Release Date: April 17th, 2014
...Some secrets are better left dead...
Rachel James’ ex-husband is released from prison determined to reclaim her and her little girl — the child is his key to controlling the James fortune. Frightened, Rachel flees to Denver with the child who hasn’t uttered a word since her daddy went to prison.
Contractor Patrick Thorne wants nothing to do with another of his parents’ charity cases. He failed his own wife so abysmally she took her own life as well as his unborn son’s. After two years, it’s time to concentrate on the bid he’s won and the saboteur trying to destroy his construction firm.
There is no room for trust in either of their hearts. But trust is all that will untangle the secrets that dominate their lives, free a little girl of her silent prison, and save them all from a serial killer who stands too close.
Thank you for having me visit today. These are some great questions. I had fun answering them because I don’t always think about how I write the way I do. Once I reach a point in my writing when the characters take over, I just let the story unfold. J K.L.
Thank you, Mrs. K.L. Docter
From Romance, Comedy Romance to the Romantic Suspense. How different is it to write these genres?
There are similarities between both…and dissimilarities. The one major similarity is that both of my genres have strong romances woven through the story. I love romance so it is my major focus when I’m developing all of my characters. I want to introduce two people who aren’t looking for romance in any way, shape or form, and then throw them into each other’s path.
As for differences? My contemporary romances are cute and spicy, and run about 50,000 words. They’re lighthearted, make-me-sigh kind of romances. I have tremendous fun throwing the hero and heroine together with a tickle and a smile. I read a lot of Harlequin/Silhouette romances and wrote for many years with those kinds of stories in my head. And, despite the fact that my characters deal with serious issues – for instance, in Satin Pleasures, the heroine is dealing with an intense drive to right a wrong and it makes her a workaholic, while the hero has left his stressful career behind – I allow them to have fun while they’re learning something about themselves and each other. I didn’t set out to deliberately write humorous books. It’s just the way these characters develop in my head. I tend to write the kind of stories that I can see an actress like Meg Ryan playing the lead role.
My romantic suspense, on the other hand, is twice as long. Killing Secrets is around 110,000 words, closer in word count to the more traditional single title books. For years, I had been writing only shorter contemporaries, but many of my stories had suspense elements in them. I love suspense and mysteries, too, so I decided a couple of years ago to explore the darker suspense angle. These books are a lot more complicated to write. I not only have to develop a romance, but find a way to carry the characters through the dangers that unexpectedly drop into their everyday worlds. I actually have two antagonists in Killing Secrets, so the hero and heroine don’t always know where the danger is coming from. These stories also demand that I dig deeper into the psyche of a serial killer and murder their victims. The first time I wrote a scene from a victim’s point-of-view, I had to step outside into the sunshine for half an hour after I finished. It wasn’t a particularly graphic scene, but I connected with that victim on a visceral level as a mom.
A Goodreads reviewer said that Killing Secrets is “one part mystery, one part romantic suspense and a whole lot of fun:” – why did you add humor and what is the role of humor in such story?
I don’t think I consciously added humor to Killing Secrets. It just sort of happened with the kinds of scenes I chose to move the characters through their story. But I think it’s important that the light touches are there in suspense. In real life, it’s difficult to maintain drama and stress and danger levels indefinitely. We either collapse into a mindless heap or we find ways to relieve that stress. Humor gives both the characters and readers a chance to breathe. It’s “down time” where the characters can focus on other things besides staying alive. These moments are when the characters take time to get to know one another, fall in love, change their clothes, take a nap, etc. It keeps the characters “real”.
Killing Secrets is first volume of the Thorne’s Thorns series. How this series was born and how you will make those six brothers’ stories credible?
When I started writing Killing Secrets, I only had Patrick’s story in my head. But, brainstorming his backstory, I discovered his father was a retired police officer and his mother was a woman who came from money who did volunteer work. It wasn’t a far leap for Ross Thorne to be like his wife and want to help some of the young boys he might come into contact with in his police work. Patrick was their only biological son, but Ross and Evelyn gave him foster brothers. All of the boys were in minor trouble at one time or another growing up, so they became known as Thorne’s thorns. Once I knew who his brothers were, I had to write their stories.
Making the brothers’ stories credible is a matter of developing distinctive individuals with specific goals and problems. These men are real to me now and their stories are different, but they’re connected by their upbringing and their love for each other. All of Patrick’s foster brothers might have different last names but they’re still family.
I saw that the main characters have their one gloom history. Why did you create them like that and what is the message of the story?
When you write about serial killers and the darker villainous characters, they simply bring conflict and violence with them. I didn’t intend to have two antagonists when I started Killing Secrets. The ex-husband was supposed to be a diversion, but he took on a life of his own the moment I wrote his first scene. Before I finished the book, I wanted to kill the ex-husband more than the serial killer. <grin>
Both Patrick and Rachel’s conflicts come from secrets in their past – not necessarily their secrets, although Rachel has a major one that controls her actions – but, from the men who want to hurt them. My book titles are thematic. Killing Secrets is about secrets, and what the characters are prepared to do to keep them from being revealed. My next book is called Killing Proof. Needless to say, that one is about proving something. In that case, one of Patrick’s brothers is a police officer and has to prove that a suspect is a serial killer, not the one he helped put in prison. Beyond that, there’s Killing Ice, Killing Minds, Killing Promise, and Killing Games.
How do you like (and why) your mystery suspense stories to be? Do you leave a path of bread crumbs of clues through the story for the readers to try to figure out from themselves or you keep everything for the ending?
I love misdirection. I may reveal some things, but I do like to keep my readers guessing as long as possible. I suppose that makes me a breadcrumb dropper, although my breadcrumbs are not usually clues like a police officer might look for. Most of my characters are not in law enforcement. They still have to figure out where the danger is coming from, and deal with it. I hope my readers enjoy uncovering the stories along with the characters.
Mrs. Docter writes two different kinds of romance novels....Contemporary Romantic Comedy w/a Karen Docter: Romance...With a Kick of Humor!
Romantic Suspense w/a K.L. Docter: Women hunted by killers...men who'd die to protect them.
K.L.'s contemporaries are cute romantic comedies. She loves writing about real men and women with dreams and goals that don't allow for a relationship just so she can throw them in each other's path...with a tickle and a smile. Her romantic suspense novels (as K.L. Docter) are also filled with romance, although the dangers the hero and heroine face are intense, usually because a serial killer is bent on ending one or both of their lives before they can fall in love. These are psychological, woman-in-jeopardy stories.
K.L.'s an award winning author, a four-time Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® finalist, and won the coveted Kiss of Death Romance Writers Daphne du Maurier Award Category (Series) Romantic Mystery Unpublished division. When she's not saving her characters from death and destruction or helping them fall in love, she loves camping and fishing with her family, reading, gardening & cooking.
If she can do most of those things over a campfire, all the better!
Find more about her at:
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