Day 19 Ann Voss Peterson – Nothing Better than a Little Romance

Love – The Most Vital and Visceral Emotion of All

Romance makes the world of fiction go ’round.

Pushed Too FarThink about it. Mystery, thrillers, fantasy, science fiction, horror; it’s common to find romance story threads in every other genre, as well as finding every other genre represented in romance novels. Romance is universal. It can be set in the past, present, or future. It can include suspense or the paranormal, comedy, drama; the possibilities are infinite.

As a reader, I adore this fact. I can pick up a romance novel to satisfy my every reading mood. There are many reasons to read fiction, but the first and foremost is to experience emotion vicariously. Fear. Longing. Anger. Love. Novels allow us to understand the world around us, not from an intellectual standpoint, but from a visceral one. Every genre gives its readers the chance to explore experiences and feelings we crave. But romance allows us to experience or relive the most vital and universal emotion of all.


After all without romance, the human race wouldn’t have survived. The longing for love is a universal, a biological force, and romance novels allow us to work through feelings that can be all too complicated, confusing, and disappointing in real life.

As an author who started writing romantic suspense and now concentrates on thriller novels, I must confess that romance is my secret weapon. Introducing a romantic relationship into a story immediately raises the personal and emotional stakes, shows the characters’ humanity, and makes any kind of plot matter more.

Stories are about change. Characters are like diamonds; they need great pressure exerted on them before they become multi-faceted and unique. Conflict provides pressure, but not just any conflict will do. We need something worth sacrifice. Something larger than the individual. Something universal and visceral. Something that matters.

Love matters.
And that’s why for me, as a reader and a writer, there’s nothing better than a little romance.

I have to recommend romances by Carol Voss. Her books are totally different from mine—inspirational family stories instead of thrillers—but she just happens to be my mom and my best friend.

Readers who liked my romantic suspense should try Dana Marton and Rita Herron for intense, fast-paced stories. Also look for Susan Vaughan and Virginia Kelly for solid, emotional RS reads.

Questions for Ann:

What is the craziest or ugliest object in your house, and why do you keep it?

action figures2When I was a kid, I loved to make up my own wild and complicated stories and act them out with action figures. Unfortunately at that time, Barbie couldn’t hold a gun nor ride a horse, so I spent my time playing with G.I. Joe, a bit bummed that only males got to have exciting adventures.

Well, times have changed. Now I have female action figures patrolling my bookshelves. And call me crazy, but I even play with them sometimes.

Shh! Don’t tell!

If there was a movie made about your life, what would it be called? (And just for fun, who would play you?)

My life would make a pretty boring movie, so I would have to embellish it a bit. Titled THE SILVER LINING GAMES, it would feature Jennifer Lawrence both fighting for her life and dancing. Lots of dancing.

What is the best non-monetary gift you ever received?

People who believe in me even more than I believe in myself.

If you had to pick one romantic scene or couple to recommend to a first-time reader of YOUR books, which would it be? (Any picks for romance novels in general?)

My scene isn’t from a romance but from a thriller called Pushed Too Far where the romance storyline develops over several books.

The heroine is Val Ryker, the first female police chief of a small Wisconsin town. Val doesn’t take care of her own needs, instead focusing on the job, the town, her family, justice. And there’s a scene in the second half of the book where she is simply unable to carry on, where she nearly dies and her deepest secret is discovered by her niece, and she finally allows herself to turn to firefighter David Lund. The scene shows the restorative power of love.


You are reading this essay at Be sure to visit the About Read-A-Romance Month to learn more, or the Authors & Contributors page to see a list of all the great romance writers who are participating in celebrating the romance genre during the month of August.  Also visit the Awesome Contests page to see how you can register each week to win “A Month of Romance” (31 books), e-readers, and even the Grand Central Grand Prize, an iPad mini. If you love romance, then this is the place to be!

Ann is generously donating six autographed trade paperbacks copies of of Pushed Too Far to U.S. readers (apologies to international readers). U.S. readers, to enter, either leave a comment here or enter the weekly drawing on the contest page. Or both.  (Only one entry per commenter per post, though – multiple comments on one essay does not give you more chances.)  Comment entries must be posted by 11:59pm EST Aug 19 to be eligible, though winners will be announced the following week.

Ann is also setting the price of the e-book of Pushed Too Far to $.99 in honor of this post. (Regularly $3.99. Thanks Ann!) You can find it here.

ann voss petersonAward-winning author Ann Voss Peterson wrote her first story at seven years old and hasn’t stopped since. To pursue her love of creative writing, she’s worked as a bartender, horse groomer, and window washer. Now known for her adrenaline-fueled thrillers and Harlequin Intrigue romances, Ann draws on her wide variety of life experiences to fill her fictional worlds with compelling energy and undeniable emotion. She lives near Madison, Wisconsin, with her family and their border collie.

Buy Ann’s Books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble


  • Jen C

    I LOVE the variety in romances! I can read an old western or modern military suspense or a paranormal or a contemporary comedy or a contemporary drama — all from my very little bookshelf where I keep my absolute favorites. When someone asks me to recommend a romance. Nice piece today! I think all three essays today are stellar! 🙂

    • Thanks, Jen! Blessed to have fabulous writers participating. And AVP is a “RL” writer friend here in Madison, so double blessed. xoxo

      • Ann Voss Peterson

        Back atcha, Bobbi. And you’ve done a fabulous job with this month long celebration. It’s been a blast to read the posts every day. Kudos to you!

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      Thanks, Jen. I absolutely adore MJ and Alyssa, so it’s been very cool to share a day with them.

  • Karin Anderson

    I love your dolls! I used to make stories with barbies. My mom was shocked to walk in one day when I had one hanging from a homemade bridge (from the couch to the bed). 😀

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      That’s fabulous, Karin! After all, Barbies need to have adventures, too.

  • Melanie Backus

    Thank you for a chance to be a winner. Keeping my fingers crossed!

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      Good luck, Melanie! Thanks for commenting!

  • Kim Cornwell

    Wow I guess it’s nice that you and your mom have the same passion.i was also a tomboy and woud rather play with the boys and in the dirt. You could always find me in the creek close to our house. Thanks for sharing. Love meeting new authors!

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      Me too, Kim! I didn’t have a creek nearby, though. I floated my boats in ditches during the spring melt. 🙂

  • Nancy Huddleston

    Now I have another author to try. Love thrillers.

    • She’s great. xoxo

      • Ann Voss Peterson

        The check is in the mail, Bobbi. 😉 Smootches!

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      Now THAT’S what I like to hear, Nancy! 🙂

  • Valerie

    “The longing for love is a universal, a biological force, and romance novels allow us to work through feelings that can be all too complicated, confusing, and disappointing in real life.”

    too me this says it all…

    • xoxo

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      🙂 Thanks, Valerie.

  • Virginia Kelly

    Thanks, Ann, for the nod, and for the wonderful tribute to romantic love in all fiction genres.
    “Novels allow us to understand the world around us, not from an intellectual standpoint, but from a visceral one. Every genre gives its readers the chance to explore experiences and feelings we crave. But romance allows us to experience or relive the most vital and universal emotion of all.
    Absolutely! Yes!

    Your female action figures are fantastic! I won’t tell a soul you play with them. 🙂

    Pushed Too Far is a fabulous thriller. The scene you describe absolutely showed the restorative power of love.

    • Thanks for the comment, Virginia! Hope you’re enjoying! xoxo

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      Thanks, Virginia! I’m enjoying your novella, Dancing in the Dark (nice cover, too, gotta love a gorgeous guy in a tux), and looking forward to reading your upcoming RS release!

  • Meredith Richardson

    I love your action figures Ann and I love that you placed them on top of your book shelf. When you were a kid you created stories with your action figures (I did the same) and now you can read books to escape to all different worlds filled with love and hope.

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      You bet, Meredith!

  • Mary McCoy

    Another talented Wisconsin writer! I definitely need to check out Val Ryker… and warn the other action figures that Harlequin looks like she is up to something!

    • Tons of great romance writers in Wisconsin! Do you write Mary? Look into WisRWA – really nice people there. Or if you ever want to come to Madison, we have a great writing group here too. xoxo

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      Yeah, I should probably warn Michelle Obama, who’s standing in front of Harley. LOL!

  • Laurie W G

    I enjoyed your serial killer series set in Madison!

    • Just so long as they’re fiction! {shudder} ;o)

      • Ann Voss Peterson

        How do you know it is???? 😉

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      That is still one of my favorites, Laurie. So glad you enjoyed it! Dryden Kane will always have a place in my heart. 🙂

  • Ann

    Love the analogy that characters are like diamonds with pressure creating the many facets!

    • Thanks Ann. AVP is a great writer. If you like RS or thrillers, you should definitely look for her. xoxo

      • Ann Voss Peterson

        Thanks, Bobbi!

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      Thanks, Ann. BTW, great name. 🙂

  • Britney Adams

    Love certainly does matter! Thank you for sharing!!

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      Thanks for commenting, Britney!

  • Kareni

    I’ll be on the lookout for your books now, Ms. Peterson. Thanks for your post.

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      Thanks, Kareni!

  • Tonda Galloway Hargett

    I stated in an earlier post, a book without romance just isn’t complete, for me!

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      Absolutely agree, Tonda. It adds an extra dimension. Just like romance does in real life.

  • Carrie

    My husband commented the other day that I don’t read fantasy novels anymore. On the contrary, I do read fantasy. The fantasy novels that I read just happen to have a happily ever after. I’ve said it in an earlier essay but I do love how romance can be found in any genre.

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      Right on, Carrie!

  • Ann Mettert

    I used to tell people all the time that there was probably at least a tad of romance in everything. But they didn’t seem to listen or believe me. 🙂

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      They should have. Silly people. 😉 And you have a great name too, Ann. ;D

  • Sheila M Seabrook

    Ann, your collection of action figures is amazing. I love stories of all kinds, romance, action, thrillers, and it’s the relationships between the characters that always draw me in.

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      I agree, Sheila. The relationships between characters are what make those characters feel real.

  • Larena Hubble

    I love how you characterized romances and I completely agree. They give us so many choices in the different genres that even when you read books in the same genre you still get a completely different story with different conflicts for the characters to work through that it always makes for a great read.

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      That’s it, Larena. There’s so much variety. Like a reading smorgasbord!

  • Pamby50

    I love that you suggested we read your Mom. Looking forward to reading both of you.

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      Thanks, Pamby50! She’s a fabulous writer. 🙂

  • rebecca moe

    Action figures are fabulous! I have several on my desk at school…including the Jane Austen one. She doesn’t have a gun, though–regulations.

    Thanks for the sale–just picked it up!

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      I hope you enjoy the book, Rebecca! I have Jane Austen! I forgot about her. She’s in a box somewhere. I have to dig her out. She was the first one I discovered who could both shoot a gun AND ride a horse!

      • Is there an Annie Oakley?

        • Ann Voss Peterson

          Not that I know of, but I dressed as Annie Oakley for Halloween one year. 🙂

    • Thank you! xoxo

  • Glenda

    Great post. I love both your action figures and that you recommend your mom’s books. 🙂

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      Thanks, Glenda!

  • Rowan Worth

    That’s an excellent point–my “go to” books are nearly ALL romances, but they’re different ones depending on my mood–paranormal, light and humorous, sensual and moody, or rollicking adventure. But they ARE romances.

    • Thanks, Rowan! :o)

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      That’s exactly it, Rowan. There’s endless variety for every reading mood. Love that!

  • Thrilling romances are so exciting! Thanks for posting today, Ann. Harlequin Intrigue romances are some of my favorites.

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      Thanks for the comment, Brooke! And it’s great to meet a fellow romantic suspense fan!

  • BookLady

    With the great variety of romance novels there is definitely something for everyone in this genre. Pushed Too Far sounds like a thrilling book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on romance.

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      Thanks for stopping by, BookLady!

  • leah g

    I love romantic suspense. I haven’t read any of yours yet, but I am excited to check out all your books, Pushed too Far sounds really interesting!

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      Thanks, Leah! Pushed Too Far is part of a series (I’m currently writing the next book), so the romance is ongoing.

  • Kim

    Pushed Too Far sounds good. Thanks for the sale!

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      Thanks, Kim!

  • Flora Segura-Buchler

    Loved your blogpost today, Ann. Action figures for girls is an idea I can totally support. I also think it’s very cool that you recommended your mom to us to read.

    • Ann Voss Peterson

      How could I not recommend my mom, Flora? She’s been with me since the beginning. Literally. 🙂 She’s also a fabulous writer. Thanks for the comment!