I haven’t read anything of yours, although I’ve followed, and enjoyed your vlogging for a while now.
    Romance isn’t my cuppa tea, but a mystery, with a bit of romance on the side? I’m in.
    P.S. that’s one hot looking cover!

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  6. Both! cause you write both and i want to be like you if/when i grow up! Really though i started out as just a romance reader because i thought that a mystery would overshadow the romance in a bad way. When I finally read a book that had a mystery element too I found that I had short changed myself. The mystery brought the book to whole new level of greatness.

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  7. I really enjoy mystery and intrigue. I hate it if I can figure everything out before the fat lady sings! A dash of romance in the mix adds a little sizzle to the mix, and who doesn’t like a pinch of this and a dash of that to spice up there main course.. The only down side is a series… If you enjoy too much of the main course, and don’t leave room for the course that follows… You’re stuck until you make room for more, or in this case, the other puts out the next course!!! Patience is a virtue. I’m working on it, but I still haven’t learned to pace myself so I’m not waiting an eternity to see the outcome. ;( 🙂

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    • Okay, all this talk of courses made me hungry 🙂 I understand what you mean about series books. I’m committed to putting out a book a year in the series, but I get that even a year wait can be long. I just hope after reading the first one, folks are hungry for another.

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    • I read a lot of mainstream mystery as well, although I also read pretty much all the lesfic mystery that’s out there first. Thanks for commenting.

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  8. I enjoy both genres and don’t mind at all when they mix iin the same book as long as it is well written. I like the mind game trying to figure out the mystery as well as the character development between the main characters….what they find attractive in one another, what stands on their way to HEA etc.

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  9. I like both, intrigue and romance woven together, solving the mystery in the novel as well as the mystery of a relationship.

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    • Good point about the mystery of the relationship. I like that aspect of romance novels – how will the characters find their way to each other and their happily ever after.

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  10. Can’t wait to start this series! Howdid you come up with the name “Slingshot”? Something to think about already.

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    • Thanks, Joanna. I started the series with a short story/prequel in Women of the Mean Streets titled Boomerang. The title of the first story reflects a subtle theme of that story, and I decided to continue using names of weapons for the titles of the series. Each one will have some relation to the story line. After Slingshot, comes Battle Axe. I’m still working on title 3.

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  11. romance…dont want to keep guessing or figure out…do that on the daily. i want to dream away when i read..be swept away

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  12. I read both – romance when i can only pick it up for a few minutes at a time (eg at work or during short comutes) but for the long plane rides or a day of reading then the mysteries kick in. Although combining both in a series keeps me reading until the series is finished and re-reading the beginning ones as the next comes. That’s the absolute best !!!!!!!

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  13. Well that’s a difficult question, because I like to read anything with romance thrown in. It can be mystery, action, paranormal etc, as long as the romance aspect is touched upon. Of course, I adore the romance based stories, because it feeds that romantic bone in my body, it’s definitely my quick fix. But I actually enjoy a series more, because it keeps me on edge, wondering, anticipating and excited for the next book to release AND I don’t have to say goodbye to characters I may love . Patience is difficult for me, but its usually always worth the wait..

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    • It is a delicate balance between romantic intrigue, in which the romance is the main course, to mystery, where the romance, if there is one, is a side dish.

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  14. I enjoy a well crafted book in almost any genre. A good mystery with a bit of romance mixed in can be just as enjoyable to me as a good romance with some mystery mixed in as long as the story is well written and not too predictable. I like a bit of a challenge in what I read so that I don’t know what it will end like when I am only half way through the book. Lucky for me that your books have always satisfied me!

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  15. I read both, and enjoy when books contain both. I enjoy the suspense and action in a mystery. Until this past summer I would not think of myself as a romance reader, yet I am looking forward to the new releases of June. Slingshoy being at the top of the list. Not only summer, but lots of new reads:)

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  16. I enjoy both the intrigue of a crafty mystery and a romance with strong lesbian characters. The development of the romance is hopefully is believable. The love scenes should be detailed for me and more than one.

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  17. Great cover! I’m looking forward to this upcoming release from my favorite LesFic author! Carsen rocks!

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  18. I enjoy both sometimes I want a really good romance and other times I want something more challenging that has me trying to figure out the who, whats and wheres. Love on the side doesn’t hurt… 🙂 It’s all good when its a Carson Tate book. I got my copy of Slingshot in the mail today…How does it get any better than that? Well a signed copy by the author of course!!

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  19. I always want a HEA, but then I am a romance kind of girl. Mind you a good mystery to get the blood flowing is also a welcomed adventure. Having said this, whatever you write I will enjoy, that is a given.

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  20. I have enjoyed all your books so far, as for romance when you are looking for it and can’t find it happily ever after gets old….

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  21. Hea is always good. My preferred choices are Romance, scifi, paranormal Fantasy, but for a Carson taite Mystery i drop anything Else … Lol can’t wait for the release.

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  22. Try as I might I just don’t have the gene for romance, though I do like mysteries with budding love interests in both what I write and read. Looking forward to Slingshot as it will be my first taste of Taite!

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  23. Carsen, I have read all of your books, and most recently your short story in Women of the Mean Streets. I am all about books with mystery, intrigue and romance thrown in the mix. I’m happy to hear Slingshot is nearing release. Thank you!

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  24. I love both, always have since I was a child. To write I prefer a romance because to write a mystery takes a lot of plotting. My fave mystery writer was Dorothy Sayers.
    Thanks for the great question, Sherri

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  25. Just wanted to drop a short line. I agree with the Finn Jackson comments. Like both, but go ahead and keep us guessing. Best wishes for you and the series.

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  26. I love Romance. I really like a good mystery. And the mood I’m in at the time determines what I’ll buy but so far there are more romances than mysteries in my lesfic library. And the thing I will fall for every time in any genre is sharp, witty dialog. If the characters have a bit of snap to their conversations I’m a goner. Think of a cross between Ann McMan and Aaron Sorkin.

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  27. Oops! Obviously I can’t read. I didn’t answer your question… I love romance. If I do read a mystery, I like romance included. 🙂 I’m a “happily ever after” butch. What can I say? Thanks, Carsen! Like I said, if I win, the book goes to Phyllis. I plan on getting the ebook once it’s released!

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  28. I’m a reader of mystery, thrillers, sci-fi and fantasy. My prerequisites for any book is that they have a strong female lead and that they be well-written and well-edited. What I can’t stand in _any_ book is how a plot may come to a screeching halt when the author decides to throw in a sex scene… and another… and another… and another. It makes sense for purely romance books but if it’s billed as mystery/thriller/sci-fi or fantasy fiction, stopping the plot for sex seems gratuitous to me (I read, roughly, a book a day depending on length).

    As it stands, it’s getting difficult for me to find any book that _doesn’t_ have some aspect of romance in it, so, if I’m going to read romance, I prefer the kind that represents me–lesbian fiction.

    I’m excited to read your next offering and am hoping that I won’t have to skip too much of the text (I mostly skim sex scenes these days) to keep up with the plot. 🙂

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