Danger and suspense, as part of our entertainment, bring us an exhilarating and emotionally powerful experience. Strange when you think about it like that, isn’t it? In addition to suspense and thriller books and movies, we also have reality shows about scaring people, or putting them into a situation to see their reaction—Scare Tactics and Total Blackout are two such shows.
I wonder why we enjoy fear so much, and I wonder what kind of person writes suspense? Is it a decision consciously made, or is it inherent, something imbedded deep inside the writer?
I’m spinning off DiAnn’s post from last week just a little, because I already had a similar topic lined up. DiAnn’s post made me consider how a person becomes a suspense writer in the first place. How and when do they start thinking of everything in terms of potential for a suspense novel? I’m sure most would answer that, as a writer, it’s a simple matter of training yourself to ask “what if” in every situation.
I spent my novel training years writing historical romances. Every one of those stories included an element of suspense. My first published novel was a contemporary romance but it also contained suspense with strong mystery elements. Almost all my Heartsong romance novels have an element of suspense in them. In 2011, my first “official” romantic suspense, Freezing Point, released with Love Inspired Suspense. At some point along this writing journey I discovered I’m a romantic suspense or thriller writer.
I can’t look at anything without thinking about something related to a crime or impending danger. But not for the reason you might think. Long before I started thinking about writing a novel, I was afraid of everything. I grew up in a very protected and safe environment, but staying safe and protected meant viewing the potential hazard in every situation. Riding a horse, swimming, jumping on a trampoline, or walking downtown by myself, all were potentially dangerous activities.
You won’t find me walking to my car in a shopping center parking lot without being completely aware of my surroundings, my key fob out and ready to unlock my car door! I'm told this is a good thing because it discourages a would-be attacker. As I'm writing this article there's a prison inmate work crew on the street right in front of my house. You don't have to be practiced in writing suspense to think of a few resulting dangerous scenarios.
So you now understand why writing suspense comes naturally to me. It’s part of my nature as a person. I can’t imagine writing a book without suspense. Nor can I imagine writing a story without romance.
What about you? Do you live with a healthy respect for the dangers around you? Or are you more or less oblivious to the hazards you face every day?
Answer one of these questions in the comment section below, sign up for my newsletter at my website http://bethgoddard.com/ and I’ll enter you in the drawing for FOUR suspense novels: Freezing Point, Treacherous Skies, and my four-in-one romantic suspense novella, Oregon Outback.
AND, and here's the BONUS--if you win the drawing, I'll also include a copy of my upcoming novel RIPTIDE (July) when I receive my author copies. Remember, I'll get the author copies weeks before they're available in stores, so you can be one of the first to read it!