Switching from writing romantic comedy to psychological suspense has been a challenge I’ve enjoyed rising to. It's a genre I’ve loved reading for years, having long had a fascination for what makes people tick and do the things they do, which led to me studying psychology as a mature student.
I started writing a thriller years ago, before diverting to comedy and knew I would drift back it one day. All my romcoms have a mystery running through them and a little twist at the end, and after co-writing a thriller with a writing friend last year I knew it was time to make the leap for my next solo project.
In romantic comedy some topics are off-limits and while I loved reaching for the humour, hoping to make my readers smile and experience a warm glow, I found myself drawn to writing about more complex, grittier issues that wouldn't be possible in a romance. I love creating tension in the lives of ordinary people, exploring the emotional aspects of relationships after a dramatic event and that works well in both genres, but with suspense, there’s the scope to dig deeper and go darker with the story.
Writing suspense is more technical in some ways, it's not such a straightforward journey with a neatly tied up ending. There are red herrings and clues and dead ends that must make sense and build to a believable and satisfying twist for the reader, while remaining true to the characters, and I hope I've created some genuine surprises during Beth's story in Your Life for Mine.
My search history has certainly been different than when I was researching the backgrounds for my rom-com characters, from ‘what does owning a bakery involve?’ and ‘what do events managers do all day?’ to ‘what is gaslighting?’ and ‘what is secondary drowning?’ and 'how long would someone have to be underwater to drown?' I had to explain to my husband that I wasn't planning to bump him off.
Unlike in previous books, I found writing the ending first – the twist – helped keep me racing towards that point and the ideas flowed as I wrote. Consequently, Your Life for Mine is the fastest I’ve ever written a book and I’m looking forward to continuing my journey into the dark side.First published at HQ Stories