Adrienne Vaughan: The Layers and Textures within Romantic Suspense

The celebrations with the Romantic Novelists’ Association continue as they mark their 60th anniversary and I’m delighted to welcome Adrienne Vaughan as my next guest in this series of posts looking at romantic suspense.

Romantic suspense comes in many forms, how would you describe the sort you write?

My stories tend to be multi-generational, so romance takes many forms in my novels. The love aspect – always a rocky road for my characters – laces through the central theme, which usually has a dark mystery at its heart. It’s the trials and tribulations of unravelling the intrigue and seeking justice which help define my characters as the story develops. My books always have a happy ending, so love has to be in there somewhere.

Is it as straightforward as calling it a romance?

I don’t think any romance, or indeed relationship is straightforward and it’s the layers and textures of my characters interaction with one another that I find most intriguing.

I have a vague plan what my books are about when I start writing, but the story unfolds as I write, so I’m finding out what happens as if I’m a reader – I love that process.

What is it about romantic suspense that draws you to write it?

I write multi-layered, fast-paced mysteries with strong female leads – of all ages – who have very real relationships on many levels. Romantic love is just one aspect of love, but it’s a force that moulds us.

Choosing who we build relationships with, how and where we live, what we do for a living is all linked to that one important love interest, the one we chose as our partner.

It’s the bedrock of society, no matter what form it takes, people fall in love and try to make it work despite what’s thrown at them and as humans it’s this very human story that fascinates us, every time.

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

Great question but not in my gift, I’m afraid. My characters dictate the balance between romance and suspense in my novels. For instance, in my debut The Hollow Heart,the fiery on-off relationship between investigative journalist Marianne Coltrane and the arrogant actor Ryan O’Gorman really drives the plot. Yet in my latest, That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel, the emerging passion between leading lady Mia Flanagan and the powerful Ross Power is very understated.

And like all good authors, I do what I’m told, it’s their story after all.

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

Romance is such a broad genre, with so many sub-genres it can be quite frustrating when people give misguided ‘nudge-nudge, wink-wink’ responses when asking what I write.

It’s up to us as writers to reinforce the message; romantic fiction is one of the best-selling genres in the world, people adore our stories, devour our books and fall in love with our characters.

We’re a force to be reckoned with, because great romantic writing is some of the best in the world. Being a writer of romance is something to be proud of and as a writer of suspense, be careful what you say about romance … I could easily erase you with the flick of my pen!


Mia Flanagan has never been told who her father is and aged ten, stopped asking. Haunted by this, she remains a dutiful daughter who would never do anything to bring scandal or shame on her beautiful and famously single mother. So when Archie Fitzgerald, one of Hollywood’s favourite actors, decides to leave Mia his Irish estate she asks herself – is he her father after all? That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel is a tale of passion, jealousy and betrayal – and the ghost of a secret love that binds this colourful cast yet still threatens, after all these years, to tear each of them apart.


12 thoughts on “Adrienne Vaughan: The Layers and Textures within Romantic Suspense

  1. Thanks a million for hosting me here, Sue. And perfect timing on this Saint Patrick’s Day! Much appreciated.
    Just to say, I have three signed paperbacks to give away as a special celebration of the day that’s in it … just drop me an email and I’ll put your name in the hat! Good luck! 🙂

  2. Happy St Paddy’s Day to you both. I love romantic suspense and Adrienne’s books but don’t think I’d be able to write it. Although you pretty much have given us a masterclass in this blog. My favourite authors (from the past) are Mary Stewart and Catherine Gaskin. As writers I think we could learn a lot from re-reading their work. I especially loved ‘PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN’ by Gaskin. Summer at the Seahorse Hotel is my favourite of Adrienne’s books but I’m looking forward to reading her next one very soon.

    1. Many thanks for stopping by Lizzie and a very Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to you too. Also, thanks for kind words about my novels. I too adore Gaskin and must revisit Mary Stewart …been a long time but I clearly recall how subtly they both build suspense, pulling you right into the story. I also find that even the great Agatha Christie dabbles in a little romantic inclination now and again and for me, as a writer, if the attraction is fatal, all the better. New one on its way … characters misbehaving as usual! X

  3. So interesting to hear Adrienne’s writing process. I’ve loved all of her novels – fabulous settings, great characters – always draw me in!

    1. Hello June! Lovely of you to call in … and thanks for your support, always. I’m arguing with a character at the moment, because I apparently ‘dealt’ with a serious issue too blithely! (Going back for a bit of rewriting … you know what it’s like!) X

  4. Fabulous post. I love Adrienne’s writing and am always eager to know more about her and her books. Great questions, Sue, and equally fab answers, Ade 🙂 Xx

  5. Fabulous blog post! I love Adrienne’s writing and I have loved all of her books! Eagerly awaiting for the next one.

  6. Many thanks Briggers … I loved working on the words for Sue’s blog, it made me think about the process which is always enlightening, even if, as we writers know, infuriating at times! X

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s