Published: March 17th, 2014
Irishman and CIA operative Dylan Maguire joins psychic spy Vicki Boyd for another harrowing adventure, this time on the high seas. Merchant ships en route from China to the United States are being bombed, plunging America into critical shortages. It's Dylan's and Vicki's jobs to find out who is bombing them and why. Their mission takes them into Black Sites, covert activities and international politics. And while the romantic side of Dylan ramps up his relationship with Vicki, they find themselves in the crosshairs of a hired assassin, which not only places their lives in danger but also that of their unborn child.
Top ten - The most important characteristics of a Romantic Suspense
1. The plot must be compelling and absorbing. The reader must wonder whether the main characters will survive, and how they will manage to do so as the noose tightens around them.
2. The book must be unpredictable. There must be twists and turns that if the reader chose to go back through the book and analyze it, they would find the clues there; but the plot twists must keep the reader guessing.
3. There must be romantic tension in romantic suspense. Much of the reason behind a page-turning book is not knowing what will happen next, which is true also for the romance element of the book. Things can never be easy for the lovers; the tension must continue to mount.
4. How far to go romantically boils down to the opinions of the author and his or her editor. Today’s market, most particularly in the United States, are more likely to read scenes that go further sexually than they did just a few years ago. But telling too much can have an opposite effect on the reader; what turns on one person may be a turn-off to someone else. There is an art to taking the reader up to the door, or even inside it, without telling too much.
5. The backdrop is something that is often ignored but it can make or break a book. I love historical backdrops that weave real history, real times of upheaval, into the romantic suspense. What can be more compelling than two people you really want to see get together, become separated by circumstances beyond their control? Whether it’s war, the sinking of a ship, cultural clashes, or other situations, the backdrop provides another layer that can often propel the book’s status to greater heights.
6. Action, not thoughts. I tend to think of book scenes very visually, as though they are coming alive on a movie screen. Think of a scene in which a person is sitting around thinking. Not very interesting, is it? But consider that same scene with the main character talking things out with a friend. That’s why movies often have secondary characters that the main characters can bounce ideas and thoughts off of; it keeps things moving. Thoughts slow things down. Even talking provides the sense that things are moving forward.
7. Multi-faceted characters. Everyone has good and bad characteristics; there are very few people who are utterly and completely evil or good. Part of making characters memorable is making them multi-faceted and three-dimensional. A book is often more compelling if someone you think of as evil shows some redeeming characteristics, or someone you’ve grown to love shows some flaws in their character.
8. What’s in a name? Turns out, quite a bit. Formal names tend to put people off; name a character Elizabeth or Catherine, and it has the effect of keeping that character at arm’s length. The name alone can prevent a reader from fully connecting with them. But write the same scene with Liz, Beth, Catie or Cate, and it draws the reader in. It makes them feel like they know that character a bit more intimately.
9. Be careful with accents. I’ve read some romantic suspense that takes place in an historical backdrop, but the heavy difference in pronunciations has slowed down the reading for me while I try to figure out what the character is saying. Yes, people did speak very differently in various parts of the world or times in history. But reading for enjoyment must be easy or the reader will often put down the book for another time, when they can spend more time trying to decipher the language.
10. The shorter the time frame, the heavier the suspense. When there is a deadline of some sort - a battle that is inevitable, a bomb that is ready to detonate at a particular time, a storm that can not be avoided - it increases the level of suspense. The longer things are drawn out, the less likely the reader is to feel the suspense. And suspense is what keeps the reader turning the pages.
About the author:
p.m.terrell is the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of more than 18 books, including Vicki's Key, a 2012 International Book Awards and 2012 USA Best Book Awards finalist and River Passage, winner of the 2010 Best Drama Award. A full-time writer since 2002, p.m. previously founded and operated two computer companies with a specialty in computer crime and computer intelligence. Her clients included the CIA, United States Secret Service and the Department of Defense as well as local law enforcement agencies. Her expertise in computers and intelligence often finds its way into her books. She is also the co-founder of The Book 'Em Foundation and founder and chair of The Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair, which raises money to increase literacy rates. As a hobby, she raises freshwater angelfish - the same thing her characters do as their front for the CIA. For more information about p.m.terrell, visit www.pmterrell.com and for more information on the upcoming Writers Conference, visit www.bookemnc.org.
Author's Giveawaya Rafflecopter giveaway