Friday, June 8, 2012

Do the Math… Most Suspense Happens too Close to Home


Congratulations to Laura, the winner of Donnell's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Statistics show that accidents happen 1.4 miles away from home.  I’ve always thought this was an interesting phenomenon.  Makes perfect sense that accidents should occur in the location we travel to more than any other place on the planet.  The point where we wake up every morning and the place where we go to sleep every night. 

Home. 

So here’s my question.  If accidents happen closer to home, doesn’t it stand to reason that more suspense novels should be written closer to home?  Are you with me?

I love exciting romantic suspense adventures as well as the next reader.  But in defense of us homebodies, and in consideration of the economy, I am mindful of the statistics.  Think about it.  Without statistics, statisticians would be out of a job, actuaries in insurance companies might go broke… What’s more, without that 1.4 number, I might never have placed my stories near or developed the theme, SUSPENSE TOO CLOSE TO HOME.

Therefore, if accidents happen 1.4 miles away from home, shouldn’t the majority of suspense novels, instead of having the characters running all over God’s green earth, be required (from a statistics standpoint) to remain closer to home?  When the hero and heroine take off on the run, where do they start from?  What is their goal as they’re running?  To get home, right?

Anyone on the phone calling a mathematician as they read this?   If you are, hang up and seek help—this is a blog and has no foundation in fact.  However, the exotic locale story stats are really high; the neighborhood suspense stories are really low.  In fact, they’re dangerously off kilter.  So much so that if you’re placing your characters in your books farther away than 1.4 miles from their fictional houses, you, my friend, are messing with probabilities.

It’s my job to tell the stories.  In THE PAST CAME HUNTING, my heroine moves next door to the cop who arrested her.  Melanie Norris and Lt. Joe Crandall don’t have to go traipsing to some foreign place to get into trouble.  They can find problems in their own backyards. 

To my dear friends who write some of the most fantastic tales in faraway lands, keep up the good work, and I’ll keep reading.  As for me, I’ll do my best to keep statisticians gainfully employed and heroes and heroines statistically balanced.

Suspense…too close to home.  I ‘m filling a niche.       

If you can’t tell by the above article, Donnell Ann Bell is terrible at math and hated statistics in college, but she’s on deadline with her third Suspense from Bell Bridge Books and her mind is borderline mush.  THE PAST CAME HUNTING became an Amazon best seller in March, hitting as high as #10 on Amazon’s top 100.  She is also pleased to announce she’s a finalist in RWA®’s Greater Detroit Bookseller’s Best for Romantic Suspense and for Best First Book and for Single Title Romantic Suspense in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery Suspense.  She has a second Suspense from Bell Bridge at the end of 2012. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @donnellannbell  or checkout her website at www.donnellannbell.com There, she’ll do her best to make sense ;)


Donnell will be giving away a print copy of THE PAST CAME HUNTING to US and CANADA residents, or a digital copy worldwide!


Giveaway ends 10pm EST June 8th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@justromanticsuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

40 comments:

  1. Interesting observation, Donnell. I'm happy to know you're out there filling that niche -- and so capably, too! (and fyi, I had to take statistics *twice* in college cos I couldn't get the hang of it. now I'm a writer, where very little math is required *vbg*)

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  2. Jen, I'll wager you never knew I was so math adept :) Yes, I'm a niche filler I'm proud to say. My statistics teacher and I met daily in college I was so confused :) I'm so glad you're a writer! xxoo

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  3. You brain works in a strange way, DA! LOL LOL I can see murder mysteries taking place close to home, but I can't see terrorists building a nuke next door. Hmm No, that could happen. Let me try again. Thinking of Dan Brown...I don't think The DiVinci Code taking place in my neighborhood. There. I've just ruined your argument. That's what friends are for. We keep you grounded! hee hee

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    1. Oh, you are so wrong.... :))))) Catholics are all over the world. Just wait till Deadly Recall comes out in December And Ms. Cynthia D'Alba, I hate to burst your bubble, but terrorists can be right next door too. Do you know your neighbors....bwwahhahhhaaa :) Actually, I'm very grateful no one's building a nuclear bomb next to me. Now you've done it... I'm off to snoop on the neighbors! Thanks for stopping by, Cyndi!

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  4. As someone who previously worked in law enforcement I'm in total agreement with you. There is actually very little crime that is random and so much of it is close to home. The closer we are to people the less we believe they would be capable of wrongdoings. Can't wait to read your book, Congrats on all the nominations! wweddle at gmail dot com

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    1. Whitney, my hero!!! Not only for supporting my theory, but for serving in law enforcement. Yes, most crime sadly is committed by someone we know. So excited that you would like to read THE PAST CAME HUNTING. Thanks for stopping by today!

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  5. So true... and so very scary. I live in Mississippi, and when my boys were teenagers, they kept leaving the door unlocked. I stayed on them about it, and they laughed at me. Then one day, a guy who had escaped from prison IN GEORGIA invaded a home on the next street -- the door was unlocked, and he just walked right in and took the homeowner hostage. The guy robbed the place, but didn't hurt the homeowner. He was so damned lucky! Yes, it can happen close to home.

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    1. Wow, Melanie. Great story. No wonder you turned into a romantic suspense writer! For some reason people in small towns think their not vulnerable to larger cities. My MIL never locked her door. Took me a long time to break my husband of that scary habit.

      Yes, Yes, yes, always lock your doors. Don't make it easy on someone to make you a victim. Former victims advocate speaking. Thanks for stopping by today!

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  6. Good blog - nice inquiry - I see suspense everywhere - driving down the street or in my head in Winnipeg (my WIP) - I guess I don't consider the right setting or wrong one - I think we all write whatever inspires us and comes alive in our heads. For me, I could never write about various beautiful places I have lived--San Francisco, Big Sur, Miami, Marin County - I need gritty to set my words afire - Cleveland or Detroit or the Region (northwest rust belt of Indiana).

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    1. Thanks, Judi, you have lived in some beautiful places. Hmmm. I need to write a blog on statistic enlargement for too close to home :) Cleveland and Detroit are great places to write a suspense.

      But I can see a suspense in every area you've lived. James Patterson certainly did, so did Clint Eastwood and Don Johnson in Miami Vice.... But clearly you need to write what your passionate about. That's what I'm doing.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Donnell, I would read your books no matter where you set them. :) But I love your "close to home" theme, and you're right--it is statistically correct. I think. I wasn't that good at math, either. :)

    I so enjoyed The Past Came Hunting. I can't wait until your next title is out later this year!

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  8. Great point, Donnell, and I love that you're setting your books close to the characters' homes--makes it all the more terrifying knowing the one place you think is safe might not be.

    As for me, I've lived in many places (currently living in Brazil), so I could still set my book in a far flung place and still have it be close to home. ;) Congratulations on a great book! Loved it!

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    1. Tina, how excellent for you. I need to consult a math professor however for the world travelers. They definitely can defy the odds of this very important statistically accurate blog post of mine :))) Oh, Brazil. My brother just came home from there. He and his wife miss it! Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Thank you, Susan. Whew, so glad you would read where I place my books anywhere. Book two is set in Albuquerque and book three in Denver -- all places I've lived. I hear you have a book coming out soon, LOWCOUNTRY BOIL. It's set in your stomping grounds, so technically, I think you are a safe statisic! :)

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  10. Your "close to home" idea is so accurate. I am now writing a book about a neighbor that kidnaps a child. It is true that...we covet what we see...and many times this is right next door.
    I am so looking forward to your next book Donnell. & your cover is great on this one!
    Jan

    janet_kerr(at)msn.com

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    1. Thank you, Janet, for aiding in my scientifically proven statistical report Yes, sadly crime happens closer than we think. Be safe, and best wishes on writing your kidnap story. Can't wait to read it!

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  11. I've heard this statistic for car accidents, but I guess it makes sense that it relates to many crimes. Whitney's comment above affirms it.

    Great food for thought, DA.

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  12. Ah..... wouldn't it be something if I caused a statistical upswing to neighborhood suspenses LOL. Yes, Whitney had great insights, didn't she. Thanks for stopping by, Autumn!

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  13. I would be inclined to agree. But then, I’m an Australian who had to give evidence in an attempted murder case in England, dealt with the Korean police when my apartment was trashed in Bucheon, got a ride in the back of a police car in Madrid, Spain and barely escaped the military police in Russia, Ukraine and Austria.

    Either I travel too much, or it really is possible to get into “romantic suspense” situations all over the world! Pity that half of those times I was with my (very nice) brother instead of some Special Forces hero!

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    1. Sonya, you are a walking talking counterpart to my statistical brilliance ;) Wow!!!! You are also a walking talking romantic suspense. But.... I can find a problem with your response to me, and this would be another statistical blog topic.... Are you with me????

      Generally, we are with a family member sans brother, than the hunk hero. Seriously. What are the stats on a hunk hero dropping into our lives.

      Who believes in stats anyway?!!! Thanks for stopping by! :)))

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    2. Yes, it’s true! What kind of idiot gets stuck with their BROTHER (nice as he is)?! Where was my sexy hero?!
      The funniest moment was in Spain, when my mother was the victim of the crime (yes, it really is funny!). She was so determined to set me up with the (admittedly very attractive) police officer who helped us that she pretty much forgot she’d just been victim in a horrible situation!
      But, yes, most situations happen close to home. I have to agree with that. I’m just weird!

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    3. Sonya, you have the makings of a great romantic suspense right there. Oh my gosh, maybe you're too close, but think what a great plot that would be. Family traveling together, (ordinary world) mother the victim, plays matchmaker for her daughter and sexy cop). Hey, it falls out of the realm of my home statistics, but what a great story!!! Think about it :)

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  14. I guess I'm supporting your "at home" idea. Two of my WIPs are set at my heroines' homes, though in places I've visited rather than lived. Oh, and my third is at the hero's home. Never thought of them in these terms before. Fun!

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  15. Kate, thank you so much! You are keeping the probabilities soundly in check. Not only are you writing fascinating stories, you're a statistics hero! Well done. Have fun writing and thanks for stopping by!

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  16. I write in my home state and places I grew up. Great observtion, Donnell. Congrats on all the finals, keeping my fingers crossed cause I couldn't agree more that it deserves to win !!

    ~Angi

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    1. Dear Ms. Morgan. Another respecter of statistics :) WTG. And to you, my dear, Daphne finalist and friend. You deserve to win, also! Hey, have you looked at the names of finalists. They all do! Thanks for stopping by, Angi!

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  17. Donnell
    this sounds like a great read thank you for the chance tammy
    tammyjackson75@yahoo.com

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    1. Thank you, Tammy for stopping by. You're entered!!

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  18. I am very intrigued by the sound of your book... you are a new author for me and I love to find more books to enjoy... thank you for sharing Donnell!

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  19. Enjoyed your blog and I think your book sounds great.

    lhenry26@aol.com

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  20. Hi, Colleen, I'm so glad you posted. I had so much fun writing THE PAST CAME HUNTING. You're entered to win and I hope you'll check it out as well as my upcoming novel in Dec. 2012 (untitled so check back) and the next in 2013. Thank you for being here!

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  21. Thank you, Laura! You're entered. I hope you'll stay caught up with me via my website, www.donnellannbell.com or friend me on FB, Twitter, etc. Best wishes.

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  22. Donnell, it is quite true that accidents do happen close to home. I was involved in a car accident at an intersection just around the corner from my house. The car came out of nowhere and hit me. I did the dumbest thing which was to follow the car that hit me to get the license plate number. It turned out that the two persons in the car who hit me was involved in a shooting and was wanted for an attempted murder and I didn't know anything about it until I called 911 to report an hit and run accident. Talk about tempting fate.

    kmccandle(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. You my dear Kai, are a suspense novel in the making and VERY VERY LUCKY. :) You're also the type of personality we suspense writers make heroines out of. Thanks for sharing your story. You're entered in the drawing. BTW, BE CAREFUL OUT THERE :)))) Thanks for commenting today.

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  23. Very nice post. This sounds like a good book.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  24. Bah, statistics are overrated :P (I'm a scientist, I'm supposed to believe in stats, haha). The jungles of Colombia have nothing on... the cornfields of the Midwest? (my previous close-to-home). I move around a lot, so loads of exciting places could qualify as close to home :).

    And my epic TBR queue grows by one yet again. I really have to stop visiting this blog, haha.

    stalkers00(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Hi, Chris, I know we're glad you've chosen to stop by. I forgot to include in my close to home blog... all you world travelers. Best wishes, and thanks for stopping by.

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  25. This reminds me of the times a news reporter questions a family member or a neighbor of someone accused of a crime. Most times they are totally surprised at the actions of the accused.

    jtcgc at yahoo dot com

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    1. Mary, maybe that's because we don't want to believe someone close to us is capable of criminal activity. But most violent crimes are committed by someone the victim knows. Thanks for stopping by today. Best wishes!

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