Friday, July 14, 2017

Don’t make me angry.


 Hi. This is my first blog for Novel Spaces and I’m delighted to be part of this great team of authors.

Here in the UK, I’m involved in the running of Cheshire Book Connections. Based in the heart of England, we describe ourselves as “a book club with a difference.” Unlike the more traditional clubs where members read the same book and everyone discusses it at the next meeting, we have a guest speaker every month, who provides entertainment and generates discussion. Usually the speaker is an author, but it can be anyone who is connected with books. We proclaim that our club is “for lovers of all things bookish” and speakers can vary from authors to bloggers to book cover designers. Do such clubs exist near where you live?

At our last meeting, the speaker was an author, Robyn Cain. Robyn writes in several genres, including horror, and it was fascinating to hear how her horror stories provide a release for her anger.

It got me thinking about influences on my own writing. I don’t often get angry, and I don’t write horror. Even at my age, I rarely read horror and can only watch the really scary movies in daylight, if at all. My genre is romance suspense with more than a hint of steamy sex. I had a lot of fun coming up with my logo, only getting “angry” when it didn’t quite line up.


So if feeling angry can influence someone to write horror, what might influence an author to write romance suspense with explicit scenes of passion?

Delving deep into my inner soul I confess, for me, it is a love of love. I adore reading romance, watching romance and hearing about people who fall in love. I’m happily married and cherish the gift of being with somebody I love everyday of my life. Knowing that a man loves a woman, or a woman loves a woman, or a man loves a man—it all cheers my heart. Whilst love alone may not make the world go around, it certainly helps to make us human.

Well, that might explain my romance, but where does the suspense come from? My stories are not for the faint-hearted—they’re not cosy or sweet. My heroes and heroines have to fight for love. They must overcome difficulties, and survive dangers. I deal with issues of physical abuse, sexual abuse, kidnapping and murder. I don’t have enough anger to feed these themes. But I do have a need for challenges in my life. As a young child I wanted to do well at school and grow up to make more money than we were used to having at home. Training to be an accountant left me determined to pass my professional exams. Having done that I was driven to work up to the position of finance director. At the age of forty, admittedly urged on by my husband, I cycled a hundred miles in one day. Twice! I even learned to ride a motorbike. One of my latest challenges was ticked off when Black Opal Books issued me with a publishing contract for my first book, The Secret At Arnford Hall.

I wonder, therefore, if my desire for suspense comes from needing to give my characters challenges. Of course, I go one step further in my stories and create adversities for them to overcome. Or perhaps it’s just that I love thrillers as well as romance, and I infiltrate my stories with hooks of danger, to keep the reader turning the page.

That just leaves me to ponder where the steamy sex scenes come from… I’ll let you ponder that too.


15 comments:

Linda Thorne said...

I just read a post recently about how hard it is to write detailed sex or physical violence scenes. I tried to find it to give you the link, but I can't. It was something about being able to keep the conflict, tension, some subtlety, and interest going without just writing detailed raw sex scenes or scenes with violence that turn out to be just a gory mess that's more upsetting than interesting. From what you've said here, it sounds like you've accomplished this. I'm not sure I could, so mine are all "offstage." I enjoyed your post.

Charles Gramlich said...

suspense is what I best love to read.

Liane Spicer said...

My first novel was romance, and it's a well-kept secret that I'm secretly a die-hard romantic. The second novel was romantic suspense; I feel the need to give my characters life-threatening dangers to overcome as well as a HEA to find--possibly a response to the rise in violent crime in the society where I live. Since then I've written in several genres so it's a bit difficult to figure out on the spot if anger drove any of my stories.

But there's one of which I'm certain. I read an academic article about a particular massacre that took place a few hundred years ago in a town where I once lived and the short story (unpublished) that I wrote about the incident was driven by pure rage at the atrocities committed against the First Peoples of these Caribbean islands.

Anonymous said...

Writing fueled by anger? I did do this once; I got every bit of my ire out, but the story did not work. I ended up having to craft it over when the anger subsided so that I could see it better, all the nuances that make a good story something worth reading. For me then, I am not sure it works past being a catalyst for an idea for a story.

Mollie Blake said...

Thanks for the comments. I can sympathise with Anonymous 😊 I need to be in a good frame of mind to write. It was interesting to read what you wrote, Linda, as I write both loving and not-so-loving sex scenes and I try to ensure my words bring out the tone in which each scene should be read. In "unloving" sex scenes I try to make my language more vulgar and distasteful to fit the emotions of the characters. I hope the reader feels that. xx

Daniella Bernett said...

I write mysteries with a dash of romantic suspense. I grew up reading mysteries. Agatha Christie was the writer who influenced me the most. It's the intrigue that attracts me to mysteries and thrillers. For me, it's always been about the puzzle and trying to put the string of clues together that the author has strategically left behind. Meanwhile, romance only serves to enhance a story and give it greater depth. After all, love is one of the strongest motivators and can sway a story, for good or evil.

Zari Reede said...

Love your post! It made me think about my motivation for writing particular scenes and how I felt while writing them. Our first book was a romance and just for fun. Our sensual scenes didn't come until the last quarter of the book. They are pretty steamy and I admit I loved writing the few at the end. Our third book is a mystery with a psycho villain and it was hard to think up cruel scenarios because I'm not a mean person, but the energy that flows when I put myself into character is like reading a favorite thriller novel. It shocked me as I wrote it, but intrigued me how terrible my character could be. Great food for thought Mollie!

Mollie Blake said...

Thanks Daniella and Zari. It is surprising who can live in our heads when we let them. It makes me smile when people ask me about research for sex scenes. I wonder if they expect thriller writers to explain their research as they vividly describe someone cutting someone's head off, for example. I'm a lover of Agatha Christie too, but my favorites are Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre) and Jane Austin. I have to have romance. xx

Beth Fine said...

Steamy sex...hmmmm. In Texas it happened on car hoods of those long 1950s; models, still hot after the motor stopped running. Perhaps, the steamiest affair I can think of is sex on a motorbike with the kickstand down...strongly locked. Seriously, I think divorce creates much anger, but losing a child in a custody battle topped it for me. It has provided a stimulus for stories and a lifelong mission of learning to forgive.

June Trop said...

I am a mystery writer who sets her stories in an historical setting, such an Alexandria, Egypt under the Roman occupation. I have read mysteries my entire life beginning with Nancy Drew and graduating to Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. I read and write mysteries as part of my life-long quest for justice. Another life-long interest is the history and philosophy of science. So naturally my protagonist is a first-century CE alchemist, when alchemy was a legitimate early science.

Thank you, Mollie, for directing me to this website and your blog.

Mollie Blake said...

Hi Beth - I'm so sorry you had to go through that with your child. But you sound strong. Somethings along our paths make us stronger. Best wishes with writing and life in general. Keep smiling xx

Mollie Blake said...

Hi June Glad you like it. All new to me - but having fun writing this kind of thing x

R.R. Brooks said...

Great discussion of why we write what we write. I wrote my epic fantasy novel Justi the Gifted because I liked the epic fantasy of David Eddings. Even had the vague notion I could create a tale with less reliance on deus ex machina magic to save the hero. You seem to be probing at a deeper level, i.e., what passion drives the content of your book. Perhaps a tougher nut to crack.

Mollie Blake said...

Thanks for comment RR - tough nut but good to question, I think. x

S.J. Francis said...

Intrigue keeps the pages going. Lots of conflicting feelings help, too. Sometimes the lack of details is the best way to go. Old movies are a perfect example. A sly look here. A snippy line there. sometimes that is all it took.