Thursday, February 25, 2010

THE MYSTERY OF ROMANCE WRITING

While I write primarily murder mysteries, I always include a love interest in my stories. All murder and no sex makes mysteries a dull read, don’t you think?

As for me, I prefer “sexual tension” to on-the-page sex, mainly because I find the “game of love” a more compelling page-turner than reading about a comfortable relationship between a couple. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s what I’ve had with my husband of 40 years.

Still, fantasy romance is fun. In my first series, my deaf protagonist, Connor Westphal, meets attractive Dan Smith in DEAD BODY LANGUAGE. Connor publishes her own weekly newspaper in the town of Flat Skunk, located in the California Gold country. Her office neighbor is a mysterious guy, newly arrived in town, looking for his private investigator brother. When bro turns up dead after following a case, Dan takes over his job, using his former police officer background to help Connor solve the mystery.

But it’s their first meeting that was the most fun to write.

“Who the hell are you?” asks Connor when she discovers the man with arms of steel in the office next door. When he tries to flirt with her by saying, “With that accent, you don’t sound like you’re from around here. Where’d you get it?” But the attempt falls flat when Connor responds, “Meningitis.”

Right off the bat, the reader knows this will be a cat-and-mouse game of love between the two very different personalities. Through the series Connor takes the romance slowly, having been burned by an old boyfriend who cheated on her. But by book three, Connor finds herself in bed with Dan. Instead of writing the details of their “body language,” I turn the sex into sex play—and have fun with it.

For example, when Dan is awakened in Connor’s bed by fairly violent shaking, he fears it’s an earthquake—common in the area—and jumps up, stark naked, to brace himself under a door jamb. Meanwhile, Connor enjoys the view of Dan’s naked body, then pushes a button on the side of her bed. There’s been no earthquake. Connor, being deaf and unable to use a standard alarm clock, has a “Shake-Awake” alarm attached to her bed, which causes it to tremble in the morning, waking her for the day ahead. Mortified, Dan returns to bed, but his embarrassment quickly disappears when he realizes Connor’s bed has other uses in the romance department….

So you see, I like to have fun with it. That way if my mother reads it, she may blush but she won’t die of a heart attack.

Now that I’m starting a new series, HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY, I’ve got a new protagonist, Presley Parker, event planner who lives and works on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay Area. She meets Brad Matthews, an attractive Crime Scene Cleaner, who joins her in her pursuit of truth, justice, and the solving of mysteries.

When they first meet, Presley calls Brad a “lunatic,” and he tries to check her breath for alcohol. Not an auspicious beginning—but just the kind I like. And between murders, the two characters enjoy some back-and-forth repartee, often laced with sexual innuendoes.

Brad reached over to accept Pandora’s box. As he did, his shirt rose, revealing a glimpse of his tan, tight waist. That wasn’t all. There was a definite bulge in his pants. As flattering as it would have been, Brad Matthews wasn’t necessarily happy to see me.

That was a gun in his pocket.


So while I’m not quite ready to write a full-on sex scene for the page, I’m looking forward to doing a lot more research on the topic….:0

3 Comments :

Blogger Blacksheep Bliss said...

I agree. I love reading about romance in mystery novels. I especially like it when they can't stand each other in the beginning. There's always something fun in the chase.

March 9, 2010 at 6:10 AM  
Blogger Blacksheep Bliss said...

I agree. I love reading about romance in mystery novels. I especially like it when they can't stand each other in the beginning. There's always something fun in the chase.

March 9, 2010 at 6:10 AM  
Blogger Penny said...

Hi Blacksheep,
Definitely!

March 14, 2010 at 11:02 AM  

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