There are many ingredients that go into creating great suspense. Without one, the story, like any good recipe falls short.
One of the most important ingredients is having characters that compel the reader to get involved with their lives. A hero and heroine we can fall in love with, empathize with, and root for until the very end.
In Grave Peril, my latest Love Inspired Suspense, my hero and heroine had once been in love until Jamie Hendricks father was accused of killing Gavin Dalton’s father. Years later, when Jamie gets a call from her uncle claiming he knows who really killed Gavin’s father, Jamie drops everything to return to her Kentucky Mountain home. Not only has Jamie reunited with Gavin again, but she must turn to him to help solve the mystery of what really happened all those years ago.
And every suspense must have an element of danger. Danger and intrigue are the foundations of suspense. The sooner the protagonists are embroiled in it, the better for the reader. For me, I love to get my heart pounding right from the beginning.
Grave Peril’s danger starts on page one with the weather, the mountains, and a mysterious car following Jamie up a deserted mountain road.
But what would a story be without some conflict? Internal conflict as well as the conflict between the hero and heroine builds tension in the story and makes the pages turn.
Jamie and Gavin have many unresolved conflicts standing between them. The biggest being their fathers were on opposite sides of the law. Both Jamie and Gavin are plagued with internal conflicts as well. Jamie blames Gavin for not believing in her father’s innocence. Gavin is torn between his feelings for Jamie, what he knew about her father, and his own regrets at the way he handled things with Jamie.
And what would a story be without a fitting location? The perfect location can create intrigue in itself.
In Grave Peril, the mountains of Kentucky along with the coal mines play an important part in the story. Imagine being trapped in a coal mine with limited air and no way out?
No matter what, the story must have a satisfying ending. When we invest our time and money into a story, we want to leave the experience satisfied.
While all these ingredients are so important to a suspense story, it’s the little secret ingredients authors put into their stories that become like icing on a cake.
What are the secret ingredients? Hidden gems that give us a glimpse into the author’s world.
For me, it’s usually a meal prepared and shared by the main characters, (you get to see some of my favorite foods). For example, in Grave Peril the couple share a meal of eggs and bacon. I love having breakfast at any time of the day!
What about you? What are your favorite ingredients in suspense? The characters, the danger or conflict, the setting, or the little secrets parts that make the story unique and special.
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About Grave Peril:
Reunions can be deadly.
Jamie Hendricks always believed her late father was innocent of murder…and now her uncle claims to have proof. But when she arrives in her hometown, her uncle has vanished—and someone wants her dead. Jamie’s ex-boyfriend, CIA agent Gavin Dalton, is the only person she trusts…even if he believes her dad killed his father. But can he help her uncover a deadly conspiracy that goes deeper than anyone expected?