The Next Blockbuster – Guaranteed

Week Five of the Writer’s Blog Hop, and the topic is: what’s your favourite genre? To read what other bloggers have to say on the subject, click here:

blog-hop-for-writers2

As for me, I never made a conscious decision to write in a certain genre. When I sat down to create my first novel, that’s just the way the story turned out. I’m not sure why – it’s a mystery. Or, at least, a romantic suspense.  My second, third and fourth novels turned out the same way, so I guess I’m pretty much stuck writing in this field.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Romantic suspense novels have always been my favourite to read, so clearly the elements of that spine-tingling (and heart-thudding) genre have long been deeply ingrained in my psyche, just waiting to come out when I put fingers to keys.

the watcher 9bThere’s something about suspense – not as mind-pretzeling as a mystery, or as gory as a horror, or as unrelenting as a thriller, yet with the ability to have you sliding, almost without realizing it, from the back to the edge of your seat, clutching your poor paperback in a white-knuckled grip as you go.

How many times, for example, have you flipped page after page, desperate to find out if the love-struck CSIS agents will discover who is threatening the Prime Minister and his family, and stop whoever it is from invading Parliament Hill in a diabolical attempt to take control of the free world, before it’s too late? (Seriously, how come no one has ever written a screenplay like that? I guess because Parliament Hill Down just doesn’t have the same ring to it, or maybe because the general response of the world—and an alarming number of Canadians—would be: Parliament Hill? What’s that?)

250px-Parliament_Hill,_OttawaAnd of course you really can’t go wrong, ever, with a good, romantic story-line. Pair that with adrenaline-pumping suspense and you’d have a guaranteed winner on your hands if, in fact, such a thing existed in the publishing world.

Of course, the writing does need to be really strong in order for the suspense line to be credible and actually result in that white-knuckled grip, and the characters must be real, flawed, and authentic, while still appealing enough that the reader actually cares whether or not they—and the free world in general—survive.

As for the romantic storyline, while the inciting of some flu-like symptoms—heart palpitations, racing pulse, sweating palms and rising temperatures—is acceptable, even desirable, the instigating of others—most notably nausea and vomiting—is severely frowned upon. It’s a delicate, but desperately important, balance.

So it’s not an easy genre to write in, which shouldn’t be surprising as there really are no easy genres to write in.  Striking that critical balance between heart-stopping suspense and heart-wrenching romance is difficult, but it is the challenge of it that keeps me going.

That and the sudden urge I have to write a romantic-suspense novel about Ottawa being attacked by aliens from outer space. I could call it Canada Day. Now that does have a nice ring to it.

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21 Responses to The Next Blockbuster – Guaranteed

  1. I haven’t read a romantic suspense in a while. They were my favorites for a period of time. Your post has stirred the desires again. 🙂 Thanks!

    -RB

  2. Tracy Krauss says:

    I write in this genre too! Who doesn’t love a good twist?

  3. Susan says:

    I used to read lots of romantic suspense (think Phyllis Whitney); now I tend to enjoy cozy mysteries – they often have a little romance thrown in as well 🙂

  4. Your reference to nausea in reference to the romance part of the plot makes me chuckle. So many romance novels bring up exactly that reaction in me… one reason I could never write primarily romance. I do love a good romantic thread but with a subtlety and suspense of its own.

  5. Amanda Quick is a favorite romantic suspense/mystery writer for me. Christina Dodd is another… Thanks!

  6. Sara, Thanks for sharing about romantic suspense/mystery. I enjoy reading this genre and am going to have to check out your books 🙂

  7. Hi Sara, I think I’ll add The Watcher to my list. It sounds fascinating and it will be my first romantic suspense!

    • Sara Davison says:

      Oh good, so that’s not too much pressure for me 🙂 Just to throw a little of that pressure back your way, you’d likely be the first Australian to read my book, so you’d be representing your country! If you do, hope you enjoy it!

  8. The Watcher is a fun read (well, not so fun in the parts that aren’t meant to be fun!). Well done, Sara.

    And I’m with Violet about too high a dose of romance without lots more interesting things going on in the foreground! It can get very angsty too. But a bit of romance as an understated subplot adds an extra layer of satisfaction.

  9. I love how you explain the difference between romantic suspense and other similar genres. Seems you hit the nail right on the head.
    I too enjoyed The Watcher and look forward to reading more of your work. (If only I didn’t need sleep . . .)
    Thanks so much for sharing your insights, Sara. Hope to see you at the conference in June.

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