The Art of Writing Fashionable Mysteries
Setting a book in the fashion world was never something I imagined myself doing! Despite working as a fashion model all throughout my twenties (and a bit more), I can hardly claim that hemlines and high heels make my heart race.
A good mystery, on the other hand, is something that I’ve always loved! It started with watching Scooby-Doo on Saturday mornings, before quickly moving on to Agatha Christie; once I’d cracked open And Then There Were None there was no turning back from the genre.
So why fashion? Or, more precisely, why fashion(able) mysteries?
Ease, I guess…and more than a nod to that old cliché, write about what you know…
When I wrote the first notes about my sixteen-year-old detective, Axelle Anderson, I was living in Paris, France, doing a short stint as PA to fashion designer John Galliano (then designing for the fashion house Christian Dior), so the fashion world was more on my mind than ever, and the idea of a fashion mystery took hold straight away.
Then later, once I actually sat down and began to write Model Undercover: Paris, I was more than thankful for the chance to place my detective in a world I knew I could realistically create.
If truth be told, during my modeling days, the thought had often crossed my mind that the intimate atmosphere and closed set of a fashion shoot would lend itself perfectly as the setting of a mysterious crime – not that I’d been wishing someone would keel over while I was on set (!), but, you get my drift…
Furthermore, fashion is a cliquey, pacey world full of long-standing rivalries, friendships, eccentricity, gossip, and good old-fashioned competition. It’s ripe with challenging opportunities for a spunky young detective to test her mettle against. And surrounded by so much temptation she’d also be continuously forced to ask herself what it is she values – or doesn’t.
I’m starting the third book in the Model Undercover series now, and by this point I really enjoy writing about fashion. Seen through the eyes of my detective, for whom fashion is nothing more than a chaotic environment that offers up lots of juicy mysteries for her to solve, I keep a healthy – and ironic – distance to it, while still having fun. Furthermore, I find it exciting to recycle the fashion memories I’d kept filed away for so long.
So, do hemlines and high heels interest me more now as a writer than as a model?
Actually, yes, they do! It’s all fun research now, Dahling!
And am I as in love with the mystery genre as ever?
Yes, absolutely!!! Although I’m now willing to grant that high heels can (sometimes) make the perfect accessory to a magnifying glass!
By Carina Axelsson
Publisher’s synopsis: Nancy Drew meets The Devil Wears Prada in the debut of this action-packed mystery series
Axelle Andersen wants nothing more than to be a teen-sleuth despite the influence of her pushy fashionista aunt,Venetia. So when top fashion designer Belle La Lune goes missing, and Aunt Venetia becomes a prime suspect, Axelle must go undercover as a model during Paris Fashion Week to uncover the truth behind Belle’s disappearance and clear her aunt’s name. She’s thrust into a frenetic world of castings, photo shoots, and sequins, while struggling to fit in and track down clues. Can Axelle solve a kidnapping and survive the world of fashion?
Ages 10-14 | Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky | Jul. 1, 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1402285875
About the Author
Carina Axelsson is half Swedish and half Mexican, and was born and raised in Northern California. After high school she moved to New York City to model, then on to Paris where she wrote and illustrated her first book, Nigel of Hyde Park.
Her experience in the world of fashion is now inspiring many of the scenes in her new detective series, Model Undercover.
Carina lives in the forests of Western Germany with her boyfriend and four dogs.
For more information about Carina Axelsson, please visit her website: carinaaxelsson.com