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What Drew Me to Writing Romance and Suspense Novels?

I’m Being Interviewed prior to a February Talk on Romance Writing.

Here are my responses:

I can think of nothing more mysterious and complex than budding (or renewed) relationships. How and why couples ignite, their curious contrasts in personality, elements of the forbidden, biological urges…the tension/suspense could kill you! To this recipe add villains causing chaos in the lives of our struggling hero and heroine. Now, we’re talking about a page-turner.

People grow because of turmoil and risk-taking. We learn who we are and what we can manage as individuals and as couples when we take on unimaginable challenges. After the dust settles, the villains are dead or imprisoned and the hero and heroine take a measure of what they’ve accomplished…that’s where I want to take my readers. To resolution. To justice. Love prevailing.

Oh, what I put my characters through! These are flawed women and men teetering on precipices, suddenly challenged to fight for themselves and the people they love. Likely, one person’s dead and others are threatened. Mysteries have to be solved and criminals collared, but in my small communities, it falls on regular folk to do the sleuthing. And because the situation demands intense collaboration, love and danger bloom. Naturally, because my characters have weaknesses and are new to detective work, they make mistakes. Still, by working together, strengthened by their love for each other, they persevere.

It seems you are an avid and adventurous traveler. Do any of your protagonists share your sense of adventure?

They do! Many of my heroines have their lives shaken to the core by forced moves. In my newest release (FIRE IS NICE), Sable Chisholm, an FBI agent, must leave bad memories in SF behind and begin a stint as a ranger in Sequoia National Park. In my boutique funeral planner series, the heroine leaves the tech world of Seattle for a little town in Central Coast California. I was an Army brat, so I know what it means to travel, to move to new homes, to adjust to new cities/countries. Change is tough for everyone, but it can also be transformative in a good way.

Location and setting are important elements in your writing. What suggestions can you make to other writers to help them develop a sense of place in their stories?

Good question. My preference is to go there. I visited Sequoia National Park (FIRE IS NICE) twice; I’ve been to Petersburg, Alaska (LIE CATCHERS) three times; my setting for LAST RESORT, a fishing village in B.C., I’ve visited many a time. Connecting via internet is not enough. Best, rent a VRBO and stay on the site awhile, taking in all the senses of the place. Aix en Provence? I spent a month there before I was ready to write CEZANNE’S GHOST. (Note to writers: this kind of immersion is not a chore!)

My Presentation Title:

Romance Novels - The Billion Dollar Elephant in the Room

By the end of Rolynn’s talk, you will be able to answer with alacrity:

1. What are the two essential elements of any romance? (This one will really surprise you)

2. Who is buying and reading romance? Why? What is the % of romance in the fiction market?

3. Who is writing romance?

4. Is romance literature? (I had to ask this one)

5. Can/do men write it? If you’ve never written it, can/should you?

6. Where’s the sexism around romance writer/reader/genre?

7. How many categories of romance novels are there? What are they? And who says so?

8. How much sex would you expect to find in the following genres on a scale of 1-5 (And, yes. This is a trick question):

-Contemporary 1 2 3 4 5

-Erotic 1 2 3 4 5

-Historical 1 2 3 4 5

-Paranormal 1 2 3 4 5

-Religious/Spiritual 1 2 3 4 5

-Romantic Suspense 1 2 3 4 5

-Young Adult 1 2 3 4 5

9. You will also be able to describe Rolynn’s bumpy road (2001-today) as a hybrid (small press published and self-pubbed) author. Supporting her are the world’s best editor, cover artist, formatter, beta readers, author friends, readers, friends and relatives. She has a bundle of hard-scrabble experiences to describe on her journey as she finishes her 10th novel!

Short Updated Bio:

Rolynn Anderson writes contemporary mystery/suspense novels, spiked with romance and enhanced by exotic settings. In her previous life she was a high school English teacher and principal in Washington State. She writes/markets, golfs, gardens, reads, and travels. Wild Rose Press is her publisher for two novels, LAST RESORT and LIE CATCHERS (also an Amazon Encore novel). Self-pubbed are her boutique funeral planner series: FADEOUT, SWOON, and FAINT; three more stand-alones are FEAR LAND, BAD LIES and CÉZANNE’S GHOST. Her newly released FIRE IS NICE, is the first of her National Park Sable Chisholm Mystery Series. Out in 2019: WHEN MOUNTAINS FALL, the first of her Woman at the Helm Mystery Series.

As a writer, she delights in creating imperfect characters faced with extraordinary, transforming challenges. Her hope: You'll devour her ‘makeover’ suspense novels in the wee hours of the morning, because her stories, settings and characters, capture your imagination and your heart.

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