I write stories, but I don’t write fiction. Everybody and everything has a story and I’m always trying to find the story behind the facts when I write an article, an interview or a blog post.
A while ago I was toying with the idea of writing a real story. A fictional story. But what will I write about? I always thought a story has to come to you; you can’t chase it or make it up. You have to wait for it. Once the storyline or plot or main character has revealed itself to you, you can then go on and find the rest of the story.
I thought about using my normal milieu of craft and needlework as a setting and write some Craft Fiction. You know, a story about a group of stitching ladies solving a murder in between knitting a sweater and finishing their next cross-stitch. Nothing too ‘out there’…
To kick things off I decided to do some research into the topic. Are there any craft fiction about? Would anybody read it? Would anybody sell it? And more importantly, would anybody publish it? What I found is quite astounding. There’s heaps of craft fiction out there! I promptly set off to the library to lay my hands on some. I took two books home to read.
The first one, by Monica Ferris, is called Knitting Bones, and is book eleven in a 16-book series called Needlecraft Mysteries. Some other titles in the series are Crewel World, Framed in Lace, Hanging by a Thread and Cutwork. Did you have any idea that needlework terms could sound so menacing? These books centre on an amateur detective called Betsy Devonshire, who owns and runs a needlework shop called Crewel World. When Betsy is not busy with knitting or embroidery, she solves murders and other mysteries.
As I did not start at the beginning of the series, it took me a while to get into the book and familiar with all the characters. I normally like mystery/detective stories, but I have to admit that this is not one of my favourites. The story and plotline is quite good, but I got the feeling that the whole needlework theme is a bit forced. It goes into lengthy explanations of knitting patterns and embroidery designs, which really does not add anything to the story.
I will probably read one more book in the series, just to see if my first impressions are correct, but I don’t think I will work my way through all 16 books.
The second book I read is called The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. The book centers on Georgia Walker and her daughter Dakota, who (you guessed it) owns a yarn shop in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The Friday Night Knitting Club is a group of yarn shop regulars who get together on a Friday evening to … ah… knit. This is not a mystery novel and there are no murders to solve. It is actually a great book about human relationships, love and friendship. It is not a genre I usually read, but I really enjoyed the book. I think it is well written, with great characters and the references to yarn, knitting and needlework fitted in quite naturally.
The book is the first in a series of three books, but it stands on its own very well and feels like a complete story.
Other Craft Fiction authors I discovered but have not read yet are:
Claire La Zebnik
Nicole R Dickson
Do you read Craft Fiction? Who is your favourite author?