With: Brandy Jellum
I’ve never really sat down and thought long and hard about why I love writing in this genre. I could be simple and say it’s because I love a good mystery but that doesn’t do any justice. There is so much more to Romantic Suspense than just the romance and suspense aspects. Essentially, authors who write in this genre are writing two separate stories and finding a way to weave them into one fantastic story.
An author has to focus on the romance elements, as well as the suspense elements. Believe it or not, we have our work cut out for us. Especially, if you’re like me, and don’t outline in the slightest bit. Not only do we have to develop the love story but we have to come up with a gripping mystery that draws the reader in. As authors in this genre know, if you fall short in either romance or the suspense, the book in its entirety falls short. And that to me is a challenge and I love a challenge.
I could also say it’s because I might be slightly twisted and enjoy writing books with evil/horrible antagonists because I love watching them drop in defeat in the end. I love the whole Good vs. Evil. I do love sitting on the edge of my seat, flipping through the pages, and trying to figure out who the bad guy is, just to see if I’m right. Which bring me to this…
“Why not just write Suspense/Thrillers?”
That’s an easy one, I love romance, just as much as the lady who lives down the street. Depending on the book, the suspense elements can get dark, it can make your bones shake, and where there is darkness, that is where you find light. And that’s what I love about Romantic Suspense. The romance balances the suspense. You can’t have one without the other. Otherwise you just have romance or you just have suspense.
Now, I didn’t always write in this genre. In fact, when I started out, I was writing Young Adult. I have always been told to write what you read. So I did. After three months and over 140K words, I hated my first ever YA novel. So I tucked it away and started working on the next idea I had, (once again it was YA), and then this one sentence stuck out to me. I knew it wouldn’t work in the genre I was writing. But it was persistent and determined to make it’s way into a book, just not the one I was writing at the time. I knew it was meant for a romance, the problem was, I haven’t read much romance, with the exception of erotica. But I’m not that brave.
So I started working on what is now my debut novel, If I Say Yes. It was slow going. Yes, I love romance but I like a bit more of something to go along with it, the only problem was I just didn’t know what. All I ever read was YA. Which is funny because one of my favorite books is written by Erica Spindler. And she’s the queen of suspense/thrillers. I started thinking of what I could do to give my writing an edge. I started thinking about everything I have ever read, the books that stood out to me, and I remembered my childhood. I remembered Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. The mysteries that come alive in those stories. Then I thought of what I’d like to watch and would love to read in a book. To answer, I’m obsessed with shows such as; Criminal Minds, CSI Miami, etc.
And that’s how I found my niche. As I wrote, it seemed like everything was starting to click. I started seeing the words come to life and flow effortlessly. And much like mysteries, I like the element of surprise, so much so, I didn’t even know who the antagonist was in If I Say Yes until it was almost time to reveal it. Along my journey of writing my first Romantic Suspense, a series was born, and now I can’t stop thinking of different crazy scenarios and bad guys to create.
So the next time someone wants to ask me- “Why Romantic Suspense?” I’m going to smile and look at them and ask, “Why not?”
Blood covers every surface. On the pristine, white marble flooring, the grand staircase and handrail, and what used to be a tall, square wooden end table by the large double doors I just walked through. The table now lays scattered across the foyer, broken into jagged pieces. The large, antique ceramic bowl that served as a key holder had set on the table, but now it too is scattered amongst the broken wood and the blood bath. I follow the trail of dark crimson fluid up the stairs, my hands shaking and my breath catching. Upstairs is worse, far worse. The plush white carpet is saturated a deep shade of red; splatters and droplets are everywhere.
My heart is pounding, urging me to go, to leave, to run and call for help. My head tells me otherwise, to follow the trail of blood down the hall. The blood is smeared on the walls, as if someone was trying to grab ahold of something to prevent being dragged this way. The trail leads to my parents’ bedroom. My heartbeat quickens, and a bead of sweat forms along my hairline. The door to my parents’ room is slightly ajar, and I nudge it open a little farther, just enough that I can slip past the door.
A piercing scream escapes, and I quickly clamp a hand over my mouth. My eyes are glued to the sight before me. I can’t mistake the familiar blonde hair attached to the crumpled body on the floor, discarded as though she is a piece of garbage that nobody wants. Just lying on the floor, with a pool of blood surrounding her body. The blonde hair, the only thing I share with my mother, is drenched in the dark fluid. Another cry escapes my lips as I rush across the room and collapse next to her, brushing the hair out of her face. My heart drops to the pit of my stomach, and I feel bile rising to the back of my throat.
I can hardly recognize my mother’s soft, delicate face; she was a natural beauty, one that everyone wanted to star in their next movie at the height of her career. Her face is mangled with large, jagged cuts that run across it. The blood is already starting to dry. Examining the rest of her body, I see she is covered from head to toe with multiple stab wounds. Under the cross-hatch of wounds, faint bruises form from the multiple contusions she has suffered as well.
“Mom,” I whisper. I scoop her body into my arms and pull her close to my body. Her head rests against my chest as I begin to rock back and forth. “Don’t be dead… please, don’t be dead.” I know my plea is useless; she is already gone. The amount of blood throughout the house and pooling around her and the blank expression in her blue eyes is proof enough. Tears form in my eyes. “You can’t be dead.”
Brandy’s passion for writing began long before she actually sat down to write. As a child, she has had an obsession with reading. Everything from the classic stories by Jane Austen to YA Fiction by Richelle Mead. Finally, in 2012, she decided to create her own stories for people to fall in love with. Brandy bounces back and forth writing both Romance and Young Adult Fiction (which is mainly just for fun).
At the beginning of 2014, Brandy signed a contract with a publishing company called Booktrope. She is very excited about the next chapter of her life and cannot wait to share her books with everyone to read.
When she isn’t writing, she can be found chasing after her husband, her four children and her black lab, Diesel. Or curled up on her favorite corner of the couch with her newest book.