Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Best For Last

In the beginning of my June Intrigue, THE BEST MAN TO TRUST, the hero has just lost the dream job he's spent the past six years doing. The truth is, that's not just a plot point—it's a nod to the story behind the story. After writing for Intrigue for six years, this is my final book for the line.

I suspected that could be the case as I was writing it, and since that is how it worked out, this is actually the perfect book to go out on. This particular story is one that I've been waiting a very long time to write. It's the kind of story that first made me fall in love with the line over two decades ago, the kind of story I've always wanted to write, and the kind Intrigue doesn't really publish anymore.


THE BEST MAN TO TRUST isn't an action thriller or a police procedural or a woman-in-jeopardy tale. It’s purely a mystery. A group of people is trapped in a mansion during a blizzard, one of whom is a killer. There’s a murder…then another. The motives behind the deaths are completely unknown, and the hero and heroine have to work together if they’re going to figure out who's responsible.

The “characters isolated with a killer” mystery trope is an old—and popular—one. Some classic Intrigues over the years have done takes on it. Robin Francis’s wonderful ALL FALL DOWN stranded a bunch of people at a writer’s retreat during a rainstorm, while Margaret St. George’s brilliant MURDER BY THE BOOK trapped a group of mystery writers in a castle during a snowstorm. I've always wanted to try a story like this of my own, so having the chance to do so really was a dream come true. It's the kind of story where the thrills don't come from "Action, action, action—fast, fast, fast!" It's all about the puzzle, as the reader is challenged to pick up on the clues and figure out what's going on along with the characters. I hope I've concocted a mystery that will keep readers guessing to the very end...and planted enough clues--and suspects--to make it fun along the way.

But of course, this is an Intrigue, so the mystery is only part of the story. It's also a love story between a woman who's not looking for romance and the last man she ever would have expected. This heroine means a lot to me. She's a woman who's been through hell and survived. She has no idea how strong she is—or at least doesn't believe she's strong enough. But as the owner of the mansion—and the wedding business that brought everyone there in the first place—she's the one who's in charge. Over the course of the story she discovers the strength within herself that she never knew she had.

The book that made me want to write for Intrigue was Tess Gerritsen's UNDER THE KNIFE. It had a great mystery, and was also deeply emotional. It was the first book that ever made me cry. When I turned the final page, I thought, "That's what I want to write."—that combination of mystery and powerful emotion. I don't think I've always achieved that, but I do think this book comes the closest and is one of the most emotional stories I've written. Telling this heroine's story did make me cry. I hope readers will embrace her—and feel for her—as much as I did.


This hero is also one of my favorites. I started reading Intrigues at a time when cops and cowboys didn’t dominate the line the way they do now. Heroes (and heroines) came all walks of life—photographers and veterinarians, lawyers to carnival workers, hotel owners to cartoonists, oceanographers and rock stars and athletes. It’s one of the things I loved about the line, reading about ordinary people pulled into extraordinary circumstances with very personal stakes. Now, of course, most Intrigue heroes are cops, cowboys, soldiers, bodyguards or investigators of some kind. For this story, I was determined that the hero would not be. He’s “just” a regular guy. He’s not a hero because he knows how to use a gun or is constantly throwing himself into danger. He’s a hero simply because he’s a good man, and exactly the man the heroine needs. While I love a tortured hero, one of the things I love about this hero is that he’s not tortured. He doesn’t have a sad history or a ton of emotional baggage. He’s lived a good life, loves his family and is generally content with who he is. He’s just a good guy, and like I said, that’s what this heroine needs.

In the end, secrets have been revealed, the killer has been exposed, and the hero and heroine are together, as they should be. He's still unemployed and it looks like she soon will be (kind of hard to have a wedding business when people keep getting murdered at your weddings). Neither of them have jobs (and no, this is not a coincidence either), but they're hopeful and excited about the future and all the possibilities that lie before them. That's how I feel now, and it's exactly the right note to bring my tenure with Intrigue to a close on.

In the meantime, whether or not you've tried my books before, I hope you'll give this one a shot. It really is the Intrigue of my heart, pretty much everything I personally want an Intrigue to be and the closest to what I've always wanted to deliver to readers. And if you do give it a try, I truly hope you enjoy it.

Happy reading!

Kerry Connor

BLACK TIE... WHITEOUT…

Wedding planner Meredith Sutton has a lot riding on the next wedding at Sutton Hall. She's prepared for everything...except seeing her old college crush in the wedding party. But not even Tom Campbell can throw Meredith off her game. A killer, on the other hand, might mess things up...

Trapped in the midst of the fiercest blizzard the isolated mountain town has ever seen, the guest list becomes smaller by the day. And when Tom becomes the only person she can rely on, Meredith can't help wanting one last chance at love. Since they might not be alive once the storm breaks...

8 comments:

  1. Laura AKA Loves 2 Read RomanceMay 29, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    This sounds like a great book. I am sad to hear that it will be your last for the Intrigue line. What are you planning on doing if not writing for Intrigue?

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    1. Thanks, Laura. I've been venturing into self-publishing by digitally releasing some books on my own, and I'm exploring other opportunities. So many stories I want to write! Hopefully I'll still get to do so.

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  2. From MarcieR

    The way you describe your story reminds of Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None" (I think I got the title right).
    And I didn't know Tess Gerritson wrote for Intrigue.

    Very nice piece and of course I'm sure most people will pick up on the part where you mention your tenure with Intrigue has come to an end and then the big "Why" question will come.

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    1. MarcieR,
      Yep, it was probably inevitable the story would have a bit of an Agatha Christie feel to it. It's the kind of murder mystery she did so well, not just in "And Then There Were None" but in many others involving a murder with a large group of suspects isolated together somewhere. Love it.

      Harlequin has dutifully kept Tess Gerritsen's Intrigues in print (and now, in digital) over the years, so they're easily found. They're definitely worth tracking down and still hold up after all these years, IMO.

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  3. Sad to hear that "The Best Man to Trust" will be your last Intrigue, Kerry. Did you originally plan to write more Sutton Hall Weddings books?

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    1. Thanks, Jane. It was originally planned as just the two books, though as I was working on it, I did have an idea for a third book. I knew whose story it would be and what the setup was, but I couldn't crack the mystery so the series was kept with just the original two.

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  4. Kerry, I thoroughly enjoyed your post. What a wonderful goodbye to your readers. We will all miss you in the Intrigue line, but I have no doubt that you will be successful wherever your writing career takes you. You are far too talented NOT to be successful. Best of wishes to you, and I look forward to reading The Best Man To Trust.

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    1. Lena,
      Wow--thanks so much! That's so nice of you to say, and I really appreciate it. I'm definitely excited about the future and hope to prove you right!

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