Can we always write what we enjoy reading?  Or should we just let well enough alone.  It’s been years since I read a romantic suspense, but I used to love it so.  Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt…where are you, my ladies?  Patricia Cornwell, Mary Higgins Clark…yooohoooo, can you hear me?  Where’s my copy of “How to Write A Mystery.”

So, I set out on a journey of writing a romantic suspense, based on the fact that I already leaned toward putting suspense in my contemporary, A TRAIL OF LOVE.  Oh my word, I had no earthly idea they were so hard to write…at least for me.  And I am not saying that to discourage anyone, because I think there are plenty of writers who whizz right through them…all of them left brainers, no doubt!  :-)  I am a write by the seat of my pants sort, often known as a “pantser.”  Plotting is just another double-consonant word!  Nah, just kidding.  But I really do not plot out my stories.  I know where they will begin because location is of the most importance to me, and I know my couple will live happily ever after.  Everything in between is a mystery!

My first effort at romantic suspense did not go very well.  I submitted it and received a kinder and gentler rejection with very specific suggestions for improvement including…more suspense.  After pouting for the better part of a summer…no, not really…I was working on another contemporary at the time, I rewrote it with said suggestions and submitted it.

Lo and behold, I am now the proud owner of a contract for my romantic suspense,  A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS, set on the beautiful sugary sands of the Gulf Coast of Alabama where I’ve wintered for the last two years.  This place is so beautiful, so sunny, so wide open to the Gulf winds that, perversely, it just screams “mystery” to me.  Hopefully, I’ll set another one here.

So, tell me, readers, did you ever try to write in a genre that you love, and failed miserably…as I did the first time?  Did you dust yourself off and keep trying?

Bess McBride,

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