Monday, October 25, 2010

ARTICLE: Mix Mystery With Romance For Astonishing Success

Novels that mixed romance with suspense or mystery began about 60 years ago with the publishing of Phyllis Whitney's Modern Gothic romances. A twist on the classic old Gothic romance, which has the heroine so helpless that it would be unbelievable and possibly offensive today, the modern romance/suspense novel is populated with a more capable heroine who makes choices similar to that of the modern female reader. She is someone the reader can identify with easily. She is likely to have skills and resources and the ability to make her own way in the world rather than be dependent upon a male lead, like a kindly uncle or father. Women's liberation has made some rather large changes in how we are able to accept female characters, even in romantic fiction and to make your story appealing, you need to stay current if not a bit beyond the current fashion, right into what the public will want in the future.

The mystery romance genre will likely require your main character to be a bit of a detective as well as a romantic heroine. She is placed in a mysterious situation that she needs to figure out before she can give her heart away. Is the killer her love interest? Is she unsure? He seems so perfect for her, but where was he on the night that the murder took place? You see how it can add a level of intrigue and complexity to your novel that may allow it to cross over to another hungry group of readers, the mystery fans. It seems like a good idea to reach as many readers as you can, and crossing the genre of romance with the mystery story is a great way to approach the craft of story as well as increase your fan base substantially.

These types of novels are popular enough that the famous publishing house of Harlequin, which I am sure you have heard of, has created a subcategory of books under the Harlequin Intrigue imprint which exists only to serve this market of readers. But many "mainstream" authors you will find have created a romance with a mystery mixed in and it makes the bestseller list. You may even find your novel becoming optioned for a movie. The main thing you need to concern yourself with as an author of this type of genre is if the two plots or story lines serve each other and come together to create one massive, coherent tale. They can dip in and out of each other, drifting apart and then meeting, but in the end they must come together to make sense and move the final theme forward, that of our heroine finally finding her one true love against all obstacles.

Fortuna Fassbinder is a pen name of an award winning romance novelist in the historical romance genre. She would love to share with you her method of changing your life by breaking into the lucrative romance novel business. Visit her at and receive a free information packed mini-course, "10 Tips to a Bestselling Romance."

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