"So, do you write romance or suspense?" (The story of how Tangled Deceit came to be)

This was the question a male friend of mine asked the other day. He’d read Tangled Deceit and in his opinion, it’s a romance. And technically, he’s right. There’s a bit of mystery involved, but it’s not the kind of suspense you’ll find in The Secrets He Kept.

The description of The Secrets He Kept compared with what he’d read in Tangled Deceit had confused him as to exactly which genre I write. So I decided that I would clear it up, for his benefit and yours.

I write romantic suspense. Tangled Deceit is actually the cleaned up, modernized version of a story I’d written years ago. When I’d had my first son, I was a stay at home mother. My then-husband and I weren’t exactly the most romantic of couples, so I felt like something was missing in my life. And I had time to kill while he was at work and my son was napping, since my house was already clean and I had no car to go anywhere.

So, I decided to write a romance novel. Tangled Deceit‘s original title was Unfinished Business. I wrote it over several months while my son napped, or in the evenings after he’d gone to bed. Then, as it always does, life got in the way and it got set aside. Over the years, as computers died, the manuscript got saved first to floppy disks, then to CDs, and eventually a thumb drive. And one day earlier this year, as I was thinking about my son’s early days, I remembered writing it. So I dragged it out and read what I’d written. It was very clearly dated, with cell phones that had no texting, and payphones still fairly common (if you see a payphone, would you take a picture and email me? My kids have never seen one! lol). So I got busy, editing out the outdated technology and putting in newer stuff, and fixing the writing that (looking back on it now) I realize wasn’t so great at that time.

That was how Tangled Deceit came to be my first published novel. It was simply a matter of it being ready sooner than anything else. I’d had a few ideas I was working on, but none were going well. Then, after I’d officially published Tangled Deceit, the idea for The Secrets He Kept came to me. The writing for that one just flowed. I finished the first draft in less than a month. Editing (the part that I hate!) took longer.

But it was the difference between how easily I wrote the two that told me that romantic suspense was where I should stay. When I finished editing The Secrets He Kept, I started on another idea I’d come up with. But it was a straight romance, and it simply would not work for me. So, I began toying with another idea I’d had for a romantic suspense, and just like The Secrets He Kept, this one is flowing. I’ve been working on it for eight days and I’m already over 24,000 words in.

I love my romance. I do. I read romance quite often. And if a man gives me candles, roses, a quiet dinner and a moonlit drive – yep, I’m in. But romantic suspense is what I love to write. I love to read it as well, but writing it is just so much fun for me. I mean, really – is there any other way you get to kill people, kidnap them, toss them in a deep hole and walk away, send their car flying off a cliff or a bridge, and get away with it?

So that’s why I write romantic suspense. That’s what I will probably always write. If I come up with a great idea in another genre, I will certainly give it a shot, and if I can do it justice, you’ll get to read it.

Check back sometime next week for a little sneak peek into what my next novel will be.