Friday, October 24, 2008

Presentation at SouthWest Illinois College in East St. Louis

Sub-Genre Strengths Questionnaire
Name: Rebecca Savage
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Latest releases:
• Fueled By Instinct
• Cloaked In Assassination
• Destination Ever After
Coming Soon:
• Coincidence
• Combustion
• Consequences
Written but not contracted:
• Guard My Baby(submitted query and synopsis and full ms)
• Guard My Body(with an agent)
Started but not finished:
• Guard My Life
Ideas for several others-including a DRAGON story! Different genre for me, but will still have suspense…based on Chinese dragon elements.

1. Thinking about your sub-genre as a whole, which elements of fiction (for example, character, setting, suspense, plot, internal conflict, external conflict, pacing, details) do you feel it does better than others, and why? (Feel free to use examples from yours or others' stories)

I write romantic suspense, so of course I’d have to say the suspense element is strongest, but any story is nothing without lively characters, so I try to make my characters believable, interesting, and spunky. There’ll always be a conflict as well, sometimes both internal and external, and the plot revolves around the characters’ actions and the suspense element forcing them to function a certain way and evolve the plot.

2. How do you ensure these elements are a part of your story? Which element of writing do you feel is your strength, and if it differs from your sub-genre, how do you enhance it in your story to make an impact?

Suspense is automatically there if the characters have some issue to deal with, either internally or externally. In my case, there will always be external conflict because something is threatening to harm my hero or heroine or both. So my strength is the suspense plot, but the characters determine how they’ll deal with what is happening to them. My characters aren’t easy going victims. They fight back. That’s the impact.

3. Why do you believe readers who love your sub-genre more than any other do so? What is it about your stories that keep your fans coming back?

I’d like to think it’s my voice and the characters’ personalities. I try to get into their deep POV so my people are real. There’s constant action because of the persistent danger, and the romance, making for fast-paced read and exciting ride.

4. Thinking about your sub-genre, which authors do you feel are the "cream of the crop"--and why? What are their strengths?

Okay, I know, Nora, Nora, Nora. Writers probably get tired of being compared to her, but no one grips a reader’s attention like her. I don’t want to be just like her. I just want to be able to compel readers to feel the way she does. Not that there aren’t any other writers that make me feel when I read, but she’s the most prominent, well-known name that elicits the response I want reader to have when they read my work.

5. If you're published in more than one sub-genre, is it difficult to transition between them? How do you bring focus to your stories to make them unique to the sub-genre?

I’m only published on my genre, but I write various stories in that genre, so it might be considered sub-genre. I write female FBI agents, female assassins for the CIA, female snipers for the DEA, male SS agents and SEALs, and stalker situations. The stalker stories are very different from the intrigue element of the FBI, CIA, and DEA. The heroine is not weak by any means, but she is more at the mercy of the villain than a femme fatale, and so the hero is more active in his role as protector.

6. Any additional thoughts or insights about the strengths of your sub-genre?

I read all types of romance, but I enjoy suspense/intrigue/thrillers the most because of the constant action. The hero and heroine are busy. They have no choice. If the hero and heroine are bored, so is the reader. In suspense, if it’s done right, there’s no time to be bored. It’s not just about whether the hero and heroine fall in love. It’s how they deal with what’s happening around them, and how they deal with the attraction between them in the midst of danger and chaos. If they can make it past the hard times, their love can endure. That’s what it’s all about. For better or for worse.

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