I admit it.
I just started reading Murder Most Frothy. Upon opening the book I was confronted with *gasp* a brief prologue in which the anonymous killer is shooting the hapless victim. I got through the first couple paragraphs (paragraphs about gun models, bullet calibers, etc.) and had the immediate thought: Cleo Coyle is a pen name and the author is a dude.
I have no problem with dude writers–in fact I read quite a lot of dudes. And, in fact, I immediately liked this book better than the previously-read, obviously-written-by-a-woman Scrub-a-Dub Dead. Am I being sexist? Yes, but the response is important, I think.
Immediately I flipped to the About the Author section in which I learned that “Cleo Coyle” is indeed a pen name–for a husband and wife team. So I was at least half right. A dude was definitely involved in the writing of this book.
Does this mean that women can’t write spectacular scenes that also explain gun makes and models? Hell no. (In fact, I don’t know that the wife portion of the team didn’t write the prologue, I’m just sexistly assuming.) It just means that there is a different sound to the writing in this particular book that reads more masculine. I’m not making any judgement call on it. But, as writers, I think that’s something to be aware of because it can affect your audience. There’s a chance that the masculine tone is even off-putting to some readers of the cozy mystery genre–which is predominately women.
Ali once posted a test where you inserted a piece of writing and it would tell you whether you were a girl or a boy. I consistently got ‘boy’–and I tried not to take it too personally. There are some famous and talented men writing out there somewhere. (Easy fellas! Just teasing.)
How about you? Do you lean toward reading a feminine voice or a masculine voice? How do you think your writing speaks to your readers? Manly Man? Gentlewoman? Troubled Teen?