ROMANCE: WHY? By Kathy Ivan
As a writer, I’ve talked to a lot of people about what they like to read, especially when it comes to the genres I write (contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance). But it seems when the subject of mystery and suspense comes up, there are two different schools of thought.
There is the reader who absolutely, positively does not want all that romantic fluff in their story. They are the stick-to-the-facts readers, who want the meat and bones, the action and adventure of the plot without a lot of the secondary storylines which they think clog up the works. Purists who want to see the antagonist and protagonist battling it out until the very end. They want their mystery and
suspense to be all-encompassing with no deviation for anything outside the scope of the mystery.
On the other hand, you’ve got the reader who loves having a little extra. They want to see and know what makes the hero, heroine, or villain the person they are. They want to juicy backstory, including that crazy attraction between the hero and heroine that seems to pop up at the most inopportunite times.
I fall squarely into the second camp. I am a romantic at heart. As a writer, I love writing romantic suspense because it adds so many dimensions and layers to the story. What could be better than taking a hero who is hot on the trail of a ruthless villain, closing in with each page, and suddenly there’s this character who shows up and steals his attention. Keeps him off balance, because his thoughts have shifted, and he’s no longer laser-focused on one goal.
Adding in romance can change the entire dynamic of not oly your story, but your characters. Suddenly, emotions begin creeping in at the most inopportune moments. Instead of figuring out the villain’s next move, the hero or heroine’s thoughts are divided. As the feelings grow and intensify, you’ve got the added complication of your lead character being given a vulnerability he or she didn’t have in the beginning—namely their new love interest. This person can now be used as a bargaining chip by the bad guy.
I love layering in all the complexities of a romantic relationship between the hero and heroine that you’d find in a romance along with the pulse-pounding excitement of the suspense. Tensions are ratcheted higher. There’s danger around every turn, which can lead to some very…interesting…extracurricular activities.
And, one of the best things about writing and reading romantic suspense? You get TWO satisfying conclusions. The mystery/suspense is solved and the bad guy is taken out of commission. That’s a good thing. Plus, you get to have that happily ever after when all the dust has settled, and your hero and heroine can finally admit their true feelings for each other, and you get that tingly feeling when you close the pages, knowing everybody ends up happy (well, everybody but the villain).
So I’ll continue to write my mysteries and suspense and they will always have a romance, because I love the intricacies and twists and turns, but mostly I love the satisfaction I feel when love wins.
Kathy Ivan is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author. She’s currently writing the New Orleans Connection series of romantic suspense. The latest book, Fatal Intentions, releases on 3/31/17. It’s available for pre-order at these vendors: