Award-winning author Darlene L. Turner recently stopped by my newsletter and blog to share some about her writing life. Plus, she’s giving away two ebooks of her most recent romantic suspense, Fatal Forensic Investigation, exclusively for my newsletter readers. See below for details.
Why did you start writing romantic suspense novels? I always loved mystery/suspense from when I picked up my first Nancy Drew book and that carried through into my adult life with heroines like Sydney Bristow and Kate Beckett. Writing romantic suspense was a natural progression for me.
What is your favorite spot for reading or reflecting on your current work-in-progress? Can I have two faves? In the warmer months, I love sitting out on my deck as I read my WIP (work in progress). Having the birds sing to me in the background is priceless! In the cooler months, I enjoy lounging in my comfy chair in my sunflower yellow office. Just something about it makes me smile.
How do you connect with your characters? I interview them by asking them many questions. What’s their deepest fear? What makes you angry? Happy? What’s your greatest accomplishment? Etc. This helps me dig deep into their backgrounds and persona.
What’s your go-to when you need a pick-me-up to keep writing? If I get ‘stuck’ on a plot line or just can’t get started, I take a step back and go for a walk. Sometimes about breaking away from the keyboard and getting into nature that opens up my mind!
What’s the weirdest way someone has died or been killed in your novels? Poison-laced bouquet of flowers. Ha ha!
What did you want to be as a child (and did that dream come true)? Don’t laugh. I wanted to be a police officer (or detective) after watching Charlie’s Angels. Bahaha! That didn’t happen, but I get to write about them, so next best thing!
What does your family think of your writing romantic suspense? My husband worries when he finds the Book of Poisons out on my desk. Bahaha! All kidding aside, my family is very supportive of my writing career. Couldn’t have gotten this far without them.
What is absolutely essential for you to write? I’m odd (don’t touch that one). Sometimes I need peace and quiet. Sometimes I like instrumental music playing in the background. Love the LOTR tracks!
About Darlene Darlene L. Turner is an award-winning author and lives with her husband, Jeff, in Ontario, Canada. Her love of suspense began when she read her first Nancy Drew book. You can connect with Darlene below where there’s suspense beyond borders.
Fatal Forensic Investigation
Remembering a serial killer’s face…could be deadly
While interviewing the Coastline Strangler’s only surviving victim, forensic artist Scarlet Wells is attacked and left with amnesia. Now she’s his next mark and has no choice but to work with constable Jace Allen to unlock the criminal’s true identity trapped in her mind. Will they be able to recover the hidden memory and hunt down the killer before he strikes again?
A Time for Singing by Carol James — Charlee Bennett is running from her past. Once deserted by her musician ex-fiancé, she’s vowed to avoid anything that reminds her of the pain of his betrayal. Chance Jackson is starting over. Hoping to redeem the mistakes of his earlier life, he wants to become the music and worship pastor of the largest church in Crescent Bluff. Charlee tries to convince herself she should not be attracted to Chance. But then she discovers an old letter hidden in the secret drawer of an antique desk. The pain expressed by its author resonates deep within her. Can the words of long ago soften Charlee’s heart and help her to discover that there is a time for singing? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing (Pelican))
An Unlikely Alliance by Toni Shiloh — To save her animal shelter, she’ll have to work with her biggest foe. With her emotional support dog at her side, Jalissa Tucker will do whatever it takes to ensure the survival of the local animal rescue—even ally herself with her nemesis, firefighter Jeremy Rider. As working together dredges up old hurts, putting the past aside could be the key to their future joy. But can Jalissa resist falling for the man she’s always considered the enemy. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))
Destination: Romance by Amy R. Anguish — It’s not every day you bring a boyfriend back as a souvenir. Katie Wilhite is ready to settle into her new job as a librarian now that college is through, but friends Bree and Skye want one more girls’ trip, and when Bree insists this is her bachelorette fling, Katie agrees. What she didn’t agree to was allowing fun and flighty Skye to dictate the itinerary or for her anxiety to kick in harder than ever … right in front of a cute guy. Camden Malone had no idea when he agreed to be the voice of reason on his cousin Ryan’s vacation that the trip wouldn’t stay in New Orleans as planned. But when Ryan plots with Skye so that the guys can tag along with the girls all week, he isn’t nearly as upset as he should be. Not with Katie’s fiery temper and flashing eyes intriguing him more by the minute. (Contemporary Romance from Scrivenings Press)
Finding her Amish Home by Pamela Desmond Wright — What she wants more than anything could also be the most dangerous. After her twin sister’s death, Maddie Baum flees to Wisconsin Amish country with her nephew in tow in the hopes of protecting him from his criminal father. Befriending Amish shopkeeper Abram Mueller gives her a glimpse of the happiness she’s been yearning for all along. Can she find a fresh start with Abram—or will old sins tear them apart? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))
Rebuilding Hearts by Carolyn Miller — Who knew a bank robbery could show a girl that good guys still exist? Tim Franklin. Quiet, shy, almost incapable of speaking to a girl, and a budding horticulturist. Oh, and he survived a bank robbery five years ago, not to mention its resulting trauma. Bookworm Bella Dwyer just wants to feel safe, and Tim’s actions during the robbery made her believe there might be guys who live up to her fictional heroes. Trouble is, a chance with Tim seems as remote as this year’s celebrity heartthrob. Instead, she settled for a relationship with a guy who’s commitment-phobic. (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit)
The Help of a Cowboy by Elsie Davis — Once a cowboy…always a cowboy. But when life delivers Chad a chance to hang up his boots and spurs, he’s all in. He’s newly single, bored, and ready to move to the city to shake things up. She’s recently divorced, tired of the fast pace, and looking to settle in the country. When their paths cross, the two must work together if they have any hope of following their dreams. The ranch is an albatross around Chad’s neck. Hard work and little time for fun. When his sister gets married and moves into town, the timing is perfect to sell the ranch and move on with his life. Diana is on the road to nowhere, looking to escape her past and find a special place to call home for her and her daughter. When she spots a ranch for sale just outside of Crossroads Creek, she knows in her heart it’s perfect. There’s only one problem…she doesn’t know the first thing about ranching. (Contemporary Romance from Sweet Romance Publishing)
When the Ice Melts by Ashlyn McKayla Ohm — After her dearest dreams are shattered, competitive figure skater Addisyn Miles embarks on a quest to discover who she really is. But the answers seem to lead to a mysterious man, a Canadian mountain town, and the sister she left behind three years ago. (Contemporary, Independently Published)
Winning Julia’s Heart by Narelle Atkins — Can a former bad boy be redeemed? Sean Mitchell has left his past behind, but his new boss, Julia Radcliffe, isn’t so sure. A year ago, Sean walked out on his brother’s wedding and her. Now the bad boy with the surfer good looks is back and determined to make a new life with Julia. She wonders whether she can truly trust that he’s a changed man. It took time and faith, but Sean is finally on the right path. And his feelings for Julia have only grown stronger. But when Sean’s past threatens to jeopardize their future, can he convince Julia they both want the same thing; a love that can overcome every mistake? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
Hope Beyond the Waves by Heidi Chiavaroli — Massachusetts, 1993: After making a grievous mistake that will change her life forever, Emily Robertson is sent away to live with her grandmother on Cape Cod. When Emily finds a timeworn photograph buried in a drawer, she realizes her grandmother has concealed a secret even bigger than her own. Will convincing Gram to reveal their family history help Emily make the most important decision of her life or will it prove her parents right—that family scandal is better off buried and forgotten? Massachusetts, 1916: Atta Schaeffer plans to marry the man of her dreams and whisk her little sister away from their abusive father. But when she is diagnosed with a dreaded malady, Atta is forced into a life of exile, leaving her sister in harm’s way. On Penikese Island, Atta’s best hope lies with Harry Mayhew, a doctor who seeks a cure for his patients at any cost. But when experiments fail, Atta runs from Harry—and from God. Can she return to her sister before it’s too late? Or will her illness consume both her body and soul? (General Historical, Independently Published)
Coming Home to Truth by Michelle De Bruin — Lacy Jones, a graduate of her small high school, knows her whole world is about to change. She dreams of freedom from the struggles with her health, and of the independence that comes with a steady job. When her friend invites her to share the journey to visit the teacher from their country school days, Lacy finally gets the chance to chase her dreams. But when the girls get separated along the way, Lacy is left to make the trip alone. Arriving in a strange town, Lacy is reunited with old friends who introduce her to a new life, new relationships, and a new way of seeing herself. (Historical Romance from Scrivenings Press)
For a Noble Purpose by Kelsey Gietl — Anxious to be free from a family legacy he would rather not claim and a slave-built society he doesn’t support, Tobias Lark believes the only way to find his perfect town is to create it himself. Joined by his three brothers, he sets out for the Washington Territory with a collection of carefully curated supporters, all determined to build a new life in the West. When a young plantation widow unexpectedly joins their party, he fears the curse she carries will crack the solid foundation upon which all his plans are built. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
Season of My Enemy by Naomi Musch — The realities of WWII come to a Wisconsin farm bringing hope and danger. Only last year Fannie O’Brien’s future shone bright, despite the war pounding Europe. Since her father’s sudden death and her brothers fighting overseas, Fannie must now do the work of three men on their 200-acre farm–until eight German prisoners arrive as laborers and, just as Fannie feared, trouble comes too. Captain Wolfgang Klonginger is relieved that his boys are off the warfront, keeping busy working the O’Brien farm until they can go home again and he can return to his teaching position in Germany. Crops take precedence, even as “accidents” happen around the farm. Could a saboteur be among them? Fannie is especially leery of the handsome German captain who seems intent on cracking her defenses. Can she manage the farm and hold her family together through these turbulent times, all while keeping the prisoners—and her heart—in line? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
The Burning Sands by Carole Lehr Johnson — After a year, Olivia Griffin still drowns in grief from losing her beloved husband in a tragic accident. To cope with his death, she loses herself in her art and genealogy research that follows her grandmother’s lineage to Trerose, a small fishing village on the Cornish coast of England. In a bid to start fresh, she travels to Cornwall to discover more about her grandmother’s past, where she is captivated by an old tavern and the story of a young woman who lived there in the seventeenth century. In the autumn of 1671, Grace Atwood and her brother still mourn the loss of their childhood friend while they struggle to protect their mother and siblings from their abusive father, who operates The Burning Sands Tavern. Grace’s life sinks further into turmoil after her father arranges her marriage to a local merchant with secrets of his own. When two strangers arrive in the harbor and the village is set alight with rumors, Grace finds herself caught between her family’s secrets and a romantic interest in Rig, a mysterious young man who is determined to help save her family. (Historical Romance from Ink Map Press)
Boughs of Folly by Sandra Orchard — After spending two decades of Christmas seasons in California, Jillian Green celebrates returning to her family’s antebellum mansion in Georgia by joyfully decking the halls for the upcoming Moss Hollow Merry Mansions Tour. However, Jillian’s holiday cheer takes a nosedive when she discovers her great aunt’s new friend Herbert dead at the base of a tree while he’s helping them string lights. Although his death appears to be a tragic accident, her great aunt insistently blames foul play, and handsome local coroner Hunter Greyson confirms her suspicions. Needled into action by her aunt, Jillian quickly realizes this case is more tangled than a strand of twinkle lights, and lead after lead winds up in a dead end. (Mystery Cozy from Annie’s Fiction)
Among the Innocent by Mary Alford — When Leah Miller’s entire Amish family was murdered ten years ago, the person believed responsible took his own life. Since then, Leah left the Amish and joined the police force. Now, after another Amish woman is found murdered with the same MO, it becomes clear that the wrong man may have been blamed for her family’s deaths. As Leah and the new police chief, Dalton Cooper, work long hours struggling to fit the pieces together in order to catch the killer, they can’t help but grow closer. When secrets from both of their pasts begin to surface, an unexpected connection between them is revealed. But this is only the beginning. Could it be that the former police chief framed an innocent man to keep the biggest secret of all buried? And what will it mean for Leah–and Dalton–when the full truth comes to light? (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)
Cold Case Killer Profile by Jessica R. Patch — The desert can hide many secrets…including murder. Searching for the perfect morning landscape to paint leads forensic artist Brigitte Linsey straight to a dead body—and a narrow escape from the Sunrise Serial Killer still on the scene. Now she’s become unfinished business and new prey. Working with FBI special agent Duke Jericho could mean putting the murderer away for good. However, it’s just a matter of time before this diabolically clever predator turns his hunters into the hunted… (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))
Fatal Forensic Investigation by Darlene L. Turner — Remembering a serial killer’s face…could be deadly. While interviewing the Coastline Strangler’s only surviving victim, forensic artist Scarlet Wells is attacked and left with amnesia. Now she’s his next mark and has no choice but to work with constable Jace Allen to unlock the criminal’s true identity trapped in her mind. Will they be able to recover the hidden memory and hunt down the killer before he strikes again? (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))
Vanished Without a Trace by Sarah Hamaker — After nine years searching for his missing sister, attorney Henderson Parker uncovers a clue that leads him to Twin Oaks, Virginia—and podcaster Elle Updike investigating the case. Partnering with the journalist is the last thing Henderson wants, until mysterious thugs make multiple attacks on both their lives. Now they’ll have to trust each other…before the suspected kidnappers make them disappear for good. (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))
Collapse: The Death of Honor by Angela D. Shelton — Caleb already lost his dreams when the variant ended life as he knew it, but when blackmailers threaten to destroy his life permanently, he must learn to trust others to forgive or lose the only family he has. (Young Adult Fiction from Two Oaks Publishing, LLC)
Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:
Multi-published author Shannon Redmon recently stopped by my blog to share some about her writing life.
Why did you start writing romantic suspense novels?
I’ve always loved to write stories or create characters and conversations in my head so why not put them on paper in story form? I chose romantic suspense because that’s what I love to read.
What’s the hardest part of writing romantic suspense?
Keeping the tension in every chapter, even during the slow scenes.
When do you find time to write?
I’m a full-time writer since December 2020 so I write every day.
What is your favorite spot for reading or reflecting on your current work-in-progress?
Usually on my comfy couch. However, if I need to brainstorm and feel like I’m stuck in a story, I’ll take a walk or go for a waterfall hike to give my brain a reset, then I can usually get back to the story.
How do you connect with your characters?
I think there’s a little piece of me in every character. Sometimes, I give them traits I wish I had, like being able to physically kick some villain bum when needed. I don’t like pain, so not sure I could do that.
How do you come up with titles for your books?
I come up with multiple titles for my books because as a Love Inspired Suspense (LIS) author, we have to send in a list for the editors to select the one that fits best. I always try to make the title suspenseful while still reflecting the plot of the story.
What’s your go-to when you need a pick-me-up to keep writing?
Coffee, coffee, coffee!
Why do you like writing romantic suspense?
I love putting a puzzle together that I hope my readers enjoy trying to figure out until the very end. I like the twists and turns with a little bit of romance in between.
What’s the weirdest way someone has died or been killed in your novels?
Not sure if weird is the right word, but I had one of my villains fall off a waterfall.
How do you research ways to kill someone for your books?
I’m sure the FBI is watching my internet searches because I have some scary search topics regarding ways to kill off my characters. I also love to talk to people and interview them to get more information about the jobs I give my characters.
Where do you get the inspiration for your plots?
LIS gives us hooks to add into our stories based on what their readers like. I usually take those hooks and weave an intricate plot around those points. Sometimes a plot will come to me in a dream or an article I read. I also watch true crime documentaries and get ideas from historical cases or articles I read.
Have you ever regretted killing off a character? I have! I have this character in a book I wrote (not published yet) and I really miss him. I’m thinking of rewriting the entire story and making him my hero.
How do you pick the location/setting of your romantic suspense novels?
I live in Western North Carolina and I’m surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. I set all of my stories here or down into the Charlotte area which is a larger city near me. God has blessed our area with so much natural beauty and I love to try to pull that into my stories.
What did you want to be as a child (and did that dream come true)?
I wanted to be a singer but I always felt like I was going to pass out when I sang in front of people so now my singing days are confined to church and in the shower.
What does your family think of your writing romantic suspense?
My two grown boys think it’s cool that their mom is a published author and my husband is my greatest supporter. He’s the reason I’m able to write full-time.
What is one of your favorite ways to connect with readers?
I love connecting with my readers on social media and since Covid hit, that’s about the only way to get to connect with them. However, as restrictions have been lifted and people are travelling again, I hope I get to meet some of them in person one day. They are the best and support my writing so well! I love them so much!
What are some of the questions you hear when you say you write romantic suspense?
Most people think it’s cool when they find out you’re a published author and they often share how they too would love to write books one day. I often encourage them to do it now. We know how difficult publishing books these days, and the time from start to shelf can take a year or more. No time like the present to get started on that dream! I did and now I’m working on book four.
How do you ensure your books are accurate?
Research. Authors can never be too careful. I actually have had a mistake in one of my books and readers will call you out on them. I try my best to make sure all the elements in my stories are accurate but sometimes a mistake slips through even though our books go through three editors and several beta readers before hitting the shelves.
What is absolutely essential for you to write? I have to have a quiet space with no interruptions. Once I’m pulled out of a scene it takes me about 30 minutes to get back into that head space to continue.
What has been most frustrating about writing romantic suspense?
Waiting for my books to get published and writing proposals.
What has been most rewarding about writing romantic suspense? Writing stories that bring readers joy and escape while hopefully building a stronger walk with Jesus.
What do you wish readers knew about the romantic suspense genre?
I wish they knew how hard authors work to bring stories to the market, they will like. The process is grueling at times and is extremely time consuming, but we do this because we love a good story and we want to put books in the world that they will love.
What do readers ask you when they meet you?
They often ask me how I got started writing or how many books I wrote before I was published. The answer to the latter is my fourth book was my first published book. I’m so thankful my first three didn’t get published because looking back now, I had so much to learn and I’m still learning.
Who’s your favorite romantic suspense writer and why?
I have so many, but Tosca Lee, Steven James and Robert Dugoni are my favorite authors right now. They all weave a story that seems effortless when I read them and their characters pull me right into the story until the end.
Which of your books is your favorite and why?
I think my first book, Cave of Secrets, will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first time I say my name on shelf in Barnes and Noble. My second book, Secrets Left Behind, was a fun story to write and my cousin helped me with some of the concepts. That was fun getting to work with her. I just turned in my third book and I love it because it’s about an Army helicopter pilot and I’ve always wanted to fly helicopters. I loved researching and interviewing army soldiers to help craft that story. My fourth book, which I’m brainstorming right now, will be about a serial killer and the light of the heroine who brings him down. Oh goodness, I don’t think I’m able to choose just one. I love them all!
About Shannon Redmon
Shannon remembers the first grown-up book she checked out from the neighborhood bookmobile—Victoria Holt novel with romance, intrigue, dashing gentlemen and ballroom parties. She is a multi-published author with Love Inspired Suspense and hopes to encourage readers with stories of faith, hope, and love.
Secrets Left Behind The more clues they uncover, the more deadly the investigation becomes.
After surviving several attempts on her life, Skye Anderson knows Detective Jake Reed’s suspicions of foul play about the accident that killed her husband must be true. Someone will stop at nothing to keep the truth hidden—and all signs point to a drug ring Skye’s late husband was investigating. Can Jake keep Skye alive and identify the killers pursuing her?