When I wrote Christmas Trifle, the story of two divorcing chefs who have to put their feelings aside to solve a murder, I had no idea what a different dish I was serving up to myself. Writing a romantic suspense novel as opposed to a regular whodunnit is a totally different animal.
I’m always watching the Hallmark Channel, especially when they have Movies and Mysteries night. I love reading Nora Roberts, too. And Carolyn Hart. Romance and mystery. Mystery and romance. They go together like….well, you know, man, woman, and misunderstandings. I told myself I can tackle writing romantic suspense. After all, I’ve written thirteen mystery novels, each one with varying degrees of romance in it. Several have even won awards.
So tackle it I did. And I’m glad. But as I say, romantic suspense is different than a straightforward mystery. It took me a month or two – okay, three – to get into the style. I found romantic suspense goes at a more leisurely pace than a mystery. I found I liked it. It gave me the opportunity to bring out more facets of the two protagonists’ characters, flesh them out, show their inner thoughts and feelings. I fell in love with the often foolish Charly and Cliff, as much for their shortcomings as their virtues. Because they are, at heart, nice people led astray by much of the silliness we call modern life.
A serious relationship, such as marriage, is not for the faint of heart. Christmas Trifle may be fiction, but I tried to call upon my own marriage for a little of the give and take that’s needed for any success in such an endeavor. I’m sure many people will be able to relate to that. Aside from Charly and Cliff’s stubbornness, hurt feelings, and amusing one-upmanship, the overshadowing mystery is always there. And the looming unseen threat. I love looming unseen threats. At least, on paper.
Lastly, I put in a rescue cat and a dog, Felix and Oscar, two pals who will not be separated by anything their warring owners try to pull. Ultimately, these four-legged charmers change the course of the story, with a little help from a few unsolved murders. Christmas Trifle, Book One of the Snow Lake Romantic Suspense Novels, is one of my proudest achievements.