The Power of Story
What I love most about writing romantic suspense is that I have all the power. Well, my characters and I have all the power. OK, I don’t have any power — my characters have it all. But that’s OK, because I still get to make them who I want them to be … at least until they take over. OK, it’s sounding like I have no control at all. But the truth is, as the author I get to create a world in which the bad guys get what’s coming to them.
In these days of self-serving politicians and greedy bankers, I want justice to win, dang it. And that’s guaranteed when I’m writing (or reading) a romance. And the bonus: People get to fall in love, weather their trials and tribulations, and come out better, stronger and happier.
You know what’s another bonus? Free therapy. I always joke that the reason I write romance novels is because I’ve needed a lot of therapy over the years, and therapy’s expensive. So I created my own. I work out all kinds of issues when I’m writing a book. For instance, two of my romantic suspenses, Caught in the Act and True Vision, helped me work through some issues I’ve had with the newspaper biz (my day job).
Caught in the Act features a newspaper editor paying the price for running a story based on anonymous sources, something that has since become a huge no-no for many media companies today. True Vision features a local newspaper reporter who loses her job when she conspires to get into the paper a story about a crooked auto dealer, which also happens to be the newspaper’s main advertiser.
Both stories helped me explore the challenges that media companies still face today – balancing getting the story first without getting the story wrong and covering a big story even when advertisers, whose ad dollars support the media, might not like it.
Mixed in with those explorations is lots of romance and steam. Of course! Because that’s kind of the whole point, right? And there’s no better therapy than romance and steam. That’s why I celebrate romance every day, by reading it and writing it (and blogging about it!).
One of my favorite up-and-coming authors is Ana Barrons. She writes gritty, sexy romantic suspense with majorly Alpha heroes. Yum! My favorite book by her (so far) is Son of the Enemy, in which the FBI agent hero is the son of the man who (supposedly) killed the heroine’s mother. Tense AND hot! Who could ask for more?
Questions for the Author:
1. Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.
The most adventurous thing I’ve ever done was climb a waterfall in Jamaica. I had to actually climb THROUGH the rushing water, which was no easy feat, let me tell you. Plus, I was wearing contact lenses, so I had to keep my eyes closed or risk having my contacts float away. So, really, I climbed a waterfall with my eyes closed. Whee!
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?)
My answer to this question goes hand-in-hand with the next question about the book that changed my life. I’d just finished reading Rage of Angels by Sidney Sheldon. And that book did NOT have a happy ending, and I was so irked that that was the moment where I thought, “I’m going to write a book with a happy ending, Mr. ‘The Laughter’s Dead’ Sheldon.”
I immediately sat down with my dad’s electric typewriter (yes, it was that long ago) and started banging out my first romantic suspense novel. I had no idea at the time that I was writing romantic suspense (it was the early ‘80s and the subgenre hadn’t really been defined, as far as I knew). All I knew was that my story would have a happily ever after at the end.
My dad stopped in my room (I was only 17) and asked what I was doing, and I said, “I’m writing a book.”
And he said, “OK.” And I didn’t stop writing until I had several romance manuscripts to store under my bed. For the next several years, I went to college then got a job as a journalist at the local newspaper – somewhere along the way, someone wisely told me I needed to get a job to support my novel-writing habit so I could pay my bills. In the meantime, I built my journalism career and wrote novels in my spare time. It took me a really long time to finally get The Call, and by then it was so unexpected that I at first thought my agent was a telemarketer wanting to sell me something.
That was a hilarious conversation.
3. Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)
See above 🙂
Joyce is generously offering three digital copies of True Vision to give away, two to US readers (entry form below) and one to International friends (international readers enter here).
Joyce Lamb is a USA TODAY best-selling author of romantic suspense and three-time RITA finalist. She’s also curator of USA TODAY’s Happy Ever After blog devoted to romance novels. Find her at www.usatoday.com/blog/happyeverafter.
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