I’m not sure that I believe in hauntings, either residual or intelligent, at least as defined by popular culture. However, I do believe in a supernatural spiritual realm, that there are things that normally can’t be seen with the human eye or heard with a human ear. On rare occasions, something on the other side breaks through the barrier and we humans experience a paranormal incident. It’s creepy to think about and my gut instinct screams, “Stay far away from that.” I’m reluctant to confront what I don’t understand.
Now romance? That I understand. I’ve been writing romantic suspense for a while now. I love the ah-ha moment when the hero and heroine realize they can’t live without each other. Happily-ever-afters are a sweet fiction treat. The best romantic fiction increases the anticipation of romance until the pivotal moment when the stars align and the hero and the heroine become inseparable. If the writer can make my eyes water, or grab for the tissues, then that’s a good read.
|Laurel Heights by Denise Moncrief|
But I found I couldn’t write romance without adding a bit of suspense beyond boy meets girl, boy looses girl, and then boy kisses girl until she swoons... Inevitably, a villain would creep into my carefully laid-out plot lines, someone that didn’t want the hero and heroine to live happily ever after. When intrigue and danger collide with the passion of romance...well, I think that’s combustible. Two plot lines merge, and when well done, the result is breath-taking, heart-pounding romantic suspense.
So what happens when the writer adds a paranormal element to a romantic suspense plot line? Instead of only two plot lines merging, a third thread has to be woven into the plot. What’s the saying? A cord of three is not easily broken. Combine one woman running from her horrifying past, one hero who might not be who he seems, and a ghost determined to make life miserable for them, and you have romantic suspense with a paranormal twist.
The temptation to add a paranormal plot line to Laurel Heights was too much to resist, and so the concept became book number one in the Haunted Hearts series. The added tension of the haunting ratcheted up the suspense until the final moment when... No I’m not going to tell you. That would be a spoiler. Okay, okay, I will tell you one little thing the ghost did that I think is so...sweet. This ghost is a trickster, and apparently, she wanted the hero and the heroine to be together. So she pushed the hero Chase into the heroine Laurel, and the moment increased not only the paranormal suspense but the anticipation of romance.
Suspense, romance, and a paranormal element. For me it’s a perfect trio.