Thursday, February 28, 2013

Denise Agnew: Writing Out Of The Box: Or Why I Like The Dangerous Stuff

What do I mean when I say I like writing the dangerous stuff that’s outside of the box? Well, I have more than one example.

When I started writing for Ellora’s Cave more than a decade ago, I discovered a whole new world of romance writing that was just getting coming into acceptance with many in the romance reading world. I discovered that no matter what genre within romance I was writing, I often wanted the love story to be hotter and more intense. More than that, I enjoy creating love scenes that fit the characters rather than having the love scenes run the characters. And wow, that is hard to do every time. It’s far easier to take the easy way out and write love scenes that sound too much like the one you wrote before. Sex is just a part of the conflict, the way the characters express a profound attraction and growing respect that changes to deep love.

Writing outside of the box, though, can be even more about the type of stories you write and not the heat level.

Another example! Last fall I released my Asylum Trilogy (Shadows Wait, Shadows Rise, Shadows Fall). All three stories are set in a haunted insane asylum. The first book is set in 1908, the second in 1918 during the end of World War One, and the last is contemporary. Each story is set in the same asylum with different couples fighting an evil that has infested the asylum since the beginning of its construction. In the contemporary there is even a paranormal investigation team.

When I recently published my contemporary novel Blackout, I knew I was bucking the system because this novel is romantic suspense, paranormal and sorta post apoc at the same time. But it was this weird idea that popped into my head one day when I walked by this house with scraggly roses bushes. I got this “what if” idea. The house looks normal and suburbia, but the weeds are growing all over. What if it is haunted and what if…well, you know. The imagination took off and Blackout was born.

I write so many different genres within romance that I can’t say I have a brand or platform. Is that a bad thing? Not for me. I’ve consciously chosen to follow what I like to write. These days I rarely alter a story to fit a particular publisher guideline. The stories inside me are there to be expressed, and if that means one time I’m writing a historical featuring Jack The Ripper as a character and the next a contemporary romantic suspense with paranormal elements…I write it.

What is it about a romance with spine-tingling suspense and kick ass adventure that makes you want to read it? Do you like stories that reach for originality? I’m an inquiring mind, and I’d love to know. Comment and you could win a paperback from my backlist!

Visit my website at for all the information, blurbs and excerpts from my novels. 

***Denise's winner is Erin!  Please email with your mailing information!***


erin said...

Congrats Denise on the release and thanks for sharing! I love when stories are original and "spine-tingling"! I read a lot and sometimes books start to follow a basic formula no matter what genre. So when a story blows out the walls and goes outside the box, I peak up and really get invested :)

Mary Kirkland said...

Having a lot of adventure and action in a romance book makes it harder to put down, thus more exciting to read because you're always wondering what's going to happen next.

Pat Cochran said...

I'm a long, long, long time reader
of romance. I prefer historical
romance but also read a number of
different genres. I find I very
much enjoy action packed books with
1/3 love scenes and 2/3 action. If
the formula is reversed, not so much

Pat C.

Mary Preston said...

Original is always welcome & I love the excitement of a suspenseful read.

Di said...

I love a story that has unique aspects, like an unusual skill or circumstance. And a invigorating romantic suspense can really get my heart going! But it has to be with romance and an HEA.

Unknown said...

Hi Erin,

Tried to respond to notes earlier and had difficulty with my Internet and browser! Sorry about that. I'm so pleased you enjoy original stories. And thank you for stopping by!

Denise A. Agnew

Unknown said...

Mary, thanks so much for stopping by. :) I agree that action and adventure and suspense can really help a book be more interesting and exciting. :)

Denise A. Agnew

Unknown said...

Pat, it sounds like you know exactly the books you enjoy. :) I love historicals, too. Quite of few of the books I've written lately have been historicals.

Denise A. Agnew

Unknown said...


Thanks so much!

Denise A. Agnew

Unknown said...

Again, thanks ladies for stopping by. I truly apologize for it taking days to get here! That's not how I normally do things. :) Thank you for taking the time to stop by and say howdy. :)

Eli Yanti said...

Romsus always interesting to me :)