Suspense without romance is a waste of toner & paper

I’m still woefully behind as I work on Left Coast Crime and take a marketing class.  When this happens, I call upon guests to help me out. Lisa Black has such an interesting background–she’s a forensic scientist (see bio below). And get this she’s a sucker for romance.  See? Everyone needs a little Romance. Please welcome Author Lisa Black who deftly explains her position.  ~ Donnell

ThosL Black author photoe who read my books will be surprised to hear this, but I’m a sucker for romance. I always have been. Put two or more people of varying genders in a room and I will start mentally pairing them off. I was this kind of kid: I watched the 1972 Olympics convinced that Mark Spitz and Cathy Rigby should get married. As an adult I realize that there’s a good chance the swimmer and the gymnast never even met, but as a child I considered their pairing to be so blindingly obvious and the athletes’ refusal to cooperate, inexplicable.
I love romance, and as I approach a full-blown mid-life crisis I appreciate it more than ever. I just really suck at writing it.
I always wanted suspense first, yes, and romance second—but by no means optional. The two are like yin and yang, peanut butter and jelly, salt in chicken soup. One without the other is a pointless waste of paper and toner.blunt cover image
You can blame my early influences for my difficulty with putting ardor into words. The Golden Age mystery writers, John Dickson Carr, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Agatha Christie and the great Ellery Queen downplayed any romances contained within to the point of nonexistence. Thrillers weren’t much different, so when it comes to writing I apparently went to the Alastair MacLean School of Romance. In nearly all his books the hero and heroine (usually named John and Mary, for some reason) never touched each other (unless you count some sharp repartee) until the last page, upon which they would decide to get married. And that worked for me. I didn’t need a lot of sighing and whispering sweet nothings or sweaty skin entangled between satin sheets. As long as there was attraction and a faith that that attraction would eventually be acted upon, I am good. So I don’t need a lot. But still I’d like to write something.
I finally broke out of my shell in a small way and gave up trying to describe the indescribable in a book which should come out in 2014, tentatively titled The Price of Innocence. In it, Theresa meets a mysterious guy at the funeral of a slain cop, and goes completely heart-palpitating, head-over-heels gaga over the man. She has no reason for it. She can’t explain it to herself so I didn’t even attempt to explain it to the readers. She doesn’t know why she feels this way. (I know, because the guy looks like actor David Morse, but Theresa doesn’t know that.) I also wrote my first (published, or soon to be) love scene, which both my agent and my sisters described as “hot”—as in, “you’d better not let Mom read this ‘hot’.” I am particularly proud of achieving that level of passion despite that fact that both characters remain fully clothed.
But in Blunt Impact, due out April 1st, I decided to work against myself, take the not-obvious route, divorce myself from the notion that the pretty blond gymnast necessarily had to get together with the handsome swimmer. I introduced the intelligent, gentle yet supremely homely prosecutor Ian Bauer. Ian has spent a lifetime ignored or outright avoided by the opposite sex, but he senses in Theresa an ability to see past the surface. There are no guarantees, of course…but I have faith.

Blunt Impact will be available April 1, featuring forensic scientist Theresa MacLean and a series of murders surrounding a skyscraper under construction in downtown Cleveland. The first to die is young, sexy concrete worker Samantha, thrown from the 23rd floor. The only witness is her 11 year old daughter Anna, nicknamed Ghost. Ghost will stop at nothing to find her mother’s killer, and Theresa will stop at nothing to keep Ghost safe.

Also, Kindle owners can find a bargain in my new book The Prague Project, written under the name Beth Cheylan. A death in West Virginia sends FBI agent Ellie Gardner and NYPD Counterterrorism lieutenant Michael Stewart on a chase across Europe as they track stolen nukes and lost Nazi gold, hoping to avert the death of millions of people.

Lisa Black spent the five happiest years of her life in a morgue. As a forensic scientist in the Cleveland coroner’s office she analyzed gunshot residue on hands and clothing, hairs, fibers, paint, glass, DNA, blood and many other forms of trace evidence, as well as crime scenes. Now she’s a certified latent print examiner and CSI for the Cape Coral Police Department. Her books have been translated into six languages. Evidence of Murder reached the NYT mass market bestseller’s list.

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