Linda Huber : Psychological Suspense Meets Romance

As part of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s 60th anniversary celebrations, I thought I’d use the romantic month of February to chat to some fellow writers, all of whom write suspense but with differing takes on the romantic or relationship element of their novel.

Today, I have Linda Huber joining me …

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

Most of my psychological suspense novels contain some romance. The romance part is always connected to the main, suspense plot; in The Paradise Trees, for instance, Alicia is alone, dealing with an elderly parent issue when she meets nice Dr Frank. The reader knows, however, that Frank could be the anonymous stalker who has targeted Alicia’s young daughter Jenny. On the other hand, it could be Derek, or Doug, or the pet shop owner. The suspense comes in two parts: will the unknown stalker get Jenny, and is Alicia going to end the book happily?

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

Romance plays a big part in most people’s lives, at least at some point! Who doesn’t like a happy ending, and who doesn’t like the suspense of wondering how it’s going to work out – ifit’s going to work out, and if the hero is what he seems to be. And even if the main plot is to do with an unknown someone stealing from elderly patients in hospital and then murdering to cover his tracks (Ward Zero), readers can still enjoy wondering if Sarah has fallen for the right guy along the way…

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

In my books, suspense gets the lion’s share, always. Relationships always figure in the plot, but they’re sometimes established marriages (not that these can’t contain romance too!!), and more often it’s family dynamics that my plots circle around. I reckon it’s like life – sometimes romance is the most important thing, and sometimes it’s not.

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

One misconception can be – suspense novels don’t have romance in them. But I think we’re all looking for love in our lives, though of course happiness doesn’t have to mean finding romantic love. In her book The Tree of Hands, Ruth Rendell juggled crime, romance and suspense brilliantly. Benet ends up having to choose between a relationship with a great guy, and her child. I cried at the end of that one.


He had found exactly the right spot in the woods. A little clearing, green and dim, encircled by tall trees. He would bring his lovely Helen here… This time, it was going to be perfect.

When Alicia Bryson returns to her childhood home in a tiny Yorkshire village, she finds her estranged father frail and unable to care for himself. Her daughter Jenny is delighted at the prospect of a whole summer playing in the woods at the bottom of the garden, but as soon as Alicia sets foot in Lower Banford, strange and disturbing memories begin to plague her. What happened in her father’s house, all those years ago?

But coping with the uncertainty and arranging Bob’s care plan aren’t Alicia’s only problems. Unknown to her, she has a stalker. Someone is watching, waiting, making plans of his own. To him, Alicia and Jenny are his beautiful Helens… and they should be in Paradise.

Morton S. Gray : The Mysteries Tied Up in Romantic Suspense

The second week of the Romantic Novelists’ Association‘s 60th celebrations is upon us and today I have romantic suspense writer, Morton S. Gray with me.

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?

The heroes and heroines in my books tend to take their time falling in love. I think this is because I usually have them in situations at the beginning of my novels where they would be unlikely to see each other as life partners, or even in some cases friends …

Is it as straightforward as calling it romance?

My stories tend to focus on the solving of a mystery and the hero and heroine both have a part to play in this, so, no, my books are not solely focussed on the romantic element.

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

Generally, it is the mystery or suspense element of the book which starts me along the path of writing the manuscript – I often only have a vague scenario and context to place my characters in when I begin to write. I don’t plan my novels in advance, so I enjoy discovering what is happening in the situation and world I have created as I go along, hopefully as much as my readers do when they read the books.

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

I would say that my books are mainly focussed on the mystery or suspense by as much as seventy percent. In fact, the couple have to be able to solve the conundrum they have been set and weather the storms along the way to give them any chance of a successful relationship.

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

Readers, unless they are regular romance readers of course, tend to be turned off by the romance description I find. Unfortunately, it tends to be associated with fluffy images and lack of substance – so untrue.

All I do if I come across this reluctance to try a romantic suspense novel, is to describe the puzzle my characters are trying to solve and hope that this tempts readers in. To give you examples of what I might say – for The Girl on the Beach, the story is about a woman trying to work out if the new headmaster of her son’s school is a man she knew before in very different circumstances, for The Truth Lies Buried, it is a couple drawn together to try to discover why their fathers both disappeared around the same time when they were children and Christmas at Borteen Bay is centred around the finding of a body on the beach at the beginning of December and the identity of the deceased. I hope that these descriptions enable potential readers to realise my books have more substance than they first imagined.


Two children in a police waiting room, two distressed mothers, a memory only half remembered…

When Jenny Simpson returns to the seaside town of Borteen, her childhood home, it’s for a less than happy reason. But it’s also a chance for her to start again.
A new job leads to her working for Carver Rodgers, a man who lives alone in a house that looks like it comes from the pages of a fairy tale – until you see the disaster zone inside …
As Jenny gets to know Carver she begins to unravel the sadness that has led to his chaotic existence. Gradually they realise they have something in common that is impossible to ignore – and it all links back to a meeting at a police station many years before.
Could the truth lie just beneath their feet?

Amanda James : Psychological suspense and romance on the same page

As part of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s 60th anniversary celebrations, I thought I’d invite some suspense and romantic suspense writers onto the blog over the next few weeks to talk about how they incorporate the two genres.

Today, Amanda James is joining me …

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

Psychological suspense with a romantic element.

Is it as straightforward as calling it romance?

No. Because there’s always a dark twist or two and a a background of mystery/intrigue.

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

I like writing exciting stories where the baddie gets their comeuppance… usually.

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

The suspense is the majority of the story. The relationship is always in there, but it’s not the main focus.

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

Sometimes it’s not taken as seriously as a straight police procedural, or crime story. I just say – read it, you might be surprised!


Who can you trust when the past won’t let you go?

Kerensa and Leo are a happily married young couple who live in Cornwall. Leo works part-time in London as an investment advisor to wealthy businessman, Paul Donaldson. The couple hope to start a family soon and life couldn’t be better.

But Leo has been stealing from Paul and Paul isn’t the sort of man you steal from.

When Leo realises that Paul knows what he’s done, he has no choice but to resort to drastic measures.

Meanwhile, after discovering she is pregnant, Kerensa can’t wait for her husband to return home so she can share her news. But she soon discovers he’s gone missing.

After receiving a threatening phone call from Paul, Kerensa realises how much trouble her family are in.

Just how far is Paul prepared to go to get revenge? And will Kerensa ever be happy or safe again?

Lynda Stacey : A Happy Union for Suspense and Romance

As part of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s 60th anniversary celebrations, I thought I’d invite some suspense and romantic suspense writers onto the blog over the next few weeks to talk about how they incorporate the two genres.

First up is Lynda Stacey


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

I’d say that all of my novels are very character driven. I write in deep third person, which gives the reader all the happiness, but also all the fear of the heroine. I always try to get empathy for my heroine, before escalating the suspense.

Is it as straightforward as calling it romance?

Not at all. Romance is exactly that, it’s the meeting of two people, the chemistry between them and the joining of their lives. Suspense comes in many different forms, the only two things you can be sure of in a suspense book is that the heroine isn’t going to get a smooth ride during the story and that once she does get love, she really deserves it.

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

Because I honestly don’t believe that everyone’s life is full of roses, mine certainly wasn’t. Yes, of course people meet and fall in love, but in this day and age, there are always family members, ex-partners and other ‘nasty’ people who want to spoil things. I am however quite sure that most people’s lives don’t include serial killers or murder. But in my novels, my poor heroines are given quite a battle, they normally get quite a lot thrown at them, but being kick-ass type women they do grow within the book, gain confidence and ultimately, … they always win the battle in both life and love.!!

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

I try to ensure that both parts of the book would stand alone, that without the romance the crime would be there, and it would work. But equally, that there is always enough chemistry between my two main characters that the romance part of the story could still have happened, even if the suspense/crime hadn’t.

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

A lot of people seem to think that if you write any genre that has the word romance in it, then you must write books similar to Fifty Shades of Grey. That they obviously must be graphic or that they’re only for women to read.

None of the above is true. My books are nothing like Fifty Shades of Grey, they’re not graphic although they do contain one or two sexual scenes within each book (which I’d like to think are tastefully done) Also, I know quite a few men who’ve read my books. I openly encourage men to give them a go. !!


Should some secrets stay buried?
For as long as Cassie Hunt can remember her Aunt Aggie has spoken about the forgotten world that exists just below their feet, in the tunnels and catacombs of the Sand House. The story is what inspired Cassie to become an archaeologist.
But Aggie has a secret that she’s buried as deep as the tunnels and when excavation work begins on the site, Cassie is the only one who can help her keep it. With the assistance of her old university friend, Noah Flanagan, she puts into action a plan to honour Aggie’s wishes.
It seems the deeper Noah and Cassie dig, the more shocking the secrets uncovered – and danger is never far away, both above and below the ground …

The Art of Seduction – a guest post from Lorraine Wilson plus amazing #giveaway

Today I have a guest post from the lovely Lorraine Wilson who is talking about her new book THE ART OF SEDUCTION.  I do love the cover and the story sounds exciting too. Here’s Lorraine to tell you all about it …
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Recently I was lucky enough to meet Marian Keyes at the Cheltenham Literary Festival after attending her talk. She’s always been one of my favourite authors so I was thrilled to discover how lovely she is in person. She was charming, funny and inspiring. She made everyone feel she’d love nothing more than to sit down and have a cup of tea and a chat with them. One of the things she said that struck me was how lucky she’d been to have so many disasters and suffer depression because it gave her lots to bring to her stories!
That made me think about what I’ve brought to The Art of Seduction, my latest novel.
Despite the title (a play on words because the hero is an artist) it’s not so much a story about sex as about connection. Both Laura and Jack had an expat childhood but reacted to it in different ways. Jack refuses to become too attached to anything or anyone because he knows how transient life can be. Laura on the other hand longs to settle down, to have a proper home and to belong somewhere.
What they both really need is to be brave enough to forge a connection and let go of beliefs that are holding them back. For them, sex is a doorway to experiencing a connection worth changing for. For Laura, sex with Jack is especially empowering.
I had an expat childhood myself so writing about home, identity and belonging was especially poignant. Also, somewhat ironically, I was once approached in the National Gallery by an artist who wanted to paint me. I declined as I was in a relationship and suspected he wanted to do more than just paint me but I was very flattered.
Some of the story comes entirely from imagination though. I’ll leave you to decide which bits those are 😉
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The Art of Seduction (publication date 15th October, 2015) available here:
Laura Baker has a plan. She’s going to make Jack McClaren, bad boy of the art world, face up to his responsibilities. Jack has a plan, to track down his elusive creative spark. When Laura ambushes him he’s found it. Now to light the fuse, sit back and enjoy the fireworks…
“If you love a sexy, sizzling book that packs an emotional punch, you’ve just found your perfect next read. Five sparkly stars from me.” Kitty French, USA Today Bestselling Author.
‘I live in London and work in a florists, though I do a bit of waitressing in the evenings as well, to make some extra money. With the mess my sister Sophie has got into we’re going to need every penny and it’s not like I can rely on Mum or Dad to help out.
It was through the waitressing temp job I finally found a way to turn things around, to make things right for my little sister. Going through the proper channels got me nowhere so I had to get…creative. The laws of right and wrong apply to everyone, or at least they should do. I admit Jack McClaren is super hot, after all I’m not blind, but he stands for all the things I despise – he’s feckless and irresponsible and it’s time someone made him pay. That someone is going to be me.’
‘I should be in a great place right now, commissions have made me rich and critics have named me as one of the greatest portrait painters of the twenty first century. Apparently I’m the ‘bad boy of the art-world’, or so my publicist would have you believe. But I’ve got a problem, my creative spark is ominously absent, it’s been AWOL for a while. I’m busy procrastinating when Laura rockets into my life, bringing the elusive spark of inspiration with her. Sounds good, yes? Right up to the point when she opens her mouth and what she says…well, let’s just say her accusation leaves me reeling. It’s not long though before I realise I can turn the situation to my advantage. Seduction is an art and I’ve been told I’m a skilled artist in more ways than one. I’m all for taking opportunities to perfect my art. With Laura my plan is simple – light the fuse and then sit back and enjoy the fireworks.’
‘The Art of Seduction’ is a new novel to set your pulse racing from Lorraine Wilson, author of the bestselling Chalet Girl stories. It’s the perfect next read if you love Christina Lauren’s ‘Beautiful’ series or Alice Clayton’s ‘Cocktail’ series.
To celebrate publication of The Art of Seduction Lorraine is doing a mega-giveaway:
First prize: a Lorraine Wilson Design La Boutique shoulder bag worth £34.99, a set of Chalet Girl paperbacks, a tote bag, two brand new Clinique lipsticks, Clinique Take off the day make-up remover, Clinique samples, a Lorraine Wilson Design felt heart hanging decoration and an ebook copy of The Art of Seduction.
Two runner up prizes of: a paperback copy of Confessions of a Chalet Girl, a book bag, a Lorraine Wilson Design felt heart hanging decoration and an ebook copy of The Art of Seduction.
You can enter here: 
lorraine wilson giveaway

You are cordially invited…

Hi, my name’s Eve Devon and I write sexy heroes, sassy heroines and happy ever afters… and I would like to cordially invite you to enjoy Magical Weddings: 15 Enchanting Romances: Whether real or only in the hearts of the bride and groom, the magic of weddings is undeniable. And irresistible! As these 15 enchanting happily-ever-afters by bestselling and award-winning authors prove.

From sweet to spicy, the romances bundled into this set, 14 of them new releases, cross time and unite hearts, cast spells of laughter, battle wedding jitters and fight back tears, while weaving love’s hopeful magic throughout 1400 pages.

Receiving the invite to write a novella for the Magical Weddings box-set was a lot like receiving an actual wedding invitation in the post. I got that lovely warm sparkle of possibility that has always been present whenever I’ve opened one of those calligraphy-embossed-linen-blend envelopes. Then I was quickly scanning the invite for that vital information—the who…the when…the where…

The ‘who’ turned out to be a group of fifteen authors, from all corners of the globe—but all with one thing in common that makes us a great fit—we’re all completely in love with romance and two people getting their HEA.

The ‘when’ turned out to be 16th June 2015 – when the box-set releases (it is available for pre-order now).

And the ‘where’ is:

Amazon           Barnes & Noble         Google Play               iTunes             KOBO

Of course women know that the real question that springs to mind as soon as you receive a wedding invite is: what do I wear? Is there a theme? Do I go vintage or modern?

For this invite I knew the theme was Magical Weddings and that I could choose whether the magic was real or metaphorical. Me being me, I chose real and metaphorical and I chose historical and contemporary!


Blurb: The Dress, by Eve Devon, Magical Weddings box-set:

Venice, 1615 and instead of the man her father wants her to marry, lacemaker Caterina dreams of Matheo. But when she dabbles with magical lace, she falls foul of the ruling family, altering not only her destiny, but Matheo’s too, and now imprisoned, Caterina must design a way to entwine their fates again.

England, 2015 and when Cait bumps into Matthew, back from his travels for their friends’ wedding, the spark between them flares instantly. But is it another case of the right place at the wrong time for this bridesmaid and best man, or can a dress from Cait’s lace exhibition at the Museum of Fashion weave its magic through the fabric of time, and unite their destinies, too?

So, wands at the ready…let the box-set cast its spell and…enjoy 🙂


Audio Voice Work

Today, I’m delighted to welcome onto the blog, my lovely sister-in-law, Angela Rowland who did the voice over for my book trailer The Half Truth.  She did an amazing job for me, the link for which is below, and I wanted to ask her more about her work.


Angie, how did you get into your line of work, acting and voice overs? Where did it all begin?

I got into professional acting, having never been to drama school or anything like it, by being spotted on the amateur stage in my 20’s . I was advised to get into voice over work, which in turn provided me with the professional contracts I needed, in order to secure my Equity membership.  I then went on to get into roleplay and other acting jobs.  From that I was then recommended to the Film Studies Department at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge and now work regularly with the film students on various projects.I am currently acting in 2 short films, both of which are major graduation projects.  I feel very fortunate.

What did you do before your acting and voice over work?

I was a legal secretary for many years and worked my way up to a high level in that job but I always said I did not want to be chained to a desk until I retired!  So to find myself working as an actress and voice artist for the last few years and for that to build so that I can say I have a career as an actress is so rewarding and I am certainly doing what I love the most as a job!

And what have you got planned in the future?

My ambition now would be to get onto Spotlight with a good show reel, so that I might be able to get an agent to try out for television and theatre work. If I could make this happen  in 2015, that would be so good but in the meantime I am more than happy as things are.

Thank you so much for doing the voice over on the book trailer for me – I’m delighted with it. 

Very best of luck with your show reel and Spotlight.


Contact details :

Email :

Facebook Angela Rowland

Nikki Moore’s New Release – Crazy, Undercover, Love

nikki moore bannker

The day has finally arrived!! Nikki Moore’s debut novel with HarperImpulse – Crazy, Undercover, Love – is released as an ebook today, 24th April 2014.

If you like pacy, sexy romance and fancy a long weekend in Barcelona with a smoking hot guy this one’s for you!  Want to know more…?

When uber-feisty career girl Charley Caswell-Wright takes on the assignment as PA to the gorgeous Alex Demetrio, CEO of Demetrio International, she’s there under entirely false pretences; to get her life back on track. Having lost the job she worked so hard to earn, she’s determined not to give it up so easily, especially when she didn’t deserve to lose it in the first place.

Mr Dreamy CEO is her only chance of clawing back her career – and her reputation. So she has to keep things strictly professional… boy, is she in trouble!

To buy Crazy, Undercover Love as an ebook:-


Amazon –

Google Play –

iTunes –

Kobo –

Sainsbury’s –

Or to buy it as a paperback on pre-order, released on 26th June:-

Amazon –

What people are saying about Nikki’s other stories…

The Love Letter and A Day in the Life… HarperImpulse short story collection Be My Valentine, with Teresa F Morgan and Brigid Coady, attracting 4 and 5 star reviews.

‘I loved all 5 stories and will look out for more books by each author.’

CometBabesBooks, Amazon

‘Whilst I enjoyed all of the stories, I particularly liked Nikki Moore’s … her voice as an author really resonated with me and I can’t wait to read more of her work.’

Kate Beeden, Goodreads

Nikki’s short story A Night to Remember in the Mills & Boon/Romantic Novelists Association anthology Truly, Madly, Deeply which has also attracted 4 and 5 star reviews.

‘My favourite story was A Night To Remember. I think what drew me to this … was its resonance with real life. I’m not going to spoil the story but I could feel the emotions spilling out of the page – it was beautiful.’


‘A Night to Remember – Beautiful, devastatingly so.’

Cheryl M-M, Goodreads &

Nikki_Moore_Author_Pic_1 Nikki Moore lives in beautiful Dorset and writes short stories and sexy, pacy romances. A finalist in several writing competitions including Novelicious Undiscovered 2012, she graduated from the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers’ Scheme after four years and and has contributed to their magazine Romance Matters. She has far too much fun attending the annual RNA conference and has previously chaired a panel and taken part in a workshop at the Festival of Romance.

She blogs about some of her favourite things – Writing, Work and Wine – at www.nikkimooreauthor.wordpress.comand believes in supporting other writers as part of a friendly, talented and diverse community.

You can find her on Facebook at or on Twitter @NikkiMoore_Auth and she invites you to pop in for chats about love, life, reading or writing!


A Romaniac Interview with Lovely Lucie Wheeler

To celebrate the launch of our anthology Romaniac Shorts, myself and my other lovely Romaniac girls are taking it in turns interviewing each other. Laura did a secret draw, World Cup style, and Lucie and I were picked to ask each other the questions.

£1 – proceeds to Dyslexia Action and the RNA. Click image for Amazon link.

Hello, Lucie, and welcome to my new blog. You’re my first guest and what better guest to have than a lovely Romaniac lady!

Wow, I am truly honoured. Thanks so much for having me.

Right, here we go with the questions …

imageYou recently won the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance, how has this impacted on your writing career?

Do you know what, I still can’t actually believe that I won. I was up against some very talented writers and I truly didn’t think I would be in with a chance of winning. I was praying for runner up at best. It was such a magical moment when Sammia Hamer  (Avon, Harper Collins) called out Head over Heart. And to top it off, I was with fellow Romaniacs as well as new friends I had made that day.

Since winning, it has been a bit of a whirlwind. I received a fair bit of interest in HoH at the festival after it was announced and came away with a few email addresses and requests to see the full manuscript. I crossed my fingers and followed through with sending it out. And unbelievably, a matter of weeks after I had won the award, I was signed up to the Kate Nash Literary Agency and am now represented by Sarah Taylor. Sarah has been incredibly enthusiastic about HoH and its future, so we will see what the future holds.

What are you working on at the moment? Can you sum it up in just a couple of sentences?

At the moment I am working on my next full length novel. It is currently untitled but to sum it up, I would say it is the story of a young woman who takes the brave decision to escape from an abusive relationship. She returns to her hometown to start fresh but after years of abuse, it isn’t as easy as she thinks to live normally again. And there’s also the added complication of her best friend’s brother… 

Can you explain how your writing process works? What comes first? Plot, characters, setting, theme?

This is a hard one as I feel I am still relatively new to writing and so I tend to be trying lots of different techniques to see which works for me. With Head over Heart, it was the main theme which came first. HoH follows the story of young widow, Sophie, who is trying to learn to love again but finds herself constantly swimming against the tide.

Before I even thought of writing that book, I had a dream. In the dream, I was the passenger in Sophie’s husband’s car accident. I saw how she was widowed. For weeks after that dream I couldn’t shake it off. That woman’s story needed to be told … and so Head over Heart was born.

However with the novel I am working on at the moment, I had an idea of the characters first, but this was alongside the theme which is domestic violence. So maybe I do predominantly work from the theme.

Yes, let’s go theme! I do like to go around the houses sometimes to get to where I want to be 🙂

If you could have any author, living or dead, and any character from a book over for coffee and cake, who would you choose and why?

My ultimate hero (I should really say heroine) is JK Rowling, I would most definitely invite her over for coffee. I would also have wine, Gin and Baileys on offer too, if she preferred, but I suppose it would depend on what time of day I held my gathering. Anyway, yes, definitely JK Rowling. It was reading the Harry Potter books that really made me think about my writing seriously. I think those books are fantastically well written and I remember saying to my friend, “If I can write something and it makes someone else feel, what I feel when I read those books, It would be amazing.”

Even though I have many icons now within the writing industry, she was my first real icon. And to this day I would still absolutely love to meet her.

And finally, the all important question, what cake would be on offer?

Ooooh, well, I am not a chocolate cake type of person, believe it or not. I love chocolate bars, chocolate drinks and even ChocLit books … but chocolate sponge cake … nope. I would have a Victoria sponge on offer. And it would be shop bought because I am rubbish at baking!

Thank you, Lucie, it’s been great fun interviewing you.  Remember to save some of that cake for me!

Thank you so much for having me, Sue. It’s nice here, isn’t it? Very homely.

Oh, and saving cake? You will have to explain that concept to me as I’m afraid I don’t get it… saving… cake… nope, it’s ludicrous. Who has cake leftover to save?