Monday, January 2, 2012

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: The Secret Heiress by Terri Reed

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 fiancĂ©, 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.


  1. This sounds like a good read - I especially found it intriguing that the heroine is adopted and her family can't be trusted. I look forward to reading this book in the future.
    ~Cecelia Dowdy~

  2. What a great review in the post below! This sounds like my kind of book: "a clever, heart-stopping suspense with a sweet romance lovingly woven throughout, with a Christian theme that doesn't beat you over the head." I look forward to reading it.


  3. I love the way you explain how you work in the faith element--so important in a Love Inspired novel. This one looks great: romance, suspense, and inspiration.

  4. Beautifully said, Terri. And I love your title and premise. Sounds like another winner!

  5. I have to admit that I was very hesitant to read a Love Inspired novel even though suspense is my favorite type of books to read. I don't really remember which book introduced me to LIS but I have added them to my reading and really enjoy them. I especially enjoyed Terri's Daughter of Texas book.

  6. What a great, in-depth, explanation! I have to say that for the longest time I didn't read any Love Inspired books because the few I tried a decade ago were too preachy. It seemed someone had to be saved in every book.

    Then I picked up one of Terri's Love Inspired Suspense (I think this was six years ago). I loved the combination of heroism and faith. Most of all I never felt that she preached at me. Instead the faith element was a natural part of the lives of the characters. I could identify with the struggle of faith (even in those who believed) against circumstances and the call for heroism. Since then, Terri Reed is an auto buy for me every time.

  7. Great post! Thanks for explaining how you weave it all together, Terri! I really enjoyed reading The Secret Heiress!

  8. Thank you ladies for stopping by today. Waving to my fellow LI authors.
    Catherine, very happy to hear my book sounds like something you'd like.
    EllenToo, so glad you gave Love Inspired a try. Daughter of Texas was one of my favorites.

  9. Maggie, your words made me blush.
    Melissa, thanks for stopping by.

  10. Enjoyed this interview! I appreciate how you bring in the faith element, Terri, and am so glad you explained the feelings of LI. I love to read Christian fiction and look forward to reading your newest! I've read Covert Pursuit and loved it.

  11. Jackie, thank you for stopping in. Covert Pursuit was another of my favorites. Hmmm. Books are kind of like children. They are all my favorites because I birthed them.

  12. Thanks for the great interview.

    Happy New Year!

    elizabeth @

  13. Happy New Year to you too Elizabeth. Thanks for stopping by.

  14. The cover alone--and knowing it's one of your books--had me hooked. Even better, I love the explanation of your writing process...and plan to borrow it! Can't wait to read it.

    Wendy Warren

  15. I like the way you describe how you write your books.

  16. Hi Terri,

    You are a new-to-me author so I will enjoy following you on your book tour over the next couple of weeks, learning more about you and your work.

    Your book sounds like an interesting mix of genres. So, does the writer pick the genre or does the genre pick the writer? What do you think?

  17. Hi Terri, Enjoyed your interview. You are a new author for me and I look forward to reading your latest. I love mystery, suspense and romance written together. Thanks for stopping by to chat and share with us.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  18. Wendy, the art department did a wonderful job with the cover. It has that gothic feel I was going for.
    Thank you for stopping by and for your kind words.
    Paty, thanks for stopping by.
    Karen, for me it was a combination of both. I knew I wanted to write for Harlequin and was excited when they started the Love Inspired line. My first five books were romances but they all had a suspense element so when Harlequin started Love Inspired Suspense it was a natural fit for me.
    Misskallie, I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. I love to talk about writing!Thank you for stopping by.


So... inquiring minds want to know: what do you think?