Margaret Daley, an
award-winning author of eighty-four books, has been married for over forty
years and is a firm believer in romance and love. When she isn’t traveling,
she’s writing love stories, often with a suspense thread and corralling her
three cats that think they rule her household. To find out more about Margaret
visit her website at http://www.margaretdaley.com.           
An inspirational romantic suspense
has three main elements: suspense (and sometimes also mystery), romance and
faith element. For me that means I have to juggle three aspects of a story
within a 250 page manuscript for my shorter Love Inspired Suspense. In my
longer books for Abingdon Press in The Men of the Texas Rangers Series, I have
at least a third more book but the plot is more complex. Not an easy task and
one that requires a lot of planning and thought whether a long or short
romantic suspense.
In suspense, pacing is so
important. A reader expects to be taken on a merry ride where the hero and
heroine are threatened, running for their lives, trying to solve something,
trying to save someone. In a mystery, which I call a whodunit, the action might
be more sedate but not necessarily. My stories often combine the elements of
suspense and mystery. However in romantic suspense, the suspense must be
stronger than the mystery.
A romantic suspense is usually
fifty percent suspense and fifty percent romance. So often the problem arises
when you are working your way through the suspense part of your book and forget
to have your hero and heroine fall in love. It can be harder to show it when
they are being threatened or running for their lives. But if you have a furious
pace throughout your book, it will overload your readers. I have read many
romantic suspense books, and there should always be moments of down time. That
can be when you build the romance between your hero and heroine. Even when they
are running for their lives, it is a good thing to keep them emotionally
connected and aware of each other.
In an inspirational romantic
suspense, you must also delve into the spiritual growth of your hero and
heroine. I find it is easier in a romantic suspense because of the heightened
action and often the life and death aspect of these type of stories. We turn to
the Lord in times of trouble and when we need Him. This can feed very naturally
into your story.
But again I will stress because
you have to juggle faith, romance and suspense, you must plan. In a lot of
stories, you will need to give false information and clues as well as real
ones. Readers like to have a chance to figure out who is behind all the
commotion in your story. I do realize in some suspense (not mystery) books the
reader will already know who the villain is and that is fine. An example is the
heroine being stalked by an ex-husband or ex-boyfriend. She knows who he is,
but she is in grave danger.
So where do you start? The
first thing I usually come up with is a premise for my story.  Sometimes it can be something as simple as a
favorite setting like the jungle in Heart
of the Amazon
or an occupation in Saving
(Texas Ranger) and in Guarding
the Witness
(a female bodyguard). In Scorned
I came up with the premise how far would someone go to get
revenge.  Or in Vanished, the premise was what would happen if a sheriff had to be
both lawman and father when his daughter is kidnapped by someone from his past.
Usually it is easiest to come up with some kind of concept and build a story
from there.
The Men of the Texas Rangers Series
from Abingdon Press has three books out now: Saving Hope (March 2012), Shattered
(October 2012), and recently Scorned
(March 2013). The fourth book in the series will be out in October
2013 called Severed Trust. My next
romantic suspense from Love Inspired Suspense is Guarding the Witness. Visit my Web site at www.margaretdaley.com to see more
articles about writing and to read about my upcoming books. Also visit my blog
at http://www.margaretdaley.com/margarets-blog/
to read author interviews and have an opportunity to win a book in weekly
Scorned Justice
Texas Ranger Brody Calhoun is with his parents
in west Texas when an unexpected attack injures the brother of Rebecca Morgan,
Brody’s high school sweetheart. The local sheriff, a good friend, asks for
Brody’s help. At first, it seems like an open-and-shut case.
As Brody digs deeper, he realizes the attack
may be related to an organized crime trial Rebecca will be overseeing. With
Rebecca’s help, he compiles evidence involving cattle rustling, bribery, and
dirty payoffs that shatter the entire community and put Rebecca directly in the
line of fire.
Brody expects to protect her. What he never
expects is to fall for Rebecca all over again, or for a murder to throw the
case wide open. Is Brody’s faith strong enough to withstand not only
deep-rooted corruption and cattle rustling, but also love?