Tanya Jean Russell : Intrigue, Drama and Tension in Romance

This year sees the 60th anniversary for the Romantic Novelists’ Association and I’m running a series of blog posts about the romantic suspense genre. Today, I have Tanya Jean Russell  with me to talk about the genre.

Romance and romantic suspense comes in many forms, not just the hearts and flowers relationships but the toxic and damaging ones too, how would you describe the romance included within your novels?

I am passionate about love being based on respect, trust and partnership. To me, the most powerful love comes from valuing each other. The romance I write tends to focus on couples bringing out the best in each other, even if it takes a little while for them to see, or accept, that that’s what’s happening!

Is it as straightforward as calling it romance?

In some ways it is that simple, love and romance are at the heart of my novels, calling it romance is the promise writers make to readers that their hopes and expectations will be fulfilled when they invest their precious time, and money, in reading something we have written.

In other ways the very best romance novels are much richer than calling them by a single genre name suggests. They draw readers into the lives of the main characters, their families and friendships, making us, as readers, feel as though we are a part of their world.

What is it about romantic suspense that draws you to write it or include it in your books?

I love reading about human interaction and relationships. The way romance novels place the relationship at the heart of the fictional journey is really powerful. I am drawn to the romantic suspense genre as a way of experiencing the drama, tension and intrigue of events and lives I will never live (and probably wouldn’t want to if it came down to it!). The unique settings and challenges my hero’s and heroines face always feel as exciting to write as their developing relationship does, and hopefully they are exciting to read!

What sort of balance between the romance element and the suspense element do you have?

I’m not much of a planner when I write, so the balance between the romance and suspense elements tends to be dictated by my characters. I find my hero and heroines tend to be pretty noisy, and determined to tell their own stories, I just get to come along for the ride!

Do you come up against any regular misconceptions about the genre and how do you dispel these?

I have been really lucky that people have been overwhelmingly positive about my writing, and the genre. I feel like it’s a reality that any genre comes with certain expectations, and as a writer, its up to me whether I meet those expectations or not.


Jake Williams has been undercover as a captain at Great Britain Air for months and he’s beyond frustrated. Tasked with finding the airline insiders who are smuggling chemical weapons into the country, he’s getting nowhere fast.

Bree Phillips has spent her whole life wanting to travel and experience life outside of the small village she grew up in, but her family needed her. Now, years later than planned, she is finally joining her best friend to work for Great Britain Air, and her adventure is beginning.

Jake knows he is better off alone, it keeps him sharp and focused, but despite his efforts to keep Bree at a distance, she is drawn further and further into his world. Both have to ask themselves whether some risks are worth taking.

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