Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Alice Orr hangs out on the #DarkSide #RomanticSuspense

I'm pleased to welcome romantic suspense author Alice Orr to my blog. She's here to talk about the dark side of writing suspense. But even the darkest of her novels bears the light of love. Please welcome Alice Orr!

Hanging Out on the #DarkSide @aliceorrbooks #romanticsuspense #writing #asmsg

“What drove you and your sister so far apart that you moved us to the opposite side of the country and we’ve never gone back?”
Vanessa was talking about their migration from the North Country of New York State to Convergence Island in Washington State. Her mother traded one remote place for another, and they’d ended up more isolated than ever.
“These things happen in families.”
Her mother’s answer was as evasive as it had always been.
“I know these things happen, Mother,” Vanessa said. “I also know you’re not going to tell me more than that, so I’ve made a decision.”
“What kind of decision?”
The fear in her mother’s voice came close to backing Vanessa down yet again. She loved her mother and didn’t want to hurt her, but this time Vanessa was determined to find out the truth. She’d allowed herself to be put off for too long. She intended to find the rest of her family.
“I’ve decided to go to Northern New York,” she said and closed her ears to the barrage of protests that followed, except for one.
“Don’t be so sure they’ll want you when you get there.”

I’m definitely fascinated by darkness. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have written fourteen romantic suspense novels so far, with the fifteenth recently begun. The above excerpt is from A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4 – and is what writers of dark stories call The Warning. Vanessa should consider herself warned away from danger, but she doesn’t listen. Suspense novel characters seldom do.

I was once offered a similar warning against the stories I’ve chosen to tell. Like many of us who write stories of murder and retribution, I’ve experienced the harsh side of life up close and personal. David Morrell, the great thriller writer, spoke of that in Seattle. “Why do you want to write these stories?” he asked. “You need to know. Don’t just do it because suspense sells.”

He was correct about those last two words. Any bestseller list is proof of how well scary tales fare in the marketplace. Across the author spectrum from Stephen King to Mary Higgins Clark to Nora Roberts. You can hardly go wrong striking terror in the hearts of readers or movie goers or TV watchers.

What David Morrell’s question was getting at that afternoon in Seattle was this. In order to create a place and a situation meant to terrify an audience, the writer must enter the same place and situation herself. She must enter and dig down deep. Otherwise, she won’t touch the terror intimately enough to pass it on in words, and especially in vivid scenes.

Mr. Morrell told us his own personal terror scene that day and forced us to write our own, right there in a crowded room. Scribbling in deadly silence. Filling the notebooks on our laps with sentences haunted by the horror, often from childhood, that a real-life human history can contain.

Have I got you shivering yet? Maybe just a little? More pointed still, have I set you to thinking about your own human horror story? The one you don’t discuss very often or dwell on privately either, if you can keep from doing so. The corner of your consciousness you avoid because it is dark and shadowed and beasties dwell there.

We dark-siders conjure that corner each time we write. For the fascination but, inadvertently, for the reader we save from visiting her beasties. She can be fearful at a distance instead, exorcising her own real demons by encountering imaginary ones. Plus, most of us throw in the solace of a satisfying end. Loose strands tied together. Darkness swept away.

In my stories, I tend toward the side of the spectrum where more light is visible because love is happening along with the bad stuff. Which means hope is happening too. My readers and I need that, to be reassured of one thing. Whatever evil has been done, hope gleams at the horizon. What could hold more bright promise than two people struggling to fall in love?

A Villain for Vanessa’s Bobby and Vanessa are relentless. They grapple with evil and drag each other toward safety. I invite you to experience their encounter with darkness. I assure you there’ll be light at the end, though your blood may chill along the way. Meanwhile, my answer to Mr. Morrell’s question is this. I write these stories because I love to read them.

A Villain for Vanessa by Alice Orr

A story of tangled roots and tormented love.                                
Two families are shaken to their roots. Vanessa Westerlo must find her roots. Bobby Rizzo is torn between Vanessa and his true roots. They are all tormented by love – past and too present. Meanwhile a man has been murdered. And that is the most tormented tangle of all.

Alice Orr is known for Delicious Suspense spiced with Romance.
She does it again in A Villain for Vanessa.

A Villain for Vanessa is Book 4 of the Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series set in remote Riverton, New York. This story features the Kalli family and the fortunate people who find safety and welcome at the Kalli homestead on Riverton Road. A Wrong Way Home is Book 1 of the series and A Year of Summer Shadows is Book 2. A Vacancy at the Inn is Book 3 and introduces the Miller family of Riverton Road Hill.

Find all of Alice Orr’s books at and other online retailers.

Alice Orr –

"Alice Orr is a brilliant writer who has a number one best seller in her pocket," says one Amazon reviewer. Alice loves to write. Especially romantic suspense novels and blog posts. She’s been a workshop leader, book editor and literary agent. Now she lives her dream of writing full-time. So far she’s published fifteen novels, three novellas and a memoir – either traditionally or independently. Alice wrote her nonfiction book, No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells, as a gift to the writers' community. A revised edition is now in progress. Amazon says, "This book has it all." And calls her novels, "Delicious well written suspense spiced with a love story." Most of all, Alice is thrilled to hear from readers. Visit her at her website Alice has two grown children and two perfect grandchildren and lives with her husband Jonathan in New York City.

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