Suspense…an Interesting Word

Did you notice my book cover on the website? It’s for the first book in the desert heat series. There will be a larger version on the site under the heading Books. I’m getting used to the tiny picture first.

Ah, what the heck, here it is: 

I told my editor that I think it’s kind of creepy, and I have to remind myself that duh, I do write romantic suspense, and there’s a dead body or two in my books. Being a very visual person I find I can write the ugly things but I can’t look at them…weird, huh? I suppose there is nothing sweet and cuddly about romantic suspense. Unless of course we’re talking about the sweet and cuddly romantic moments…there are not too many of those because, you know, there’s a murder to solve…a few steamy scenes though.

What? You didn’t think I’d write those? Even when your life is in danger, or you’re under suspicion, you can still find time for sex. Suspense means different things to different readers. I always imagined I wrote a softer romantic suspense, but when I look at my new cover I think, maybe not. What do you think?

Anyway, a few years ago, I wrote a book, Gone Tropical. It isn’t part of this desert heat series, it’s a single title. The setting is the Australian rainforest and some of my family came with me on that trip to have some fundo some research. We had so much fun in Cairns, Cooktown, Mungumby Lodge, and Brisbane. It was the most perfect setting for a romantic suspense story.

Looking down on the Rainforest

I visited a local police station in Cairns and nervously approached the officer to ask questions about Australian protocol. The officer asked what type of stories I wrote. I told him Romantic Suspense. He gave a smirk and a raised eyebrow worthy of any romantic fiction hero, and drawled, “We’ve got a lot of that around here.”  He was right, too. Outside the station was a lovely beach. It was crowded with women in skimpy bikinis and guys creating all kinds of romantic suspense as they paraded up and down the sand displaying well-formed biceps and six-packs. Not the kind of suspense I was talking about. I needed the skinny on crime, drugs, and murders. Once he got beyond being charming, or his version of amusing, the officer had a grand time providing all kinds of useable information. I like to think he kept his buddies in suspense relaying the story to them while they had their coffee and donuts. I also think he described the romance author as being oh, thirty years younger. ; )

Now tell me what suspense means to you, a moment when you where suspenseful, romantic or otherwise.

***Christine Ashworth is the winner of last week’s contest. Yay! I will deliver Henry to you Christine, along with his luggage. Seven suitcases full of Stogies. 

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33 Responses to Suspense…an Interesting Word

  1. Nan says:

    I like your cover, Roben! It’s intriguing and makes you want to open the book to see what the story is all about.
    My current WIP is romantic suspense–love and dead people–so setting up a scene that gets completely turned around is what I see as suspense. You think you know what the book’s about–a couple falling in love or at least in lust and enjoying one another’s company when suddenly, chaos reigns and they have to figure it all out…together.

    • robena grant says:

      Yes, Nan! Exactly. : ) Love and Dead people.
      I’m so happy that you’re writing suspense. I think it’s really fun twisting the romantic and the suspense plot together.

  2. Maria Powers says:

    Goodness. Henry would have been fine, but seven suitcases filled with smelly cigars? Good thing Christine won him and is used to all of that testosterone.

    Hmm, suspense filled moments. I cannot remember any at the moment. Ah, the boring life of paranormal and contemporary writing.

  3. robena grant says:

    I know, Maria. That Henry is gonna stink up Christine’s house.
    And what? No personal romantic suspense? ; )

  4. Suspense-filled moments – hmm…

    Probably the most suspense I’ve had in my personal life was wondering if, after four years, my boyfriend was ever going to propose. He did and we’ve been married almost eighteen years. I couldn’t be happier. He’s a keeper for sure. I’ve lived my own romantic suspense 🙂

  5. robena grant says:

    Yes! That’s a great example. You’ve lived your romantic suspense, and you’ve written some thrilling romantic suspense. : )

    • See, Robena? You gave me an assignment and I totally forgot to tell you that your cover is fabulous!

      You’ve got to have something on there to indicate it’s a suspense and I think a dead hand is perfect! You’re on your way, girl!

      Sorry I’m so task driven!

  6. Sam Beck says:

    Love the cover — sexy and intriguing all at once! Outside of fiction, my life is a bit thin on romance lately, but full of suspense: Why is my preschooler hanging from the mantle? Will his weight cause it to break off the fireplace. If so, does urgent care take Cigna? (To keep you out of suspense, the answers are: Because he can, no and, thankfully, I don’t know). 😉

  7. robena grant says:

    Thanks, Sam. I’m getting used to it. : )
    Oh yes, I remember those suspense-filled days so very well, and yet my kids are 29 and 31. How they got to be this age is beyond me.

  8. Gina Bono says:

    Roben, I absolutely love the cover. It’s definitely says suspense and I like the steamy embrace of the couple. No romantic suspense is complete without steamy scenes 😉

    And I love the story about the officer in Cairns. Hee hee. He sounds like a future hero — hunky beach cop who’s seen it all hooks up with a novelist researching her latest work? 😉 Hmmm…

    Can’t think of anything good in real life that’s happened lately…it seems to be severely lacking in suspense these days 🙂

    • robena grant says:

      Thanks so much, Gina. As my critique partner extraordinaire it means a lot to me that you like the cover. And I’m with you on the current lack of suspense in my life…still, if I actually ventured out of the cave… . : )

  9. I love the new book cover, Robena. Can’t wait to get my hands on the book in early 2013. To suspense means biting my nails, sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the next twist or turn in the engaging story.

    Thankfully, my life has been very low on suspense.

    • robena grant says:

      Yep. I think the last really suspenseful moment for me was waiting for my mammogram result. I hate sitting in that little cubicle undressed and in a paper gown waiting to see if they need to take more pics.

  10. Terri Osburn says:

    That cover packs a punch. And it is creepy. 🙂 But it screams Romantic Suspense so I’d say it’s perfect. I used to read RS and then fell out of the habit. Maybe it got too intense? For me, I prefer the will-he-or-won’t-he-kiss-her kind.

  11. robena grant says:

    Thanks, Terri. : ) Even though the story has dead bodies and a villian, I still think it’s a more about the journey of the H/H. You could definitely read this and not be creeped out AND you’d get the type of suspense over the kissing-will-he-or-won’t he that you like so much. : )

  12. Hi Roben,

    My honest first reaction to the cover was “Woo hoo! Roben’s got a cover and look, the guy is hawt! Oh, and nice title!” I didn’t even notice the dead hand until I started reading your reaction to the cover and then my secondary thoughts were, “Yeah, that’s sort of contradictory/ insensitive; to have two people over some poor girl’s dead hand kissing.” Lol. However, the point is, I definitely didn’t think anything of it until you pointed it out. It’s all your fault 😉 So to sum it up, the cover is great, the guy is hot, can’t wait to read it and I didn’t notice a thing.

    Regarding romance/ suspense in my own life. It’s funny that I even want to write romance because I tend to suck the romance right out of every moment. I’ll never forget the night my husband was trying to propose to me at a Tony Roma’s in Anaheim and I don’t think he planned to get down on one knee, but I knew where he was going with it and my exact words were “Where’s the ring… where’s the ring.. whip it out!”

    I swear I’m not the kind of girl that cares about rings or jewelry, but I could tell how nervous he was and he didn’t know what to say, so that was my best way of saying, “You don’t even have to ask. Put the ring on my finger so I can jump up and down and kiss you already.” Lol

  13. robena grant says:

    Christine, you make me laugh. One of my friends said he looks like he did her then offed her. Ha ha. But no, it’s not like that at all. Definitely some suspense in the who done it though. ; )
    And yeah, I think I was behind the door when they handed out the romance gene. It surprises me too that I choose to write romance.

  14. SQUEE! For both the cover, and for winning HENRY!!! YAY! I look forward to breaking sharing his stogies! Huge congrats, dear!

  15. robena grant says:

    Ha ha. Good one, Christine. Yeah, like I’d let a cigar smoking dude in my house. : ) I’m so glad non-smoker Henry is going to a good home.

  16. Janie Emaus says:

    OMG! I didn’t see the dead at first, either. But I love the cover. And I’m always living in suspense wondering if the agent or editor who has my next project is going to like it.

  17. robena grant says:

    Isn’t it interesting, Janie, the things each of us focus upon? For me it was the horror of the hand, and yet you didn’t see it at first. Maybe that’s the difference between a true romantic and a wannabee? Ha ha.
    Yeah, I know what you mean about the suspense of waiting in this our chosen field. : )

  18. I love your cover, Roben! Perfect for a romantic suspense! I’m in suspense waiting to read it. 😉

  19. Hywela Lyn says:

    Great cover Robyn, congratulations!

  20. Having recently finished reading your last recommendation, Lowcountry Boil, I’d say Susan Boyer has a good handle on the romance and the suspense. Can’t wait for book 2.
    And while I haven’t read your book yet, I await it anxiously because I’m betting you have a good handle on both of those things, also.

  21. Dee J. says:

    I do like the cover and I think it hints at a wonderful suspense! Can’t wait to read it!

    Suspense to me… page turning, heart pounding excitement with a good bit of humor (if it fits) and dangerous love. (Did I really use the word dangerous? Imagine that…?)

  22. robena grant says:

    Ha ha, Dee J. I love how you managed to slip that word in there…it’s Dangerously Close, to suspense. ; )

  23. Julie says:

    Not a huge fan of real-life suspense, and yet, I adore reading stories with that as a major factor. I don’t know, it’s confusing in my head too. But yay for a book by YOU!!!

    Also, keep in mind next time you need some insider cop info, you “know” a deputy….. or at least, you have a good connection to one, who doesn’t mind answering writerly questions. (He’s done it for many friends already.)

  24. robena grant says:

    Thanks, Julie. And I never thought to ask you to ask Dan. Oh boy. the questions I could have asked. Ha ha.
    I did visit a nice deputy here at the La Quinta PD and he was very helpful. He wanted me to use LQ as my town but I decided on a fictional one named Rancho Almagro. : )