Today we're welcoming author Terri Reed to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for the contemporary inspirational romantic suspense novel, "The Secret Heiress".
Terri is giving away a $10 Visa GC to one randomly drawn commenter. So comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner above, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!
Also, here's our review of "The Secret Heiress".
What's "The Secret Heiress" about?
A Shocking Revelation
Finding out she is heir to a fortune shocks Caroline Tully to her core. And to “qualify” for the inheritance, she just has to visit her newfound grandfather’s Mississippi home from Christmas to New Year’s. Adopted as a baby, Caroline knows nothing about her mother’s family...and doesn’t realize they can’t be trusted. When attempts are made on her life, there’s only one man who can protect her. Donovan Cavanaugh—a man who made her lonely heart want to love again. Posing as her fiancé, Don promises to find the would-be killer. But will his protection-and his love-be enough to keep her safe?
Protection Specialists: Guarding the innocent.
I asked Terri how she balanced the "inspirational" in the romance & suspense without preaching. How much is too much? How much is not enough? Here's what she had to say.
Thank you for having me today. This is a great question and I’ll answer as best I can.
The writing guidelines for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line states this about the inspirational aspect:
An element of faith must be present in the books, and should be well-integrated into the plot. The conflict between the main characters should be an emotional one, arising naturally from the story. The progression of the story must incorporate the faith journey of each protagonist, whether struggling to accept faith or simply being active in their church community. The suspense/mystery element can tie in to the faith element whether by aiding in solving the mystery, or strengthening hero/heroine in times of trial. By the end of the story, hero and heroine must be both believers and members of a church community.
In developing the characters and the plot this is the process I go through:
* Each character starts the story with a romantic need(to fall in love with the right person),an internal need (relating to the world at large) a faith need (even if character is a person of faith-their faith is not perfect) and a external/plot need (the story goal).
* Each character has a motivation (the why) for each of these needs. The romance, internal and faith motivations usually stem from something in the characters past. The plot motivation stems from something recent that has catapulted the characters into the story.
* Each character has conflicts/obstacles (both internal and external) as to why they can’t have these needs met.
* Each character has a coping device to sustain them against the conflict in order to simulate their need.
* Each character must sacrifice this coping device in order to achieve their real need in each of these areas.
* The result will be the characters fall in love, they’ve progressed in their faith journey and the external/plot conflict has been resolved.
Layering in the faith element is like building suspense in the story. In a suspense story, the writer doesn’t dump all the suspense/clues/mystery in one fell swoop, its spread out over the course of the story, upping the tension and danger until the final moment when the hero/heroine realizes the truth/captures the bad guy/saves the day.
In the same way the faith element is woven into the story by doling out small nuggets throughout the story, leading each character to the truth of their faith conflict so they can realize what they must sacrifice (coping device) in order to meet their need, which in turn allows them to be open to love and to move closer to God in their faith journey.
I hope this makes sense. Again, thank you for having me here to day.
At an early age Terri Reed discovered the wonderful world of fiction and declared she would one day write a book. Now she is fulfilling that dream and enjoys writing for Steeple Hill. She is an active member of both Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. She resides in the Pacific Northwest with her college-sweetheart husband, two wonderful children and an array of critters. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, gardening and playing with her dogs.