Where do you place yourself on the fear spectrum? What I’ve learned as a writer is that you, the reader, have developed a preference for how much death, destruction and darkness you want to deal with in a novel.

I’m a writer of suspense novels.  Yes, some of my characters end up dying in my novels, but my hero and heroine slog through chaos, transforming themselves and their relationship-in a good way.  A kind of resolution gives the reader (and my characters) hope.  My fiction folk persevere under difficult circumstances; my underlying message is that you will survive (and learn) as well.

These factors seem to matter in genre/author choice:

  1. How old you are.  What movies, from your past, scared you to death? Which novels?  How did you manage the Cold War, the debacle in Vietnam, and/or the Middle East wars? Was 9-ll a pivotal moment in your life? Is North Korea’s nuclear bomb threat on your mind?  We can’t escape the issues besetting our time period; they affect how we see the world.
  2. Your personality from birth.  Some people are born more anxious than others-the ‘nature’ factor.  Some folks shy away from novels about distress, while others are drawn into the intrigue of suspense, thriller and mystery stories.
  3. Your upbringing.  So much depends on what your family and your friends worried about in your first 18 years on this earth.  Depending on their political leanings, their occupations, their income level and their philosophy of nurturing, parents play a big part in the development of a child’s sense of fear/self-confidence. Example: some say that ‘helicopter parents’ have made their children anxious just by worrying about them so much.
  4. Your profession.  If you are a soldier, police person, or fire fighter, fear accompanies you on every assignment; folks in social services face worrisome issues daily.  So many Americans face frightening experiences in their jobs and prefer something lighter to read for pleasure.
  5. How much TV you watch.  More and more, we find TV creating anxiety in those who watch it regularly.  TV news, for instance, is a 24/7 attempt to dramatize the events of the day, repeatedly.  It would be hard to tell from TV news that (statistically)our world is experiencing a time of relative peace.

My novels are in the low range of a fear factor scale.  You’ll be turning pages into the wee hours of the night, but nightmares and loss of sleep?  I don’t think so.  Expect a little blood and maybe a death; also expect a hero and heroine who come out of the experience alive and wiser.  My philosophy: “A healthy dose of fear helps us live fuller lives.”  Better yet, my stories are fiction, so they give readers a break from reality.  Nothing more satisfying than watching a mystery solved and a relationship transformed in 350 pages!

My question: Where do you place yourself on the fear spectrum?  (How much mayhem can you handle in a novel?)

I hope you enjoy all my suspense books, but here’s my most recent release, Cézanne’s Ghost,  http://a.co/bQdl7jp

“If you like an interesting cast of characters, a heavy dose of mystery, and a lot of fabulous surprises, you’ll be happily turning pages late into the night.”   -Brenda Novak, NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author, reviewing SWOON by Rolynn Anderson

Three young American women vanish in Aix-en-Provence, France.

The FBI suspects their American tour guide.

Leon Beaudet, formerly a U.S. Olympic wrestler, is proud of his five-star guide business, but when tourists disappear on his watch, the FBI dredges up a violent episode in Leon’s past and tap him for the crime. Worse, his new tour group includes Aline Kerig, who is as beautiful and carefree as the three missing women. Leon is fascinated and puzzled by Aline even while he fears for her safety. She refuses to go back to the States, forcing the FBI and local police to involve her in the hunt.

With the French tourist industry about to collapse and Leon as a prime suspect, how does he protect Aline and find his lost tourists?

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