Today, I have one of the Suspense Sisters, Nancy Mehl, visiting. I just finished her most recent book from her Finding Sanctuary series, Rising Darkness. I can’t wait to share my review of that book on Thursday, but I can tell you that I have a free copy to give away to one of you. Keep reading for more information about that!
Thanks so much for spending some time with us, Nancy! This is the time of red hearts and roses, so I have to ask, what is your favorite memory of Valentine’s Day?
Nothing in particular really stands out, but I know Valentine’s Day took on a whole new meaning once my son was old enough to participate. His sweet gifts and expressions of love meant the world to me. Of course, now he’s married and his wife gets all the attention. And that’s fine with me. To see him with his own family – and married to his soul mate – is one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given! I know Valentine’s Day happens every day at his house.
My hubby is also very sweet on Valentine’s Day. I really look forward to his cards. He goes to a lot of trouble to pick just the right one. I save them and have them tucked away in a box. That way, when he gets upset with me, I can take them out and remind him what he said. LOL! (Just kidding.)
Ha! Now, I’m going to get a little goofy. Flash forward to a Valentine date for Sophie and her hero in Rising Darkness. Where would it be and what would they do?
Oh, my. I think Jonathon would be incredibly romantic.
Maybe he’d make dinner at his house and invite Sophie over. He’d put a white tablecloth on the table and light candles. And his gift would be something thoughtful and meaningful. (Maybe an engagement ring???) I think Sophie would tell him how much she loves him and that he is the only man she would ever want to be with. And then she’d say “Yes!” to his proposal.
I love that! Their relationship is intriguing. Did you ever visualize another aspect to it? Another path the romantic subplot could have taken? Maybe you’ve had a “fork in the road” for one of your other stories? How did you resolve the conundrum?
No. I knew they would end up together, but I also knew the road wouldn’t be easy. I couldn’t ignore Sophie’s past and the effect it has had on her.
I can’t think of any “fork in the road” situations in past books. The closest would be in Unbreakable from my Road to Kingdom series. The main character was in love with two men. Although I knew from the start who she would end up with, I have to admit that I struggled with my decision a few times. I liked both of them! LOL!
When you’re writing romance, what important aspects do you look to always include?
Conflict. I don’t think readers are interested in “easy” romances. I want my characters to struggle in their relationship. To be honest, that’s how life really is. No one comes to a relationship without scars.
What is the craziest romantic scene you’ve ever written?
I can’t recall a specific scene, but I had a lot of fun with the characters in my “Curl Up and Dye” series. My main character, Hilde, was a mortuary beautician. Let’s just say that she and her boyfriend, Adam, had a lot of weird experiences on the way to the altar.
Oh my gosh! That’s a hysterical situation/premise! What is the biggest challenge for putting romance and suspense together?
To keep the romance moving along. It’s easy to get lost in my plot and forget to keep my characters’ romance ignited as well.
Thanks so much for spending some time chatting. Here’s the short version of Rising Darkness:
Sophie Wittenbauer left her strict Mennonite hometown under a cloud of shame and regret. Certain she’s left her past far behind her, she’s now focused on her job at a newspaper and is shocked when she stumbles upon the name of someone she knew in her old life. But when she learns the man–a prisoner–claims a suspect from a decades-old unsolved crime is hiding out in the small town of Sanctuary, Missouri, she can’t resist following the lead in hopes of furthering her career.
Almost immediately upon her arrival, Sophie’s confronted with a face from her past and fears her intention of using a false identity to investigate is doomed. But with the help of Sanctuary’s charismatic young pastor, Sophie knows she’s getting close. Will she be able to conceal the truth of her own past long enough to find the suspect before someone puts a stop–fatal or otherwise–to her investigation?
“Romantic suspense at its best, with an engaging plot that’s not overpowering. Mehl is an amazing author who writes believable stories, knows what fans expect and does not disappoint.”–RT Book Reviews
And here’s a little more about Nancy.
Nancy Mehl lives in Festus, Missouri with her husband Norman and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored over twenty-one books and is currently at work on her newest series for Bethany House Publishing.
All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”
Your Turn: Want my copy of Nancy’s latest? Tell me about your favorite Valentine memory or gift. And don’t forget to leave your email address! US residents only, please.