Lee Cunningham Novels

Layers to the story are so important!

At a book signing a lady asked me to explain my writing style. Specifically, she asked, “Why do your construct your characters with so many layers, and your plots with so many twists and turns?”

As a prolific reader, I had become bored with the action figure who sweeps in and saves the day, always successfully navigating through a barrage of gunfire, explosions and failed attempted assassinations. He or she ususally has the quick romance during the process and rides off into the sunset with or without the newfound love. You can only tell that story so many times without it losing the reader’s interest and appreciation.

Life is full of love, disappointment, heartbreak, triumph and defeat, involving black and white choices tainted with all shades of grey. To me, the tale is more interesting when characters have depth and flaws, and when they lose a few battles as they fight through life’s struggles. But the depth of many characters requires time and space to build, and thus I chose a series.

In the novels that comprise The Beckettt Cypher Series, I weave in real life experiences, blending crimes and problems we currently face in the modern world. Although the series is not political, people with rigid, politically constructed mind-sets may not appreciate truthful depictions involving drug and human trafficking, gangs, corrupt politicians or shadow governments, even though all those problems truly exist and diminish everyone’s quality of life. I tell it like I saw it, see it, and know it to exist.

Similarly, I build complex characters often seeking passionately committed relationships, who occassionally deal with betrayal and love that goes wrong. This is the reality of the life we all know. But once again, a reader with a mindset seeking a more superficial and fast-paced action read may not appreciate space spent in developing a romance or saving family members from themselves.

In short, I build both the plot and my characters, the good and the bad, much like stories and people I have known in life. My fictional people and circumstances usually have some roots in reality. My heroic figures may lose loves and be injured, unable to always avoid the pain of life. My stories are plausible, as much of the plot has happened, is happening now, or can happen in the near future.

I try to design a fictional reality that will tug at the strings of your heart and conscience, urging you to confront life to decide what you believe is good or bad, honourable or immoral. If I am successful the end product will entertain and stretch me and many of my readers. Such readers share my appreciation for the real side of life, amidst all the intrigue, action and adventure.

But still, others may not appreciate the detail and depth in my people, the plot or the romance. And I respect their decisions to move on to faster-paced, less complex, more superficial, quickly entertaining reads. We all should read what we enjoy!

I hope you enjoy my series. Several murder mysteries will be included in the next books in the series, as The Beckett team navigates through their challenges. The first of these murders, based on an actual case, is chilling, as it looks into the heart and mind of a prolific serial killer. The murders, like the plots that contain them, will have unexpected twists and turns, packed with surprises.

Please enjoy whatever you choose to read. And please contact me on my website with feedback!

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