Saturday, April 12, 2014

Finding the Right Balance between Romance and Suspense

Hi All,

I’d like to thank Just Romantic Suspense for having me on the blog again! My name is Stacy-Deanne (Dee-Anne) and I write interracial romantic suspense and mysteries.

I for one think that romantic suspense is one of the most difficult genres to write. It’s a double-edge sword because even though it blends two great genres together, it is incredibly difficult to please everyone when writing it. Of course you can’t please all readers, but with romantic suspense there seems to be more criticism.

It is extremely important to find the right balance. The problem is the right balance depends on the reader. With romantic suspense it’s harder to satisfy readers. Some might think your books are great. Others might think there’s not enough suspense or mystery even when you have tons of it on every page. Some might say there is not enough romance, even though you’ve done your best to capture that aspect of the story.

Another issue is marketing romantic suspense. You can’t just market it to regular romance readers. Some romance readers don’t care for romantic suspense. So our audience is much smaller than someone writing contemporary romance with no suspense.

So what’s my suggestion to those new to writing in this genre? Be yourself and write the books you like and want to read. If you love romantic suspense then you will naturally come up with a decent book while staying true to yourself. There still has to be a balance within the plot though. You can’t have too much romance and no suspense. You also can’t have too much suspense and no romance. If your work isn’t hitting both equally then you are not writing romantic suspense. You’re either writing straight romance, or straight mystery/suspense. That’s fine but not if you’re marking it to the RS crowd. There must be enough of both to categorize your work as romantic suspense.

One of the things I really like about romantic suspense is that you have more freedom. You don’t have to write HEA endings that might not fit. Let’s face it, in suspense everything is not going to always end on an upbeat note. Most romantic suspense books have HFN endings or even sad or shocking endings. Things you can’t get away with in romance, you can do in romantic suspense. I also love villains and in romantic suspense you can spend more time with your villains compared to having a villain in a romance book. There are also different degrees of romantic suspense. There’s cozy for the nonviolent crowd, and there’s romantic mystery that’s a bit hardcore for the heavier suspense lovers.

I have a tip on how to strike up the balance for budding romantic suspense writers. I suggest trying outlining. I recently began outlining my books from beginning to end and this helps me hit that balance because I can see when I need to incorporate the suspense and when I need to slow it down and focus on the romantic angle.

No matter what you do as a romantic suspense writer, you’ll never please anyone. But there are still things that you must do for your work to be considered romantic suspense. Always remember to respect your readers. If you’re claiming to write romantic suspense, make sure that’s what you’re delivering. Beyond that, everything else is out of your hands.
Happy writing!

My new release comes out today! Check it out!

Disturbed (Book 3 in the Bruised Series) from Sugar and Spice Press:

Baltimore Detective Lisa Swanson is stunned when Detective Winston Lewis informs her that Devon Barnes, a young man stabbed to death in a park, had her name and number in his phone. Lisa insists she never met or heard of Devon and has no idea why he would have her information.

As Winston investigates, he has an eerie feeling that Lisa’s information being in Devon’s phone connects to his murder as well as a belief that Lisa might be hiding something. Lisa remains adamant that she does not know Barnes, but when her fingerprints show up on the knife used in Devon’s murder, Winston finds himself choosing between his feelings for her and doing his duty as a police officer. Pushed into a corner, Winston arrests Lisa for Devon’s murder.

After Lisa makes bail, she teams up with Winston to find out how and why the evidence points to her as Devon’s killer. The investigation leads to Lisa questioning someone from her past who not only could have the answers to her questions, but could also be the reason for her recent nightmare.

“Are you moving in with Jake?”
     She stopped. “Excuse me?”
     “You heard me.” He turned around. “Are you moving in with Jake or not?”
     “And didn’t I tell you that’s none of your business?”
     “Well I think differently.” His eyes penetrated her. “Are you or are you not moving in with Jake?”
     “And why is that so important to you?”
     “You know why.” He grabbed her. “God, Lisa, how long do we have to keep pretending?”
     “Let go of me.” She jerked back but couldn’t shake his grip. “Let…go.”
     He did. “You know that moving in with Jake would be a big mistake. That’s why you wanted to think about it. Say I’m wrong. Say you aren’t having reservations about Jake. That’s because you don’t love him.”
     “Oh, so you’re in my head now?” She sighed. “I’m sick and tired of going through this with you every day. I’m with Jake, and you’re going to have to get over it!”
     “I’ll never get over it because you don’t belong with him!”
     “This is crazy.” She pinched the bridge of her nose. “What do I have to do to get through to you?”
     “Convince me that you don’t have feelings for me.” He grabbed her by the arms. “But I know you do. I feel it every time we’re in a room together.”
     “Jake knows it too. I saw how he looked at us at Salinger’s party. Hell, everyone there could feel the heat between us.” He let her go.
     “Look, I love Jake and he needs me.”
     “And I don’t?”
     She stared at him. “What?”
     He lowered his voice. “I need you too.”
     “I’m tired of this, Winston. I can’t go through this every damn day.”
     “If you’d stop pretend—”
     “No, you need to stop ignoring what I tell you and listen to me.” She pointed at him. “Now this is it! There is never going to be anything between us, Winston.”
     “You can’t keep denying—”
     “Ah!” She gripped her head. “I can’t deal with this shit anymore! I can’t breathe so please…please stop this!”
     “I can’t.” He pulled her close. “My heart won’t let me.”
     “God, Winston.” She laid her hand on his chest. “You don’t need to chase me. You’re a man any woman would want, and you deserve a woman who wants you.”
     He laid his finger on her lips. “You want me, and we both know it. What about when we kissed in the rain?”
     She dropped her head and sighed.
     “You wanted me then just like you want me now.”
     “You don’t belong with Jake.” He moved his mouth toward hers. “You belong with me.”
He kissed her.

Add Disturb to your List on Goodreads:
Check out Bruised (book 1) and Captivated(book 2)

Stacy-Deanne Bio:
Stacy-Deanne (Dee-Anne) is a published novelist of interracial romantic suspense and mystery novels. She started writing professionally in 1997 when she was nineteen years old. Stacy grew up loving the suspense genre. Her idols are Edgar Allan Poe and Alfred Hitchcock. Her love for Psycho and many of his movies fueled her fire for suspense.

She was born, raised, and resides in Houston, Texas.

Twitter: @stacydeanne

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