Although I’m officially new to the romantic suspense genre with “Learning To Trust,” all my books seem to have an element of suspense or thriller. I just don’t seem to be able to help myself. I find the element of danger heightens and intensifies the romance.
When I started to write my historical “Richard and Rose” series, I originally meant to write a series of books set in a pre-police era (the police force in the UK was set up in 1832 in London). I wanted my hero to be a quiet, self effacing minor aristocrat, perhaps a baron, and the heroine equally self effacing. What I ended up with was a rip-roaring tour through mid eighteenth century English high society, with a hero who wouldn’t know self-effacing if it slapped him in the face, and a heroine who had to learn how to keep up with him, because he needed her more than life, and it frightened her to death. I still have hopes of writing the other series.
Then I started to write Pure Wildfire, about a rock band who happen to be shape-shifting firebirds. And a villain popped up who I couldn’t resist, a man who wanted it all, and would give the world to get it.
I can’t get away from it. I even won a major romantic suspense award for a Richard and Rose book.
But the first romantic suspense I set out to write, “Learning to Trust,” slipped under my radar. I had no idea it would turn out like that, but as I did more research, it became obvious to me where the book had to go. I just completed the second book, and now I have to wait and see. Keeping tabs on the plot proved a major challenge, and as a result, I’ve changed the way I write.
I’ve always written a plan for my books, but usually, they are one or two pages long, and outline the main events, internal (the emotional journey) and the external (all the stuff that happens to the hero and heroine along the way). Now I’m starting to do a more detailed plan, so that everything that happens works in order, and I don’t leave myself with plot holes I have to go back later to fill.
But what I really want to write is romance. Everything I write is about a developing relationship, how it starts, goes along and finishes, and since I write romances, the happy ending is guaranteed. It’s the journey that counts. And the romance is the centre of the story, always. It took me a few attempts to realise that the romance of the thing. So many delicious variations to write about, it’s so easy to let the setting and the situation overwhelm the romance. And I did, until I learned that when you write romance, it’s the romance the readers want, and not some rush around a wonderful city or a mysterious dungeon with a bit of sex thrown in for good measure.