On December 9, I received an email from my literary agent as follows: "Love Inspired Suspense is looking for something as soon as possible — this week even — that would fit Love Inspired Suspense. They want a complete manuscript NOW. Got anything along those lines?"
To clarify, Love Inspired is Harlequin's inspirational series, and the Love Inspired Suspense category is their suspense sub-genre. Since I normally don't write suspense, sadly I had no suitable manuscripts available ... which was a shame, since this was an opportunity I hated to miss.
But I had an incomplete manuscript (a NaNoWriMo project) that -- possibly -- I could revise as a suspense, and I emailed my agent to tell him that. He replied that if I could get it to him by Friday Dec. 13, then go for it.
Well I tried. The trouble is, we were in the midst of our Christmas revelries. My parents were visiting, as well as Younger Daughter. Precious family time took precedence over this manuscript revision. Besides, as I read over and cleaned up the manuscript, it left me 14,000 words short (and it still needed a synopsis). Reluctantly I was forced to pass on the opportunity.
But I decided -- what the heck -- to embark on writing a romantic suspense. Together with my friend Ann Malley (whose specialty is suspense), we hatched a plot. Don helped me fine-tune details about the killer's motivation and backstory. Ann and I worked the outline back and forth. And now ... I'm writing a suspense.
And it's fun!
I mean seriously, who'da thunk it would be such a chuckle to leave a trail of dead bodies all over the place? Okay, I don't mean I'm chuckling over killing off minor characters; but I have to admit, the writing just flows. In a suspense, there's no such thing as the dreaded "sagging middle" (writing parlance for the difficulties in making the center part of the book interesting). To paraphrase Nora Roberts, whenever things get slow, just throw in another dead body.
Ann's books are much more edge-of-your-seat type thrillers. My manuscript is shaping up to be a little less bloody. But regardless, I must say -- so far I like writing suspense.
We'll see what comes of it.