I recently read through a bunch of my reviews (there were so many good ones it was a little overwhelming, thank you readers). And I looked for some of the common phrases that fans were using to talk about my books as distinct from other popular military romantic suspense.
See, one of the weird things about being a writer, is you’re too close to the story and are never really sure what you’ve written. You have to ask someone else. When my editor bought the book that started the whole Night Stalkers series, The Night is Mine, she told me I’d written a thriller, not a romantic suspense. Really? (That took a bit of fixing I can tell you.)
The distinct review keywords fell into three groups:
– Military: compelling details (which for me means an immense amount of research)
– Emotion: heart-felt, passionate, sigh-worthy (I’m a romantic mush and apparently it comes through on the page that way too. Favorite all-time movie? Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan or Run Silent, Run Deep. Did I mention that I’m a guy? The one movie I have hands down watched more times than any other? Notting Hill. See what I mean, total mush.)
– Women: strong, brave, competent, gutsy, capable
Even though most of my readers are women, it isn’t the men that you’re talking about. I think that’s GREAT!
So, while I’m a guy who loves my strong women, for me the real key here is the adjective, not the noun. I write about “exceptional women and the men they deserve.” (I must do that because it says so right on the banner of my website. :)) And I’m not just that guy translated into the female gender. My heroines are consistently braver, stronger, smarter, and more passionate than I am. (Sexier too, but I’m a guy, so I won’t admit to that.)
Why do I write my heroines that way? Because that is how I see women. Despite living in a male-dominated society (and what more male-dominated world could I have chosen for my heroines than top-tier military), women consistently choose to keep working to make the world a better place for their families, their children, and themselves. I’m a guy and I can tell you, if the roles were switched, we’d have folded our hands and cashed out of the game long ago. That’s strength. That’s magnificence. How can I not want to showcase that?
That is why I love my alpha women. And that is Trisha O’Malley in spades in Light Up the Night.