I market my books as ‘suspense with a touch of romance’ so people who are interested in reading them won’t expect anything else. In my Shakespeare in the Vineyard mystery series, murder is paramount to the story; romance is secondary. Most people like to read about human connections and relationship drama. Suspense with a dash of romance can be informative, provocative, and entertaining. Is romance a sigh of relief from too much suspense, or does the conflict in the romance help stir up the mystery? This is a question the moderator on my LCC panel, Guns & Roses, this week will be asking.
There are different types of romance in suspense: hot and sexy and behind the door sweetness. My protagonist, ex-cop Cait Pepper, has strong emotional desires for Navy SEAL Royal Tanner (RT), but after a disastrous first marriage she has reservations about another serious relationship. RT has a young daughter and has full custody of her. Along with his work taking him out of the country for long periods of time, and his reluctance to invite another woman into his life, the possibility of Cait and RT having a permanent relationship is uncertain. This keeps readers eager for the next installment. Will love win out? Does the crime get solved?
The mysterious romance of murder grips most of us occasionally. I love international intrigue with a romantic interest. Daniel Silva and his art restorer Gabriel Allon is a good example of murder with a touch of romance, and why he can’t write fast enough for me. Solving mysteries or puzzles in any form is a great escape from real life, and who doesn’t love the satisfaction that comes with it?
Has anyone read Fatal Romance: A True Story of Obsession and Murder, by Lisa Pulitzer? It’s about Nancy Richards-Akers, a speechwriter and romance author who met a decorated war hero and environmental lawyer. It wasn’t long before their intense courtship turned into a whirlwind marriage and then children. But she suffered repeated abuse at the hands of her husband. Just when she thought the worse was over, he shot her in the back of the head and then drove to the Vietnam War Memorial and killed himself. This is anything but storybook. Lisa Pulitzer is a NYT best selling author of True Crime and Current Events.