Guest Post: Kate Lansing

Fictional Mysteristas

Thanks for having me as a guest blogger, Mysteristas! I’m super excited to be here, and even more excited about this month’s theme of rebels.

Rebellious characters will always have a special place in my heart. I’m talking about those renegade BNGindividuals who have inspired us, stirred something inside of us, and perhaps given us a fresh perspective on the world.

While writing my cozy mystery, I’ve striven to inject some of the characteristics that I especially admire about rebels into my main character. But that begs the question: what exactly is it about these rebels that makes them so likable?

One of the best ways to grow as a writer is to read. A LOT. So, in the interest of research, here are some of my favorite rebellious sleuths (fictional Mysteristas, if you will) and why I think they’re so fun:

Lady Emily (Lady Emily Series by Tasha Alexander): As a free-spirited, port-drinking, society-shirking woman who constantly clashes with her mother, what’s not to love about Lady Emily? The death of her new husband leaves her with freedoms not usually accessible to women at that time period, of which Emily readily takes advantage. Not only that, but she’s smart (an avid reader!), caring, and determined to do everything in her power in search of the truth.

Flavia de Luce (Flavia de Luce Series by Alan Bradley): Flavia is a feisty 11-year-old with a passion for chemistry, an insatiable curiosity, and a constant desire for retribution against her sisters. What makes Flavia especially interesting, though, is that she plays into the fact that people don’t always see her. She’s continually dismissed for being a child, but instead of being upset about this, she shrewdly leverages the oversight when solving mysteries and, in doing so, takes tenacity to a whole new level.

Cassie Maddox (Dublin Murder Squad Series by Tana French): Admittedly, I’ve only read the first book in this series (which I hope to correct soon!) but I was so impressed by Cassie’s character. She may be the only woman on the Dublin Murder Squad, but she’s just as tough as (arguably tougher than) the guys, and yet she still has a feminine side. The end of In the Woods really struck me. She set aside her personal feelings and had the courage to do what was right. In short, she’s a badass.

Robin Ellacott (Cormoran Strike Series by Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling): Now, I know she isn’t the main sleuth in this series, but Robin is still an incredibly strong character. She’s a detective-in-training, Strike’s second, and without her there would be no mysteries solved. She starts off as a temp secretary, quickly establishing herself as a linchpin, and soon indulges in her dream to become a detective, despite her fiancé’s less-than-enthusiastic feelings about the matter. I can’t wait to see her play an even bigger role in future books as she hones her sleuthing skills!

Nichelle Clark (Headline in High Heels Mysteries by LynDee Walker): Nichelle is a successful newspaper reporter with a knack for knowing when there’s more to a story, and a competitive streak that makes her desperate to beat her rivals to the scoop. She throws herself into every investigation in search of the truth, all while wearing fabulous footwear. She refuses to be dissuaded, even by her handsome mobster “friend” or her ATF agent ex-boyfriend. She doesn’t let anyone stand in her way!

Who are your favorite rebellious characters? Why do you think they resonate with you? How do you write likable rebels?


Kate Lansing writes cozy mysteries and short fiction. Kate is an award-winning short story author whose work has appeared in the Brave New Girls Anthology and the Crossing Colfax Anthology. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime and the Mystery Writers of America, volunteering as the Co-Director of Social Media for the Rocky Mountain chapter. Kate graduated from CU Boulder with an Applied Math degree and currently lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and a chair-napping tabby cat named Maple.



12 thoughts on “Guest Post: Kate Lansing”

  1. Hi Kate, welcome to Mysteristas and thanks for a wonderfully rebel reminder post! I had put off reading the JK Rowling book – no reason, I think she is a brilliant writer, but I think I wasn’t ready to give up Harry yet. Now JK has risen to the top of my TPR. Thank you! My favorite rebel is my first, and she doesn’t write mysteries, but children’s books. It’s Louisa May Alcott’s Jo March. I always think of her as a corked bottle of champagne that someone shook. She’s very innovative, follows her heart, but still manages to keep most of herself in the confines of her time. My fascination with her is sending me to Amazon right now for Lady Emily. Sounds like they share some great traits.


  2. Welcome, Kate. I’m another who’s been intending to read the Galbraith novels. Just haven’t gotten around to it. I think the key to a successful rebel is two parts: they need to have a really good reason for rebelling and they need to be smart about it. I’ve gotten very turned off by characters who rebel for no other reason than “they want to” and unnecessarily hurt a lot of people in the process. It’s too early for me to think of a list, but any character who refuses to be pigeon-holed and stands up against the crowd for what he/she believes in will always win a piece of my heart.


  3. Thanks, Kait!! I’m a big fan of JK Rowling’s mysteries–her characters are lovable and reminiscent of HP (especially Strike, who I picture as a younger Mad-Eye Moody). Jo March is a fantastic character, and definitely fits the rebel build! (Did you hear the CW is making a dystopian adaptation of Little Women? Curious…). I love reading about rebellious women from different time periods; it’s always interesting to see the societal norms that confine them and how they push the boundaries. Hope you enjoy the Lady Emily series!


  4. Thank you, Mary! Ooh, those are fantastic points. I agree, poor character motivation in general can be a turn off, even more so when we’re talking about a rebel who’s potentially putting others at risk. Having the smarts to pull off their renegade activities is a must. I find rebels who recognize the best way to fight for their cause is for someone else to be in the spotlight, a la The Dark Knight, especially interesting. It proves that they’re selfless, that they’re sparking rebellion for the right reason.


  5. Kate, I agree about learning through reading a LOT. Best lesson for writers. Great post!

    And Kimberly, I discovered Veronica Mars in the past few years and yes, totally agree. She captures it all. Love her!


  6. LOVE this post. Thanks, Kate!

    Right now, my favorite rebellious sleuths are the members of The Bletchley Circle… just bingewatched both seasons on Netflix and am crushed that there will be no more of them.


  7. Thank you, ladies!! 🙂 Kimberly, I have a confession to make: I’ve never watched Veronica Mars. But you and Diane have convinced me that it’s high time I give it a shot!

    Ooh, Cynthia, I’ve never heard of Bletchley Circle, but it sounds fantastic! I definitely see some binge-watching in my future… 😉


  8. Super rebellious characters! I am reading an 11th century historical fiction now about Emma of Normandy who married King Aethelred of Wessex. Emma was never supposed to talk back to the king, but of course she didn’t. No story, otherwise!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s