Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Writing romantic suspense has pretty much been my professional life since I first sold to Intrigue in 1985. I’ve written 53 Intrigues and have sold about six million copies world wide. But in order to fill my creative well, I need variety in my writing life.
I love writing any combination of romance with suspense or thriller elements, with or without a paranormal element. PUREBRED, my April Intrigue, has them all. So did HOT TRICK, my Carina book released last October. The difference is in the balance of those elements. PUREBRED is romantic suspense with a paranormal element, while HOT TRICK is an urban fantasy thriller with a romantic element.
Now I’ve tried my hand at something a little different. My current new release, SKIN, is a fast-paced dark thriller with a romantic element. The difference between SKIN and my Intrigues is that the ‘hero’ of the story is actually heroine Lilith Mitchell. The thriller story focuses on her efforts to rescue her sister Hannah from the killer who took her before he ends Hannah’s life. But of course the story still has that romantic element that I can’t seem to write without.
SKIN has a long history. I wrote the first version – then known as THE LAST DANCE – as a screenplay in the 90s. I entered the screenplay in the Motion Picture’s Academy Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting competition. It made the semi-finals (top 100 of approximately 5000) and garnered a lot of interest from agents and producers. Then a producer optioned it. She got a director (actually, two), had music written for it, found actors who wanted to star in it, had a backer with the money to publicize and distribute it, but she couldn’t get the money to produce the movie. So goes my short-lived experience with Hollywood (until I wrote another screenplay, but that’s another story).
I didn’t give up on this story, however. Since my Intrigues were so successful, I thought surely I could sell a single title thriller with a romantic subplot. I wrote a book proposal based on the screenplay in 2002. I heard “too dark” as the reason for rejection from nearly every editor who read it. In 2008, I made a major-major revision to the story and rewrote the proposal, which I renamed SKIN. My then longtime agent let it languish. My next agent sent it to a half-dozen editors, most of whom thought it had a good commercial premise and solid plot, characters and writing. However, the thriller editors thought it should go to romance editors, and romance editors were still afraid of the dark elements in the story, even though I’d lightened them up considerably.
Caught with my feet straddling the line between thriller and romantic suspense. Again.
So what to do?
I let SKIN languish for a year while I worked on other projects, but I couldn’t forget it any more than I had since writing the original screenplay. Thematically, it’s as current now as it was then. With the hope that SKIN had the potential to ‘thrill’ readers if only they had a chance at it, and the indie digital market spiraling upward, I had good reasons to write it for myself. So when I made a New Year’s resolution to fill the well writing stories I loved, SKIN fit the bill to start off the new year. I finished the book, and it’s finally available to readers.
Currently SKIN is listed at Amazon.com as part of the KDP Select Program, which means Prime members can choose it as a free book. It also means Amazon has a three month exclusive. By April 1, it should be available in trade paperback both at Createspace and at Amazon.
Whether or not SKIN is read as widely as my Intrigues, I am glad I took a chance on it. It was one of those ideas that just didn’t let go of me, and it turned out to be a book that practically wrote itself and truly filled my creative well.
Good reading. :)