Monday, October 22, 2012

Your First Time


Congratulations to "Kristy B.", the winner in Allison's giveaway.  Thank you to all who participated!

I know exactly when I fell in love with romantic suspense.

It was a gradual process. From a very young age, I loved mysteries. Encyclopedia Brown. Trixie Belden. Nancy Drew. Agatha Christie by the time I was twelve. 

But I think I always wanted Encyclopedia and Sally to get together. And Trixie and Jim shared a kiss when she turned 15. And then Nancy and Ned … actually, I never liked Ned. I’d have rather she gotten together with Frank …

I never read straight romance until college, and romantic suspense wasn’t a defined genre—at least, I didn’t know it was. But Nora Roberts published a bunch of books with conflicting titles – HOT ICE and DIVINE EVIL and such. I ate them up. I loved them! And then Susan Andersen (OBSESSION and EXPOSURE are to of my faves of hers. I still remember Sheriff Elvis fondly …)

I like romance in the hands of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jenny Crusie (I know, weird because they write light and fun and I write dark), but most of the time I prefer mysteries, so the blend of romance (where the girl gets the hot guy) against a backdrop of murder and mayhem was certainly more my speed.

I truly fell in love with romantic suspense after reading Lisa Gardner’s THE THIRD VICTIM and Iris Johansen’s THE SEARCH. These two books were suspense at their core, with an overlay of a compelling, angsty, and realistic romance between two worthy people. The each had strong heroines who had skills of their own (a cop and a search-and-rescue dog handler respectively) who didn’t need a “hero” but they became better “thems” because they got a hero worthy of them.

These were the types of stories I wanted to write. I could have a mystery at the heart of the story and still build a relationship between my hero and heroine. After all, they deserved some happiness after all the crap they have to face! And honestly, to me there is nothing better than two people who love each other and face huge external forces conspiring to keep them apart. Once they solve the case and defeat the villain, they’ve EARNED their happily ever after.

I owe a huge debt to Gardner and Johansen for showing me with compelling, suspenseful books that there was a market for the types of stories I wanted to write--by writing stories I loved to read. They are the Masters, I’m happy to be their Padawan!

What were you reading when you fell in love with romantic suspense? Tell us! And one lucky commenter will win a copy of STALKED, the Lucy Kincaid thriller on sale on October 30!

(Check out the trailer for STALKED below!)

If you are having trouble viewing this video, please visit it directly at http://youtu.be/EtVjIqmS0YI

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Oct. 22nd. 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.

90 comments:

  1. The first story I remember reading that was romantic suspense was Hidden Riches by Nora Roberts.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

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    1. Read that too! Great book. I still love Nora's stand alone romantic suspense titles like HIGH NOON and of course JD Robb!

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  2. The first book that led me to the romantic suspense genre was Judith McNaught's Pradise It gave me the romance and a little bit of suspense thrown in. After reading that, I was hooked into books with romance and some form of mystery or suspense. I love your books and have them all. I think I have 2 Lucy Kincaid books in my TBR pile! Looking forward to Stalked. Thanks for the giveaway!

    jaclynlavigne@yahoo.com

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    1. Thanks Jaclyn! I haven't read Judith McNaught but she has such an amazing reputation as a storyteller.

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  3. Not quite sure, I think it was a Suzanne Brockmann book from her troubleshooters series. lsscarchuk@att.net. Would love to win Stalked, I have read all your other Kincaid books, thanks

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    1. I loved Sam and Alyssa's book -- Gone Too Far, I think. Great series.

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  4. I grew up devouring Agatha Christie novels [my grandmother had the whole collection!] and wishing for some sexytimes to complement the mystery, but my start down the romance path was actually with historicals in middle school [thank you Julie Garwood's RANSOM--which has a bit of suspense in it--and the classmate who leant it to me!]. My first real romantic suspense came a few years later and was a standalone Nora, although I can't recall which one exactly since I read most of the ones published to date back to back then! Now my Kindle is bursting at the seams with RS titles :).

    Stoked for STALKED next week! I'm going to be triple-fisting, since 3 books I'm really looking forward to are released that day.

    stalkers00(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Julie Garwood is a terrific storyteller ... and while I haven't read his historicals, I've read her romantic suspense titles. KILLJOY is still one of my favorites. Also THE MURDER LIST which some people didn't love but I did. Nora seems to be a huge impetus to those of us both reading and writing in the romantic suspense genre!!

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    2. Oh, I meant to say that my mom had all the Agatha Christie books -- or most of them (I once counted that she had 81 AC books. There were only 87 or 89 published, and some only in Britain!

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  5. The first book was "Dream Man" by Linda Howard. I loved it even though I was scared to death. I read it because I needed something more than romance to help me escape from the grief over my mothers death. I don't mean to be morbid but it is true. This was in 1998.

    Once I got started, I was hooked! "The Third Victim" is a favorite; I had read the earlier books but that one made series a must for me. I love Karen Rose, Laura Griffin and a number of others, including you, and I am not sucking up here. I love Lucy Kincaid's series and have all of them. I can't wait for this one! I have read your earlier trilogies too.

    Thanks for still writing RS while you write a different series as Ella Grace. Thanks also for bringing back memories of Trixie Belden!

    Marijane Diodati
    mjdiodati@yahoo

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    1. Thank you so much Marijane! I think mysteries and romantic suspense are great distractions for grief, we all need to escape our own pain. Books do that.

      I love that so many people read Trixie Belden as kids. My daughter started the series (I still have all my books) but it was too outdated for her, I think ...

      As far as "Ella Grace" -- that's not me!

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    2. So sorry!Another favorite author. Please forgive.

      Marijane Diodati
      mjdiodati@yahoo.com

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  6. Like you, I started out reading mysteries and suspense. I always wanted to see some romance in those reads. When I finally discovered the romance genre it was a happy day. The heroines are stronger and heroes more heroic.

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    1. I always look for the romance in anything ... like in NCIS (Tony and Ziva!) LOL. I think when there is something more at risk -- not only your life, but the life of someone you love -- it makes the resolution that much better.

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  7. I also started out with Encycloedia Brown and Nancy Drew. Then Agatha Christie. I read them all in order and I own most of them. Catpaw by Anne Stuart was my first Romantic Suspense book.

    yenastone at aol dot com

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    1. I read Trixie Belden in order, but not Nancy Drew ... I think my mom got me #51 first! :P ... but I went back and have about 45 of the books, plus I bought some for my daughter trying to complete the series, but they're a bit outdated. She likes the new Nancy Drew mysteries that were written/started in early 2000s.

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  8. I love murder mystery and have always enjoyed your books. Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon were my favorites growing up. I also do love romance and can't wait to see how your's is. As much as I love your other books, I am sure I will love this one also. Hope you continue with your other ones also. tthreadgill@charter.net

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    1. STALKED is just like all my other Lucy Kincaid books ... no big difference! :)

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  9. The book that made me fall in love with reading was Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, which I think falls under the category of romantic suspense. The first time I read it I stayed up all night because I couldn't put it down.

    I love your Lucy Kincaid books! Please keep writing!

    Aleeza110@ yahoo dot com

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    1. Jill, thanks so much! I love REBECCA too ... I wrote an essay about it for 100 MUST READ THRILLERS. :)

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  10. I'n not sure when I started reading romantic suspense. As a young adult, I loved romances. By the time I was working for B. Dalton while in college, I was reading Nora Roberts, Elizabeth Lowell, Linda Howard and Judith McNaught. Maybe it was those awful Christopher Pike books in Junior High? Whatever it was, I still love them to this day!

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    1. LOL -- my first job was at Crown Books! :)

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  11. Allison, I know you're a very professional writer; do you think suspense is more closely linked to a romantic aspect or the other way around? I tend to think the latter wins out. Great Writer. Best of Continuing Success jack hrusoff/facebook

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    1. I think it depends on the story. I know a lot of romantic suspense authors who start with the relationship and builds the suspense around the romantic relationship. There are a lot of us who start with the suspense core, and build the relationship around suspense. With Lucy and Sean, because this is a romantic suspense series, I know that Lucy and Sean will continue to be together over the course of the series, and it's how each individual case they work together or separately that changes them and their relationship. because it's RS, they will work it out, but hopefully grow and mature in the process. But it's still, at it's core, a suspense series.

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    2. Thank you for your response

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  12. I can't quite recall when I started reading Romantic Suspense (sometime after Nancy Drew turned into whatever my dad was reading and I happened to steal from him). The book that has always stood out in my mind is one of Iris Johansen's Wind Dancer books: Reap the Wind. I also read Count Down and several other of her books, but I never quite fell in love with them like I did Reap the Wind. Then I read Linda Howard's Mackenzie books and Nora Roberts' Carnal Innocence. I've read so many others though, so it's hard to figure out where I originally started.

    I've always been more of a romantic suspense reader even though I have read in other genres, but no matter what I read I always go back to romantic suspense. I can't stay away for long.

    kwatts26@ymail.com

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    1. I know what you mean Kristen -- the reason I can pinpoint the two books I list is because I read them back-to-back and they jumpstarted my writing. I had been on maternity leave at the time and read 77 books in 4 months ... a LOT of romance, mysteries, and romantic suspense. Those two gave me the hope that the suspense core works and I can still have the romantic HEA that I crave.

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  13. I stumbled upon iris johansen and Lisa Jackson... I have always loved mystery and suspense, I had joined one of those mail order book clubs.. they sent me an iris johansen... I finshed it went out and bought the rest that were out.. they sent me one of yours as well and hooked again... I've read every book. When I was 15 I spent one
    summer reading all my moms old Vc Andrews series... That was my start. I'm a book worm and so is my son now
    Jessica
    Sobiegirl6780@gmail.com

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  14. As a young adult I always read the R.L Stein & Christopher Pike books as well, then moved more towards True Crime. The first Romantic Suspense that I remember reading that truly got me looking more in that section at the book store was Iris Johanson's Killing Game, and I have picked up every Eve Duncan book there is (plus her other's as well!) The book that got me absolutely hooked on Allison Brennan was Playing Dead. As soon as I was done that one I ran out and picked up every book of yours I could find! I have a pretty healthy collection now! I won't start any of your trilogy's unless I have all 3 in hand!

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    1. I love true crime! I can't believe I've never read Christopher Pike ... maybe I did and don't remember. I'll have to look at some of the titles and storylines ... Thank you about Playing Dead! I try to write my books as stand alones. I'm not writing trilogies anymore, however ... I have two series, the Lucy Kincaid series (STALKED is book #5) and in early 2014 will be launching the Maxine Revere series. Maybe SOME day I'll write another trilogy, but I would have to come up with a new idea.

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  15. I think it was a Barbara Cartland book, but I don't remember which one

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  16. I remember it like it was yesterday. Night Sins by Tami Hoag. I have found other authors over the years, like you, Karin Slaughter, Lisa Gardner etc. but I still read everything she writes. I'm nothing if not loyal!

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    1. I love Tami Hoag, and I remember NIGHT SINS. My favorite Hoag book (or books, rather) were ASHES TO ASHES and then DUST TO DUST. Loved them. I have Karin Slaughter's last two books to catch up on. I love Lisa Gardner to this day. I'm caught up except for the last book she wrote ... I need more time!!!

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  17. WOW, almost all of us started with Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie!
    I remember taking one of my Mom's Jackie Collins' books and reading it in secret. I think next was Judy Blume, I always read anything I could get my hands on, though, I'm pretty sure one of the first romantic suspense stories was a Harlequin Romance taken (oops, borrowed) from my friend's Mom in High School.
    I still read pretty much whatever comes my way ... I get 'hand me downs' from my sister's book club.

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    1. ROFLOL Audrey -- I, too, read my mom's Jackie Collins' books! And Harold Robbins ... totally was too young to read those, LOL.

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  18. Cry no More by Linda Howard. It opened the door for Fear no Evil, which really started me on romantic suspense! I will still read Cry no More, it is such a great stand alone book! I like alot of Linda Howard's books, but the Evil series really got me hooked on series. I like to really get involved in an writer's "world"!

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    1. OMG, CRY NO MORE was one of the all-time best Howard books. I loved it. I need to find it again ... I think that was one I'd read from the library. May need to purchase my own copy ...

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  19. The Witness by Sandra Brown was my first romantic suspense,I got hooked by RS after that and reread The Witness over and over back then ^^.


    pinglecoon at gmail dot com

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    1. Love that book! Another favorite Brown book was UNSPEAKABLE. I'll never forget it.

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  20. it's hard to remember what book exactly. I know that a lot of the writers I was reading in romance (loveswept, desire, harlequin)stopped and suddenly were writing romantic suspense. I love Iris Johansen and Patricia Cornwell...to start the list. But the authors listed above by other commenters are also great. I feel truly blessed that we have so many choices out there nowadays. I don't know how y'all keep coming up with such wonderful books, but please don't stop. I am addicted to books - I thank you for your hard work.

    Congrats on the new release and thanks for the giveaway..fingers crossed.

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    1. I think in the mid-80s there was a huge shift toward romantic suspense. Then, in the late 90s, it slowed down. Everyone told me when I was writing RS in early 2000s it was dead and I should try something else ... but I can't write anything that isn't a suspense novel at its core. I'm glad I trusted my instincts!

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  21. I saved my allowance just to buy Trixie Beldon books. And of course Nancy Drew was awesome. I loved Mary Stewart and Velda Johnston. Sorta more gothic, but that was what my small town library had, and I lived there in my adolescent years. Cannot wait for Stalked!!

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    1. We all should have been friends as kids! I only had one friend who also read Trixie Belden with me ...

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  22. The first time I read romantic suspense was a combo of the Killing Hour by Lisa Gardner, Karen Rose's You'll Never Tell, and one of your books, Allison, See No Evil. And from there, with my love of mysteries came from reading Where Are the Children? by Mary Higgins Clark in high school, and cozies came later. And my love of thrillers came from Iris Johanssen and Erica Spindler. it also made me want to write romantic suspense and thrillers--and dream them too!

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    1. I read WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN when I was 14 and it freaked me out but I couldn't put it down. GREAT story!!

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  23. I actually got hooked on writing suspense from reading about a saint (Maria Gorretti) who was killed. I was 9 years old at the time. So it pulled me much more to the suspense side.
    I look forward to reading "Stalked" Allison.
    Jan

    janet_kerr(at)msn.com

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    1. This is one of those odd coincidences ... I attend St. Maria Goretti church!

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  24. I think it was Lisa Jackson that started me on the romantic suspense. I remember buying her books at Wal-Mart initially then looking for them in a book store and was surprised they were listed as romance. Then I stumbled onto you sort of the same way with your books Hunt, Prey, and Kill. Have been hooked on this genre for a while now.

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    1. Another great romantic suspense writer. I was so lucky to be on a panel with Lisa at the last Thrillerfest. Totally exciting!

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  25. I read a lot of romantic suspense. It's my favorite by far. One of my early favorites is probably Catherine Coulter's The Maze which first got her main characters in her FBI series Sherlock and Savich together.

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  26. The novel that got me hooked on romatic suspense was Superstition by Karen Robards. I very quickly tore through all of her RS books and discovered you at the same time. I have since torn through all of yours! I can't WAIT for the next Lucy story. Lisa Jackson and Karen Rose and Beverly Barton are a few more favorites of mine. There are no RS novels from any of you that I haven't read. Keep 'em coming!

    Kristy
    kristyk_1977@yahoo.com

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    1. Thank you so much Kristy! My mom is also a huge Karen Robards fan. I keep meaning to read one, but haven't done it yet ...

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  27. I first fell in love with reading with Catherine Coulter's historicals... from there I moved on to her FBI series and continued to branch out my reading... So many great authors and books now grace my bookshelves.

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    1. She is a master in any genre she writes.

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  28. Nancy Drew books.... I started reading those at age 8 and here I am 43 years later still reading suspense. Only now I want a little bit more graphic books.

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  29. I have read so many romantic suspense books that I can't remember the first one I read and am finding new authors all the time! Robyn Carr, Terri Blackstock, Diane Chamberlain, Colleen Coble, Lisa Gardner, Lisa Jackson, Karin Slaughter, Lisa Unger to name a few and of course Allison Brenner!!

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    1. We have a lot of terrific writers in the genre!

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  30. I think the first romantic suspense I read was Shattered Silk by Barbara Michaels. I loved her books and then a friend gave me an Elizabeth Peters novel! I was so excited to find out that she written whole series under another name! I think that I love the suspense element first and then the romance- although I read a lot of mystery series- so maybe it is a case of the chicken and the egg!

    Thanks for all the great books Allison!

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    1. LOL Jacki -- I haven't read either author, need to try them!

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  31. i think it was an Elizabeth Lowell book.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. I love Elizabeth Lowell and finally got to meet her (and have my picture taken with her!) at the last RWA conference. Major fan girl moment!!

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  32. I have always loved to mystery and romance and when you put the two together well it's just bazinga!! I love Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardiner, Nora Roberts, and many many more. You, of course, are a favorite and have read all your books more than once. I own all of them and can't wait for Stalked!!

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    1. You named three of my favorite authors! :)

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  33. I started reading Christopher Pike in the 3rd grade. And he always scared the bejeez out of me. As I got older I started reading Suzanne Brockmann, Gone too Far is still a fave. Then I found Julia Garwood. Which lead me to you, Karen Rose and Brenda Novak. All of you guys stay on my keeper shelf or shelves as the case may be. And all day today I thought your new book came out tomorow. Imagine my disappointment. :( i hage introduced my stepdad to your books, he has started Lucy's serues first. So now I have him sneaking your books off my shelves.

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    1. Oh email is ashes1275@gmail.com

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    2. Thank you so much for putting me in such stellar company! And sorry about the book! It's Oct 30 ... wish it were tomorrow!

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  34. My favorite memories of my first mysteries started when I was about 10 years old. I convinced my parents that my Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys books would be so much better if they let me read them outside during a storm. My dad pulled our car out of the garage and parked it in the yard. There laying in the back seat with a flashlight and the thunder, lightening and rain all around me I fell into the world of my books. Its amazing how much scarier they were out there. But, I loved it. I did that for years graduating to many of the authors you and the others have mentioned. I would like to add Nancy Bush to the list of great authors already mentioned.

    Thank you for visiting us! jo1963jo at gmail dot com

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    1. Oh... and lighthearted and humorous RS? I recently discovered Vicky Lewis Thompson's "Nerd" series. Loving them!

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    2. What a fun thing to do! And good parents :)

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  35. I cannot remember the first romantic suspense novel I ever read, but I do recall Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians" having an impact on my love of mystery & suspense. Some of my favorite authors to date are Iris Johansen (Eve Duncan), M.C. Beaton (Agatha Raisin), James Patterson (Women's Murder Club), Cleo Coyle, and of course, Allison Brennan. ;)

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    1. Forgot to input my e-mail - holbournem@gmail.com.

      Also, thank you all for adding to my reading list!

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    2. I liked Miss Marple, but I loved Hercule Poirot :)

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  36. I'm so jealous of everyone's memory! I have no idea what book got me hooked on romantic suspense. Like most, I started out reading mysteries and thrillers. Read a lot of Iris Johansen, Lisa Gardner, Lisa Jackson, Suzanne Brockmann, Kay Hooper, Catherine Coulter and Mariah Stewart (before she switched to the Chesapeake Diaries, which I now read, too), Nora Roberts/JD Robb, J T Ellison, Karin Slaughter, and Carla Neggers - just to name a few! ;o) I also enjoy books by Terry Odell. She calls them "romance with a twist of mystery". I call them good books. I thought I was really lucky when I found you, Allison. I love the Lucy Kincaid series and I'm looking forward to reading Stalked.

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    1. Thanks Karen! And I love all those authors, too. J.T. is a really good friend of mine, I love her books. Ditto for all the other authors you mentioned! You have great taste! :)

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  37. Mary Stewart's Nine Coaches Waiting was the start of my love of romantic suspense.
    Thankfully the release of Stalked is fast approaching,

    jtcgc at yahoo dot com

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    1. I haven't read that Mary Stewart book! Must find ...

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  38. One of Linda Howard's books and I still read her books as soon as they're out!

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    1. Linda Howard is a fantastic storyteller. It's hard to pick a favorite, but CRY NO MORE is probably it for me. I also liked DYING TO PLEASE and OPEN SEASON which was a little humorous and lighter.

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  39. Thanks for a great post and congrats on the new release! Ummm... I think that the first romantic suspense book I read was Jade Island by Elizabeth Lowell :)

    efender1(at)gmail(dot)com

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  40. I think I was reading Phyllis A. Whitney and the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys series. Linda Howard is probably the first adult romance suspense that I read when I fell in love with the genre. I believe the book was Son of the Morning. I was looking for that genre since that time.

    kmccandle(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. My daughter is right now reading a Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys joint mystery! :)

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  41. the first Romantic Suspense novel that really stood out for me was HOT TARGET by Suzanne Brockman. After that , it was on , Lisa Jackson, Iris Johannsen, Nora Roberts,Julie Garwood to name but a few.I have enjoyed every one of your books, and eagerly await new releases. annpa@gmail.com

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  42. Ooooh - I have crystal clear memories of picking up a dogeared Nora Roberts in a secondhand bookshop - it was Brazen Virtue and was a rollercoater ride of nail biting suspense . . and I was thrilled to find a romance that had a mystery at it's heart. It also has a gorgeous red haired hero who has a full beard! :D

    Still reread it now and then . . and sigh lustily every time . . willa(at)talktalk dot net

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  43. I can't remember exactly which book got me hooked, but chances are it was a Nora Roberts.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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