By Elizabeth Goddard
“It was a dark and stormy night” is cliché, as they say, but when you read or hear that familiar phrase it immediately creates an image in your mind. Close your eyes now and think on the phrase. What do you see? What do you feel? A chill crawling up your arm? Tension rolling through you with the clap of thunder?
That line sets up the backdrop and mood for the story, which is so important. The good news is that writers can create that image in your mind without using the cliché.
With the release of Stormy Haven this month, I’ve been busy answering interviews and writing blog posts for promotion. At some point, I noticed they all have a similar theme. Gothic romance novels. The cover of Stormy Haven includes a lodge set on the edge of a cliff overlooking a rocky, stormy coast. [See cover] The story is set in the winter to add tension and danger. That reminded me of the gothic novels I used to read by Victoria Holt and Phyllis A. Whitney. Also the classics, Jane Eyre and Rebecca. Don’t worry. Stormy Haven doesn’t include the supernatural or horror, or even a haunted castle. The story is pure romantic suspense.
As a child I was always an avid reader consuming a wide variety of genres, but not so much romance. Then at some point—early teens I’d guess—I picked up a gothic romance novel—and I never looked back. I was hooked on romance. In addition to the gothic novels, I read mostly sweet romances and moved on to my current favorite, romantic suspense. In looking back at my thirty plus romance novels, most of them romantic suspense, I realize many of them include a creepy house. An obvious influence from the gothic novels. There’s just something about the dark, stormy and dangerous setting that sets me on edge.
Maybe that’s also one of the reasons I’ve written an entire series—Coldwater Bay Intrigue—on the stormy Washington coast so I can serve up many dark and stormy nights! When I read a romantic suspense novel, I want the full experience and sometimes that means that my setting plays a big role in the story.
As one reviewer wrote, “Since I reside on the coast, I well know what our winter storms look like, sound like, and feel like and it adds to the already tense nature. I can picture in my mind what it looks like when Jonna jogs on the beach on a stormy winter night, bringing shivers down my spine! That’s when I know the author did her job, when I can intensely feel the danger in a well-written suspense novel.”
Love it! Reading what this reviewer could feel as she was immersed in the story thrills me—that’s exactly the reaction I’m going for in Stormy Haven!
A Coldwater Bay Intrigue story
When someone tries to kill former government agent Jonna Strand, Ian Brady comes to her rescue. Now Ian must keep Jonna safe and catch the would-be killer—without revealing he was sent undercover to protect her. But when Jonna learns the truth, can she look past his secrets and lean on him to ensure they live through the storm-ridden night?
Read an excerpt HERE.
For more information, visit Elizabethgoddard.com