Multi-published author Kelly Irvine, author of more than 30 Amish romance and romantic suspense novels, recently stopped by my blog to share some about her writing life.
Why did you start writing romantic suspense novels?
I’ve always loved reading mysteries and suspense novels since my days of reading Nancy Drew mysteries as a kid. Then it was Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense novels, such as Nine Coaches Awaiting and My Brother Michael. I like mysteries and suspense, but I want an element of romance. I need to care about the characters and know about their relationships or I can’t care about the suspense/mystery plot.
What’s the hardest part of writing romantic suspense?
I’m a seat of the pants writer, so crafting the suspense part can be hard. I know what the crime is and usually who did it, but I don’t know how my heroine solves the crime until I start writing. Sometimes I write myself into a corner, which means there’s a great deal of rewriting!
When do you find time to write?
I’m blessed to be able to write full time. I retired from my job in public relations in 2016 because of health problems. The silver lining was that those health problems allowed me to fulfill my lifelong dream of writing fulltime. I get started around 8:30 each morning and usually try to wrap up around four o’clock so I can exercise, have supper and spend time with my husband.
What is your favorite spot for reading or reflecting on your current work-in-progress?
My husband gave me a recliner that helps me sit down and stand up (I have limited mobility) for Christmas a few years ago. It’s next to a nice big set of windows in the living room. My TBR pile is on a small table next to it. I could read anywhere, but this place is just about perfect.
Where do you get the inspiration for your plots?
I was a newspaper reporter for 10 years before going into public relations. I’m a news-aholic, so many of my ideas come from crime stories I read in the newspaper. Sometimes it’s just a spark of an idea and I run with it. I also proofread trial transcripts for court reporters for a few years. That gave me a ton of ideas for crimes and also a wealth of information on how crimes are solved, crime scene investigations, autopsies, court proceedings, etc.
How do you pick the location/setting of your romantic suspense novels?
All of my romantic suspense novels are set in San Antonio. It’s such a perfect location because it’s colorful, historic and rich in cultural variety. Many readers will have visited the city, either as tourists, or while in the military, so they recognize the many landmarks. San Antonio can become a character in some of the books. I love being able to sprinkle the story with uniquely San Antonio or Texas references, such as Whataburger, the Spurs and San Antonio Missions mascot the Puffy Taco, and locations such as Market Square, the River Walk and HemisFair Tower.
What did you want to be as a child (and did that dream come true)?
I wanted to be a writer. I always wanted to write novel, but I decided to get my degree in journalism so I could get a job that paid. I didn’t get serious about writing fiction until I turned 45 and realized I better get busy or I’d never reach my goal of writing and publishing a novel.
How do you ensure your books are accurate?
I do a ton of research, but I also have a friend who is a San Antonio PD retired homicide detective. He reads my manuscripts and helps me with police procedure.
What do readers ask you when they meet you?
The number-one question is where do your ideas come from. And the answer is all over the place, but primarily from the news.
Which of your books is your favorite and why?
Probably Trust Me. Because it’s the last one I wrote and I feel as if I learned something with each book I’ve written, polishing my style, honing my craft, so I’m proud of Trust Me as a culmination of all that hard work. It’s not perfect but it combines romance, suspense and an inspirational theme that provides the story’s foundation in a way that I’ve not been able to do with all of my books.
About Kelly Irvine
Kelly has penned eight critically acclaimed romantic suspense novels, including Trust Me, which debuted in 2022. Publisher’s Weekly said of the novel: “(In this) whirlwind romantic thriller . . . Irvin follows the characters through twists and turns, writing through the lens of faith and broken faith, while illuminating a bridge across shattered relationships to second chances.” Her latest novel is No Child of Mine, a follow-up to A Deadly Wilderness, from Ally Press. Irvin and her husband make their home in South Texas.
A Deadly Wilderness
The journey ends where it began—in a deadly wilderness. Not everyone will survive the trip.
A frantic anonymous crisis center hot-line call propels counselor Susana Martinez-Acosta smack into the center of a murder investigation and a homicide detective’s arms. Exactly where she doesn’t want to be. Following the tragic death of her husband, she’s struggled to build a safe haven for herself and her son. That new world doesn’t include hit men and persistent detectives with dangerous jobs.
An idyllic wilderness hike turns deadly when homicide detective Ray Johnson tumbles into a ravine and lands on a corpse later identified as the son of a prominent citizen. Ray works to solve the political hot potato murder before city leaders bumps him from the case. His determination to find the man’s killer leads him from the wealthiest enclaves in San Antonio to the city’s dark underbelly, all the while trying to win the woman he loves.
A Deadly Wilderness is a romantic suspense novel that will take the reader along on a tumultuous journey as the consuming need for material wealth drives a deadly wedge among family members who haven’t learned when enough really is enough.