Day 16 – Jayne Ann Krentz – Romancing Suspense and Variety

Today I Celebrate Romantic-Suspense

I get this question a lot:

Q: You write in several different genres. Is it hard switching back and forth between the futuristic, the contemporary and thehot zone historical?

A: No, I don’t write a lot of different genres. I write one genre: romantic-suspense. The only thing that changes from book to book is the fictional landscape – it can be futuristic, contemporary or historical.

Why do I shift fictional landscapes? Different worlds allow for different plots and different problems for the characters to confront. It’s refreshing to me as a writer to move back and forth between those worlds.

Want some examples?

HISTORICAL: Got a story that involves Victorian-era photography? Turns out cyanide was a staple in every darkroom of the time. Accidental (and not-so-accidental) poisonings were common. Excellent way to commit murder. Plot point!

FUTURISTIC: Got a problem with giant insects threatening an island? Clearly paranormal forces at work. Plot point!

CONTEMPORARY: A heroine suspects that her aunt may have been murdered in what appears to be an accidental car crash. She uses her skills as a forensic genealogist and the power of the internet to research the past for answers. Plot point!

Three settings, three different plot lines. But all three stories are tales of romantic-suspense.otherwise

So, what doesn’t change for me? My core story. It always hinges on some very ancient, heroic elements: honor, courage, determination and the healing power of love. I love to work with plots that involve family secrets and revenge. In my stories, murder and violence are never random – there is always a certain kind of intimacy involved. And there’s an implicit guarantee to the reader: In the end, there will be answers.

My characters deal with issues of trust and the risks of commitment. For my heroes and heroines, mutual respect, compassion, and the willingness to do the right thing when the chips are down serve as the foundation of the relationship. The arc of the story is the creation of that foundation.

Why do romance and suspense blend so well together? Because each element heightens the stakes in the other. Every twist in the suspense generates a twist in the relationship and vice-versa.

Every writer has a core-story — romantic-suspense is mine. And before you ask, no, I don’t get tired of it. Creating my core story is the work of a lifetime. I am still exploring and discovering my path.


MEL CURTIS: (Current book: CORA RULES). Mel’s Hollywood Rules series is a total reinvention of the glitz novel – a wonderfully entertaining, over-the-top mix of glamour and romance. Mel’s writing is smart, sassy, and sexy.

ELIZABETH LOWELL: (Current book: NIGHT DIVER). Nobody does romantic-suspense like EL. A perfect mix of well-researched plots and high-octane passion.

CHRISTINA DODD: (Current book: VIRTUE FALLS). Christina’s new novel of suspense has it all: small town secrets, a serial killer and a passionate relationship. The writing is fast-paced, the characters are fascinating and the action is intense.

Questions for the Author

1 – Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.
Jayne Ann Krentz, JAK, Corvette picture

Jayne Ann Krentz, JAK, Corvette picture

A: I should preface this by saying that I never learned to drive a manual shift car. Last Christmas my brothers decided it was time I learned – and they taught me in a lipstick-red Corvette. Wow! I confess I never got out of third gear – I scared myself – but what a thrill! Best Christmas gift ever!

2 – Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)

A: I started writing because I wanted to tell the story my way. I never thought of myself as a writer until I made the decision to quit my day job. That’s when I discovered who I am.

3 – Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)

A: Nancy Drew. The only thing wrong with the series was that there wasn’t enough romance.

Jayne is generously giving away one copy of The Hot Zone (upon its release on August 26) to one U.S. reader (entry form below). Apologies to international friends.


Photo credit: Marc Von Borstel

Jayne Ann Krentz has had over fifty New York Times bestsellers.  She writes romantic-suspense under her own name and also as Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle.






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