Saturday, October 25, 2014

Linda Wisdom: What Do You Want In A Romantic Suspense?

Thank you, Lee, for having me here!

This is the season when things go bump in the night. But what about something else that can unsettle you? Have you ever had that sense of wanting to look over your shoulder because you feel someone is following you? Have that uneasy feeling because someone is staring at you for no reason? Your phone rings, you answer it but while no one speaks you know the line is open.

How would that make you feel? Uneasy? Paranoid? Would you consider looking under your bed, inside your closets? Maybe even keep the lights on after you go to bed because you don’t want any dark shadows increasing your imagination.

I’ve written romantic suspense books on and off since 1986 and read them even longer. What can I say? Reading or writing about a character in danger is easier than being one. The idea of a stalker has always intrigued me. What do you think would cause someone to throw themselves uninvited into another person’s life? We see and hear about them in the media with celebrities and sometimes you read about an everyday person who’s been targeted by a man or woman focused on being a part of that person’s life.

I’ve had my crushes over the years but never thought of finding a way to invade their personal lives. Personally, it gives me an icky feeling. I’ll settle for drooling, oohing and ahhing from afar.

Plus, it’s better to write about it. I can give it any twist I want. Such as making the hero the object of a stalker instead of the usual heroine, but I decided to let her get some of the stalker’s overflow. That way I can also tap into my dark side. What would I do to the woman I convinced myself had stolen my man? How much would I make her suffer?

I think what said it all was what a friend said after she read Double Jeopardy. Her exact words were “I never want you mad at me”.

You know what that tells me? I did my job. I created a stalker who was committed to the idea that a man was her one true love and she was determined to do whatever it took to scare off any woman who he tried to have a relationship with. And it worked until she came up against a strong-minded woman who refused to back off because she was determined to have a relationship with a man she was falling in love with. But it was more than that. She wasn’t going to allow anyone to cause her to look over her shoulder, shudder any time the phone rang or be afraid of dark corners.

I feel we all have a choice. We can either be the one who worries or the one who fights back. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be the one who fights back.

But just in case, I’ll make sure I have plenty of nightlights around the house and check Caller ID when the phone rings.

And isn’t it nicer to read about a stalker than to have one?

What do you want in a romantic suspense? Would you rather read about danger than be in it?


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