Bestselling author Jessica R. Patch recently stopped by my blog to share some about her writing life.
What’s the weirdest way someone has died or been killed in your novels? I used a tornado to rip up a tree and impale my villain into another tree. So…that was fun. J
Where do you get the inspiration for your plots? Believe it or not 98% of my plot ideas come from my Bible reading. A Scripture will spark an idea or a truth and the rest just rolls on in. I often like to take a Scripture and use a villain to twist it, then unravel it as the story progresses to reveal truth.
What is one of your favorite ways to connect with readers?
I’d say my monthly newsletter but really that’s to celebrate my readers. I connect most through my Facebook author page. I post lots of fun memes, and we laugh and cut up a bunch over there.
What do you wish readers knew about the romantic suspense genre?
That just because we write about dark heinous things doesn’t mean we necessarily immerse ourselves in darkness. Yes, we research. We talk to professionals who immerse themselves in darkness every day—hello, law enforcement, we appreciate you. Jesus says in Luke 22:53 when he’s arrested, “But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns.” Darkness gets its moment in romantic suspense and thrillers. It can be graphic and violent. But it’s just a moment in time until the Light of the World bursts onto the scene and real victory happens vanquishing darkness, bringing the wicked to justice!
What do readers ask you when they meet you?
How can someone so sweet write what you do? LOL. My answer: “You just met me. You don’t know I’m sweet.” Hahaha.
About Jessica R. Patch Publishers Weekly bestselling author Jessica is known for her dry wit and signature twists whether she’s penned a romantic suspense, a cold case thriller, or a small-town romance. When she’s not getting into fictional mischief with her characters, you can find her cozy on the couch in her mid-south home reading books by some of her favorite authors, watching movies with her family, and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she’ll probably never cook.
Her Darkest Secret The sight of a goose feather at a murder scene modeled after a children’s poem is enough to make FBI special agent Fiona Kelly’s blood turn to ice. Almost two decades ago, a feather was left with her sister’s body—and with every subsequent victim of the Nursery Rhyme Killer. Now he’s back. Only this time, his latest gruesome murder is a message to the only one who ever got away: Fiona.
Finding “Rhyme” is an obsession that’s fueled Fiona’s career—and destroyed her marriage to fellow FBI agent Asa Kodiak. Now Fiona and Asa have to put their past tensions aside and work together one last time. But Rhyme is watching, and catching this killer may force Fiona to reveal her biggest, darkest secret…the one only he knows.
On this episode of “The Romantic Side of Suspense,” my guest is D.L. Wood, a USA Today and Amazon bestselling author who writes thrilling suspense laced with romance and faith. Her books have won multiple awards and her novel Unintended Target was selected as the May 2019 American Christian Fiction Writers Book Club book. D.L. writes CleanCaptivatingFiction™- fiction that entertains and uplifts. In her novels she tries to give readers the same thing that she wants: a “can’t-put-it-down-stay-up-till-3am” character-driven story full of heart, believability, and adrenaline. She lives in North Alabama, where, if she’s not writing, you’ll probably catch her curled up with a cup of Earl Grey (light milk, one sugar) bingeing the latest BBC mystery series.
“As a child, I wanted to be a teacher, and I ended up being a lawyer, but what has been consistent throughout my life is my love of books and my love of story,” D said. “I read a lot as a kid. … I think I really had a dream of having one of my books in the library one day.”
Authentically, Izzy by Pepper Basham — Dear Reader, My name is Isabelle Louisa Edgewood—Izzy, for short. I live by blue-tinted mountains, where I find contentment in fresh air and books. Oh, and coffee and tea, of course. And occasionally in being accosted by the love of my family. (You’ll understand my verb choice in the phrase later.) I dream of opening my own bookstore, but my life, particularly my romantic history, has not been the stuff of fairy tales. Which is probably why my pregnant, misled, matchmaking cousin—who, really, is more like my sister—signed me up for an online dating community. But I’ve played it safe for a long time. Maybe it’s time for me to be as brave as my favorite literary heroines. Maybe it’s time to take the adventures from the page to real life. Wish me luck. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (Thomas Nelson and Zondervan))
Her Christmas Redemption by Toni Shiloh — Can she find a second chance…on a town’s holiday wish list? Organizing her church’s Christmas Wishes program is the perfect start to Vivian Dupre’s new life—one without the shame of her recent mistakes. But as she grows closer to co-coordinator Michael Wood, she’s even more determined to keep her past hidden. Together they can give joy to their small town. But when Michael discovers her secret, will he be willing to grant Vivian’s holiday wish—forgiveness? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))
Like the Wind by Robin Lee Hatcher — Olivia Ward arrived in Bethlehem Springs alone—with no job, no home, and no money—after her manipulative ex-husband used his power and wealth to destroy everything. Six years later, the peaceful life she rebuilt is once again turned upside down when she learns that her fifteen-year-old daughter, Emma, will be coming to live with her. The reunion should be a dream come true, but years of deception have driven a wedge between them. And Emma seems more interested in an old diary she discovered than reconciliation with her mother. In this latest novel from award-winning author Robin Lee Hatcher, an antique diary, a family-fueled investigation, and unexpected feelings collide to create a promise that’s worth fighting for. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (Thomas Nelson and Zondervan))
Muskoka Christmas by Carolyn Miller — Staci Everton is a multi-published author of historical romances, whose Christmas Eve deadline for a new book sees her leave her Chicago home to go write while staying with her grandmother in the beautiful small town of Muskoka Shores, Canada. Staci is determined to finish her manuscript, despite the small town’s Christmas charm – and Muskoka Shores most eligible bachelor. (Contemporary Romance, ACFW QIP)
Waiting on the Tides by Tabitha Bouldin — People are more than the sum of their mistakes. After a life lived in her older brother’s shadow, Abby Solomon is ready to take on the world—or at least a teaching position that puts her face to face with the one guy who thinks she’s nothing more than an immature nuisance. When his daughter’s mother abandoned them, Christian Johnson swore off women and the trouble they bring. No wife—no drama. Just how he likes it. But as Christian struggles to juggle his job as a cop with raising his daughter and tracking down a runaway teen, he’s forced to ask the one woman who reminds him of his wife for help. Abby is thrilled with the opportunity to show Christian that there’s more to her than what he thinks. But just as Christian begins to trust Abby, she makes a colossal mistake that threatens to ruin everything. She just wanted to be accepted. He wanted to be left alone. It’ll take a runaway teen to show them that love is not measured by a single mistake. (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit Publishing)
Outside of Grace by Anne Daugherty — Ava Sanford longs to be known as more than the pastor’s kid. When the opportunity arises to study abroad in Scotland, she jumps at the chance to leave the Texas coast and the pressures of Grace Church behind. But she never meant to leave God too. Her roommate’s partying lifestyle promises the fun Ava has been missing out on—until a traumatic assault leaves her faith and pride in ruins. As her life in Scotland begins to crumble, rumors race back home, threatening her relationships with her family and friends, including Jack Shields. A former athlete, Jack keeps his head down, working through college and coasting through life. After losing both his mother and his scholarships, he knows the things you love can disappear at any moment. But when his best friend seems to be next, the nonchalance and security he carefully guards are broken. Fighting for Ava will mean risking it all, and he can’t do it alone. Only God can show them both how far grace can go. (General Contemporary from Black Rose Writing)
Shining Stars and Mason Jars by Jann Franklin — The Town of Graisseville, Louisiana, is in crisis, and the mayor needs Jen Guidry’s help! Jen has finally embraced small town life with open arms, but now she’s facing new challenges that test her faith. She struggles to balance family and her desire to help, but her husband Mike prefers she leave well enough alone. While working with the mayor to save the town from financial crisis, she discovers others who also need her help. With Jen’s hilarious enthusiasm for navigating her career, friendships, and matchmaking schemes, she nearly loses sight of God’s blessings for her family. Follow the plucky adventures of a small-town wife, mother and friend, as she discovers how to embrace God’s plan for her life. (General Contemporary from Rougarou Press LLC)
A Life Reclaimed by Olivia Rae — A Scoundrel, A Spy, and A Secret. Will She Ever Learn the Truth? Desperate to avoid a second loveless marriage, Anne Howell hides out in a cave on the Welsh coast. If she can get to England, she should be safe from her stepfather’s long-reaching hand. She thinks her prayers are answered when she rescues a shipwrecked sailor, Thomas Armstrong, who agrees to help her, claiming he has ties to Queen Elizabeth I. Though she fears he may be an accomplished liar, she has no choice but to trust him, especially when a secret from her past puts spies on her trail and threatens to destroy her future. Years ago, Thomas Armstrong learned his real mother was executed in place of a dethroned queen. Determined to avenge her death, he sets out to find the cowardly monarch. But when his ship goes down in a storm leaving him broke and in debt, he fears his quest is finished – until he discovers that the woman who rescued him, Anne Howell, has a price on her head. All he has to do is turn her in and he’ll have the money he needs. But in helping Anne, he’s begun to lose his heart, and now he faces a devastating choice – avenge the past for his mother or follow his feelings to an uncertain future with Anne. (General Historical from HopeKnight Press)
Strong Currents by Delores Topliff — Is any price too great to pay for love and freedom? Strong Currents surge in the river and in the hearts of men. Josh Vengeance survives Midway but may never fight again. Erica Hofer escapes Nazi Germany for America to show the world that German Christians resist their nation’s madman, but instead of being accepted, she is suspected and attacked. Will Josh’s love and courage be enough to win the fight to safeguard America and keep them both safe from the evil that stalks her? (General Historical from Scrivenings Press)
Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams by Jennifer Lamont Leo — Hollywood, California, 1933. Selling perfume in a department store is far from the life Helen Corrigan envisioned when she headed for Hollywood with stars in her eyes. Beneath the glittering façade, things in Tinsel Town are seldom what they seem, and Helen fights to maintain her moral scruples amid trials and temptations. However, she’s not about to give up on her dream. All she needs is a lucky break. But what if the only “break” involves her heart? Screenwriter Rusty Noble has one goal in mind: to make moving pictures that uplift and inspire their audiences. But his thankless job at Cooperman Studios keeps him toiling away on B-grade movies. Worse, box-office sensation Cynthia Starling—beloved by audiences and detested by those who actually know her—won’t let Rusty out of her talons. The idea of breaking away and starting fresh with his own studio seems a sketchy pipe dream at best, a career-ending fiasco at worst. (General Historical from Mountain Majesty Media)
Historical – Biblical:
Daughter of the King by Carlene Havel — I Samuel 18:20 “And Michal Saul’s daughter loved David…” Threatened by David’s popularity, mad King Saul devises a clever plan. He gives his daughter Michal to the brave young giant-killer, commanding her to remain loyal to her father above all others. When the princess is forced to choose between David and King Saul, she risks everything for her husband—and pays a terrible price. (Historical – Biblical, Independently Published)
A Daughter’s Courage by Misty M. Beller — Her quest to repair what’s been broken leads to imminent danger–and soon it’s more than her own life on the line. After accidentally destroying the intricately carved chalice her people have treasured for over a hundred years, Charlotte Durand sets out in search of a skilled artisan who can repair the damage. What she expected to be a two-day trek becomes much more daunting when a treacherous snowstorm sets in. Searching for solitude and respite from his troubling past, the last thing Damien Levette needs in the middle of a mountain blizzard is to tend to another person, but he can’t leave behind the mysterious woman he finds half frozen at the edge of a mountain lake. As they battle both the elements and their distrust of each other, Charlotte and Damien must work together to survive the peril of the mountains–or it could be the downfall of them both. (Historical Romance from Bethany House (Baker) Publishing)
His Delightful Lady Delia by Grace Hitchcock — Delia Vittoria’s mother has lost her voice at last. After five years of being her diva mother’s understudy, it is time for Delia to assume her place as the lead soprano on stage behind the Academy of Music’s faded velvet curtain. And she is all that stands between the Academy and its greatest threat–the nouveaux riche’s lavish new Metropolitan Opera House. Kit Quincy never misses opening night, but when his sister begs him to help get her husband out of an Italian opera star’s arms, Kit confronts the wrong Lady Vittoria. When he happens upon the stunning young diva again at Mrs. Astor’s dinner the following night, he attempts to make amends and is instead pulled into a plot to win the great opera war. To draw attention to Delia Vittoria as the new soprano star, Kit is convinced to act as both Delia’s patron and the enigmatic phantom who once haunted the Academy years ago. But when a second phantom appears, more than Delia’s rising career is threatened. (Historical Romance from Bethany House (Baker) Publishing)
The Hidden Prince by Tessa Afshar — The beloved daughter of Jewish captives in Babylon, Keren is sold into Daniel’s household to help her family survive. She becomes Daniel’s most trusted scribe, while taking lessons and swordsmanship training alongside Daniel’s sons and their best friend, Jared. After a tragic accident changes the course of her life, Keren finds herself in a foreign country, charged with a mysterious task; teaching a shepherd boy how to become a lord. When she overhears whispers that hint at his true identity, she realizes she must protect him from the schemes of a bloodthirsty king. Jared cannot forgive Keren. Still, he finds himself traveling over mountains to fetch her back to the safety of home. When he discovers the secret identity of Keren’s pupil, Jared knows he must help protect him. Love battles bitterness as they flee from the king’s agents, trying to save the boy who could one day deliver their people from captivity. (Historical Romance from Tyndale House)
The Letter by Edwina Kiernan — Restless and ready for a change, Grace Stratton gladly accepts the opportunity to leave her remote parsonage home to serve as a wealthy spinster’s companion in the idyllic country town of Lindenfell. Its warm atmosphere and friendly inhabitants soothe Grace’s lonely heart. But when a mysterious stranger arrives, she soon discovers things aren’t always what they seem. Convinced chloroform will revolutionise the medical world, Dr. David Carbury frequently administers it to his London patients — until one of them dies. Facing a grave trial to prove his innocence and defend a drug most people view as poisonous, he makes hasty plans to buy time to bolster his case. But he wasn’t expecting to face an even deadlier challenge. As attraction sparks not long after they meet, Grace soon suspects he’s hiding something, and David knows he can’t run from the truth forever. But neither of them could imagine the sinister threat lurking just around the corner…. (Historical Romance from Moliant Publishing)
The Gold Doubloons by Suzanne J. Hatcher — When Coronado marched through the Verde Valley in 1542 looking for the Seven Cities of Gold, Yavapai scouts took him to a mine near present-day Jerome. Coronado didn’t find what he was looking for, but a persistent legend says he left behind a bag of gold doubloons. Now, almost five hundred years later, Reed Harper, Paul and Marty Russell’s foster son, needs those precious coins to finance the future he dreams of. But Reed isn’t the only one determined to find the gold doubloons. As the search intensifies in the caves around Jerome and extends to the ancient cliff dwelling called Montezuma Castle, a young Yavapai woman dies. Was Mina Tewa’s fall from a cliff that borders Montezuma Well an accident—or was it murder? When a second fall from the same cliff puts Reed in a coma, the sheriff arrests him for Mina‘s murder. But Scott Russell knows his foster brother is innocent. Convinced a ruthless killer is after Reed, Scott rushes to protect him. Will Paul and Marty find the teens in time to rescue them, or will the murderer claim another victim? (Mystery from Scrivenings Press)
Collapse: The Death of Independence by Angela D. Shelton — If malnutrition doesn’t kill seventeen-year-old Olivia, her search for security just might. Basic survival is the goal for most after the apocalypse strikes. So, when Olivia’s father abandons her with relatives who can barely feed themselves, the resentment is obvious. Hungry for something more than just scraps of food, Olivia meets the connected, suave, and handsome Nick, who offers her just what she’s after. Nick seems to help many local women. But there’s something about him that Olivia can’t quite put her finger on. She wonders why he makes so many promises and what he’s going to expect in return. Will the lure of security make Olivia fall for Nick and lose more than she bargained for? Or can she stand to survive on her own? (Speculative Fiction/YA from Two Oaks Publishing, LLC)
Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:
On this episode of “The Romantic Side of Suspense,” my guests are Sara Blackard and Dani Pettrey. Among other topics, we discussed how they picked the locations for their series.
“I picked Alaska because I love it up here,” Sara said about where she lives and writes. “There’s a lot of adventure that happens just out my front door. … I like writing from an Alaskan point of view.”
This series “is spread out through North Carolina, from the Outer Banks all the way down to Wilmington,” Dani said. “We actually vacation in [that area … ], and I just think the area is so beautiful.”
Sara Blackard is an award-winning romance novelist who writes stories that thrill the imagination and strum heartstrings. When she’s not crafting wild adventures and romances that make readers swoon, she’s homeschooling her four adventurous boys and one fearless princess, keeping their off-grid house running (don’t ask if it’s clean), or enjoying the Alaskan lifestyle she and her Hunky Hubster love.
Publishers Weekly and #1 Amazon bestselling author Dani Pettrey has sold nearly 800,000 copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance.
Her novels stand out for their “wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters” (Publishers Weekly), “gripping storyline[s],” (RT Book Reviews), and “sizzling undercurrent of romance” (USA Today). She researches murder and mayhem from her home in Maryland.
USA Today bestselling author Hallee Bridgeman recently stopped to share some about her writing life.
Why did you start writing romantic suspense novels?
I wrote my first romantic suspense between January and March 2000. I actually had a dream New Year’s Eve and woke up from that dream about 2 a.m. and started writing. The final product was A Melody for James.
What’s your go-to when you need a pick-me-up to keep writing?
My inbox. I get such amazing letters from readers that completely encourage and inspire me to keep writing. If you ever feel the urge to write an author—do it. You have no idea what it means.
What’s the weirdest way someone has died or been killed in your novels?
I skied a philandering woman, who was pregnant with her lover’s child, into a tree. I wanted to just divorce my characters, but a poll of my readers said they wouldn’t approve. Funny—I’ve never had anyone complain about killing off a pregnant adulteress.
Where do you get the inspiration for your plots? I always start with my characters. Once my characters are established, then I create the plots.
About Hallee Bridgeman Hallee is the USA Today bestselling author of several action-packed romantic suspense books and series. An Army brat turned Floridian, Hallee settled with her husband in central Kentucky, where they have raised their three children. When she’s not writing, Hallee pursues her passion for cooking, coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. She’s also an accomplished speaker and active member of several writing organizations.
Honor Bound She’s trained to save lives. He’s ordered to take them. Can extreme opposites really attract?
Medical missionary Cynthia Myers is trained to save lives. Captain Rick Norton of the Special Forces A-Team is ordered to take them. When Cynthia’s past catches up to her, they must learn to put aside their differences to make it out alive from the treacherous jungles of a war-torn African country.