I write for a specific audience — horse lovers, cat lovers, mystery lovers. They say a key component to successful writing is to know your audience before you put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. Knowing what your audience like to read, and more importantly, what they don’t, is crucial to reaching your target audience.
My typical reader is generally over 40 years old, female, animal lover, intrigued by mysteries and a solver of puzzles. She wants the mystery to unfold fairly quickly and move along at a steady pace. A plot-driven, rather than character-driven, novel is her preference, with a protagonist who is relatable and brave, often self-sacrificing —one she can root for.
The mysteries I write fall into the “cozy” genre, with an amateur sleuth. In Dangerous Turf and Three to One Odds, the amateur sleuth is Tonya Callahan. Like all sleuths in cozies, she solves the mysteries using her brain and intuition to put clues together and smoke out the baddies. Mystery readers like to solve the puzzle along with the sleuth, putting together the same clues and events.
Cozy mysteries generally contain no sex, violence (the murders happen offstage), horror, blood and gore, f-bombs, or alien lifeforms. In my books, there is a bit of sweet romance, mild profanity, and an exciting, realistic setting —the world of Thoroughbred racing. I believe my readers have a desire to escape a world of sex, violence and profanity and immerse themselves in a kinder, gentler place with characters who pursue justice and who want to put the world to rights again.
The horses and cats in my books play major roles. Each one has a distinct personality and each one has a personal impact on Tonya. But the horses are still horses and act like horses. The same goes for the cats. Talking animals are not part of this genre.
Basically, I write what I would want to read and hope there are enough people out there with similar tastes.