Wednesday, July 29, 2009

MBN Welcomes Rita Herron, Author of The Demonborn Trilogy

Mystery Books News is delighted to welcome award-winning author Rita Herron as a guest blogger today. Rita currently writes paranormal romantic suspense novels for Grand Central Publishing and category romantic suspense novels for Harlequin Intrigue. Her new series, The Demonborn, blends her love of dark, steamy romantic suspense with her other love ... the paranormal. Set in the contemporary world, she explores the age-old battle of good versus evil, and the battle as it rages within each person. And of course, the ultimate question: Can love conquer all?

Rita Herron (Author)
Photo courtesy Rita Herron

Today Rita writes about how she combines elements of mystery, suspense, romance, and the paranormal into her novels. (And if you leave a comment or sign up for Rita's newsletter, you'll be entered to win a free copy of her books; see details below!)

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As a child, I devoured the Trixie Belden mystery series; as a teenager, Nancy Drew. As an adult, Mary Higgins Clark and Tami Hoag. With mystery/suspense as my reading pleasure, it felt natural for me to write mystery/suspense novels. Of course, I also love a hot steamy romance, so blending the two genres was even more exciting.

But I also cut my teeth on shows like The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, and Alfred Hitchcock, and as my writing evolved, those elements slowly crept in.

Crossing genres is challenging, but what could be more fun for a writer or reader to find all those interesting elements in one story?

Following the basic rules of good storytelling is important for any genre. Writing romance means including great emotion, sexual tension, and personal conflict, as well as building the love story. Writing mystery/suspense means keeping the reader guessing, on the edge of his seat and throwing in red herrings. Writing both means there are two plot lines – the romance plot and the suspense plot and entwining them together.

Writing paranormal adds yet another layer of interest with supernatural elements, world building, and even more creative plot lines and characters.

Tips To Increase Sexual Tension

 • Set up the internal conflict in the beginning: why is the heroine the worst person for the hero? Why is he the worst person for her? How do their goals collide?

 • Establish the atmosphere

 • Begin with a change in the relationship

 • Force Intimacy

 • Put them in danger (danger of losing their lives, danger of losing themselves, their independence, danger of losing love or the chance for love

 • Increase romantic stakes – as the characters grow and work together, they fall in love which makes it more difficult for them to end the relationship

 • Interrupt sexual consummation with a threat or danger (foreplay builds anticipation)

Writing the Page Turner

 • Introduce sympathetic characters with strengths and weaknesses – each character, including the villain, should have his/her own goals, conflicts/motivation

 • Open with a threat: drop your characters into conflict from page one

 • Establish your atmosphere – use your setting and weather to set the mood, paint a spooky, more sinister element, to create danger, and add more obstacles

 • Use your external plot to throw your characters together and trigger their internal conflict (fears, weaknesses, needs)

 • End each scene and chapter with a hook (a romantic hook, question, new clue, new suspect, a twist, danger)

 • Raise the stakes: increase tension by escalating the danger

 • Foreshadow ultimate danger and trouble between the characters

 • Withhold information – use secrets, lies and backstory to create tension

 • Add complications – lead the reader astray with red herrings

 • Provide a deadline

 • Narrow his or her options

 • Give us the big showdown!

— ◊ —

Dark Hunger (The Demonborn Trilogy) by Rita Herron

Rita's second book in the Demonborn paranormal romantic suspense thriller trilogy, Dark Hunger, will be published next month. The first, Insatiable Desire, is available now; the third, Forbidden Passion, will be out next April.

Leave a comment or question for Rita today and be entered in a contest for a copy of Insatiable Desire. But don't stop there! There's a second contest for today's readers. Visit Rita at her website and sign up for her newsletter to be entered in a contest to a copy of both books in The Demonborn Series: Insatiable Desire and Dark Hunger. And, by signing up for Rita's newsletter, you will also be automatically entered in Rita's regular monthly contests. You can also find extras on the Demonborn series at And visit Rita on Facebook,, and

Watch the trailer for the Demonborn trilogy and Dark Hunger below:

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  1. Morning Rita:
    I really enjoyed the first one in this series. It kept me guessing until the end about who was the real villain. As a veteran mystery/suspense reader, that's unusual for me.
    Interesting overview of the construction of a mystery/suspense novel. Thanks.
    (Please disqualify me from the contest)

  2. Hi, Debbie,
    It's great to be here. I do love a good mystery.

  3. Thanks for such an interesting post. If you don't mind, I'd like to share your suggestions for "Writing the Page Turner" with my middle school students. It's always exciting to see how real writers write!

  4. Very interesting tips - I can't imagine how difficult it must be to write one genre without trying to blend three of them into one story. Thanks for sharing.


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