My latest release, COLTON'S
SECRET BODYGUARD , is a romantic suspense, and writing in that genre is a
unique balance between the love story and the thriller. It's great to have this
opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences about what makes a good
For me it's all about tension.
I suppose, before I started writing romantic suspense, I had a vague idea that
it was a romance with a mystery thrown in. I couldn't have been more wrong. A
real romantic suspense is a blend of the two. There must be a developing
relationship between the hero and heroine, but there must also be a powerful
thriller. Unusually for a romance, the outside tension is just as important as
the emotional and sexual tension. As an author, the challenge is to ensure that
both are carefully crafted and equally balanced.
The mystery and its conclusion must be as visible, believable, and important as
the romance. It is not the story of two lovers who happen to be in danger. The
mystery impacts on their romance and shapes them as a couple until they emerge
changed, by their emotional journey and the danger to which they have
The author's responsibility is to keep the threads of love story and mystery
entwined throughout. This includes:
Getting the details right. If the killer couldn't have fired the gun that
way, the whole plot falls apart. Police procedures, legal terms, murder
weapons…the search history on my laptop is eye-popping!
In romantic suspense, setting does double duty. Nightfall can evoke fear.
Enclosed spaces tell us the characters are in danger. Immersion in water or ice
evokes urgency. Changing from one location to another gives a sense of movement.
Unexpected happenings within a setting can shake the reader out their
Creating meaningful characters. Romantic suspense is about danger and
romance happening at the same time, but none of it matters if we don't care
about the characters. That means investing in villains as well as heroes and
Every character (including the villain) should have a goal and something
personal at stake.
Every character should have a few key strengths that mold and form them.
Every character should have some vulnerability.
Every character should have their own moral code, the things they will and
will not do.
Everyone must evolve.
Start dramatic, then there should be lots of twists and turns along the way
with the end always appearing to be in doubt.
Sexual tension adds to a mystery story. It complicates the plot—there's
nothing simple about love and lust. Sex makes people vulnerable and in a
suspense story, the character can't afford to be vulnerable. It makes for
increased internal conflict.
I read somewhere that having characters fall in love (and lust) while they were
in danger wasn't believable. I don't buy into that point of view. I believe the
opposite is true. As danger mounts, so does desire. As the future becomes more
uncertain, the need for personal connection becomes heightened.
We need to have doubt and fear in the story. But there needs to be a glimmer
of light at the end of the tunnel. Harsh setbacks should be followed by fresh
ideas and new plans for attack. The hero and heroine can feel cornered, afraid,
and overwhelmed, but they should never feel hopeless. Romance, after all, is all
Romance readers know what we want. A happy ending is not a formula, it's an
expectation. Readers have raced to the finish line, now we need a celebration.
We need a big ending, one that ties up all the loose ends. Then we need to see
the hero and heroine being happy. After all the torture we've been through with
them, we all need a little warm glow before we turn the final page.
I love writing romantic suspense…torturing my characters until the final page
both emotionally and by throwing them into dangerous situations! I hope you
enjoy the twists and turns of both the mystery and the love story of COLTON'S SECRET BODYGUARD,
and the other stories in the Coltons of Roaring Springs series.
Just as Bree Colton is about to take the local art world by storm, someone is
determined to sabotage her success…unless Rylan Bennet can keep her safe. Bree
doesn't want anyone to protect her—not even gorgeous Rylan, whose secrets
threaten them both. But can the former soldier win the battle for Bree's heart
and the war against a sinister foe?
[Harlequin Romantic Suspense, On Sale: April 1,
2019, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781488041235 / eISBN: 9781488041235]
JANE GODMAN writes paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne and SMP Romance
and thrillers for Harlequin Romantic Suspense. She also self publishes her
historical and gothic stories. She has been a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice
Nominee and The Romance Reviews Readers' Choice Award Winner.
Jane worked in a variety of shops, bars, and offices before settling into a
career as a teacher. She was born in Scotland and has lived in Germany, Wales,
Malta, South Africa, and England. Jane still gets the urge to travel, although
these days she tends to head for a Spanish beach, or a European city that is
steeped in history.
When she isn't reading or writing romance, Jane enjoys cooking and spending time
with her family. She is married to a lovely man, has two grown up children and
has recently discovered the joy of becoming a grandparent (to two gorgeous boys).