by Anna del Mar
I was recently doing an interview when the question came up. “Anna,” the interviewer asked, “why do you write romantic suspense?” I actually had to think about that one. A writer’s genre choice is not a simple decision and yet most of the time, we choose our genres not with our brains, but with our hearts.
The short answer to the question is, of course, that I write what I read. And I do love reading romantic suspense. In my mind, romance and suspense are like wine and cheese. They are amazing in their own right, but when you put them together…Perfection!
I began reading romantic suspense when my aunt thwarted my parents’ radar and sneaked in some of her romance novels into my life. Having been exposed to the full array of classical world literature by age fourteen, you might be surprised—or shocked—that I’d never come across an adventure romance. I found I couldn’t put down my aunt’s selections. These books were fun. Moreover, these novels were insightful and heartwarming. They took me to places far from my own realities and sparked my imagination like nothing else. The cherry on top? The sparks. Oh, yeah. I lo-oh-ved those sparks.
Fast-forward to the future and here I am, writing romantic suspense. Unexpected? Hardly. If you think that reading romantic suspense is fun, try writing it. Each novel is an exhilarating, thrilling, fun-tastic journey. Oh, and the places you will go. Case in point, my first romantic suspense novel, The Asset, is set in the Rocky Mountains, where I love to play and hike. My second novel, The Stranger takes place in magnificent Alaska. Research demanded several trips. Yes, I know, somebody has to make the tough sacrifices.
This year, I’m celebrating the release of my latest, The Guardian, the story of Matthias Hawking, an ex-SEAL turned game warden, engaged in a fierce battle to end poaching in Africa. When Jade Romo, a beautiful, stubborn, fiery journalist defies the poachers, Matthias will do everything in his power to protect the woman who has captured his heart.
The Guardian is exactly the type of romantic suspense novel I like to read, an action-packed journey of the heart, set against an extraordinary background—The Serengeti, imagine that! Oh, yes, I got to go to Africa. I wasn’t intending to write during my holiday to Tanzania, but I couldn’t resist. Thus The Guardian was born, inspired by my journey and nourished by my life-long love of romantic suspense.
The combination of action, adventure and romance is irresistible to me. The ingredients are exciting: Two flawed and complex characters struggling with their demons. An attraction that defies the odds. An explosive, twisting plot that takes place in a remarkable setting. Interesting secondary characters and high stakes that matter…in and out of bed. Add to that lust and sex on the way to true love and a happy ending, and I’m hooked. Because when romance and adventure collide, sparks fly. And I do love those sparks.
PS: Would you like to see the images that inspired the scenes in The Guardian? Click here to see a few of my pictures of Africa.