Heya! Elle Keaton here to chat about writing, specifically writing romantic suspense.

As a reader, rom-suspense is my number one favorite genre—not matter what the time period or the setting, I love characters who come together and love each other despite their world falling down around them. I supposed I should’ve known that when I finally got around to writing my own books I would delve into romantic suspense. Nancy Drew and The Famous Five began it all and I haven’t stopped reading since.

Why? Maybe it’s the intricacy of the stories, how the love aspect has to meld with the overarching mystery that must be solved regardless of the attraction between characters—or sometimes in spite of it. Truth versus love…oooh.

A favorite aspect of mine is rom-suspense’s complexity. I find both in reading, and in my own writing, that characters written for romantic suspense seem to be more complex and interesting than standard romance (I write that too so I am not knocking it). Often there is a looming backstory for one or both of the characters which must be resolved and acts as the impetus for the suspense/mystery arc.

Ooh, I also love how the most evil character the criminal mastermind is, in a sense, THE MATCHMAKER; this is my personal secret-sauce when I write romantic suspense.

Rom-suspense characters are often such tortured souls at first that we (readers) are not sure they can love. And yet, good rom-suspense writers make it happen—or the vicious opponent does.

For instance, look at good old Sherlock. Surely, he is as tortured, complex, and morally suspect as any character we are familiar with, and yet, we all know he grows to love Watson (whether it’s romantic, or platonic love, I’ll leave that to you J ).

In my novels I like exploring a trope that had been around since Dashiell Hammett—‘the lonely man’. This trope works for female protags too, look at VI Warshawski created by Sara Paretsky or Kinsey Millhone brought to us by the late Sue Grafton.

Anyway…the lonely man is usually an idea-man who is singularly focused—up until he meets the love interest and then suddenly his world is turned upside down. Spoiler alert—this is my favorite part! Both as a reader and as a writer I love it when the fictional world is set on fire and once the smoke clears our characters are huddled together protecting each other. Swoon.

LOVE is what, in the end, helps the characters grow and possibly/hopefully also solve the crime/catch the criminal. One is not without the other.

Now you know all my secrets! And now I must head back to the keyboard because I have characters to torture!

Until next time, Elle

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Niall’s never known anything but betrayal. All Mat wants is Niall’s heart. What will it take for him to coax Niall in from the cold?

Mat's connection with Niall is tenuous; one step forward, two steps back. Since that night on the beach Niall's been avoiding Mat like a bad case of the flu–which, ironically, most of his deputies have come down with. What will it take for Niall to truly believe Mat wants him for who he is?

Mat's overworked, Niall's unnerved, and then things really go sideways.

Will a killer destroy everything before Niall realizes they are stronger together than apart?

Long Shadow is a dual POV about a broody introvert and a somewhat patient Sheriff. Mat’s going to have to prove to Niall he's the man for him. The Hamarsson and Dempsey series follows the same couple as they find their way to their happily ever after.