My good friend Lavada Dee has re-released her book Open House on Murder (originally titled Open House on Love) and I thought I’d ask her a few questions about it because I don’t read much romantic suspense and I was curious about a few things.
First, I’d like to say this book totally held my interest. In fact, I read it in a weekend, unusual for me. With a hero named Quin, I’m in from the beginning. I love that name. Add in that this is a reunion story and that the way they were torn apart feels different and innovative and I kept turning the pages. With a killer targeting people in Aimee’s line of work, she and Quin have no choice but to get up close and personal. There’s a bit of a paranormal thing in it, but since that’s not listed in the blurb, I’ll just say it felt realistic to me. I bought into the story, the romance, and the world Lavada created.
Laurie: I love the name Quin, and Quin and Aimee has a great ring to it. How do you name your characters? Do they name themselves or do you hunt around for the perfect choice?
Lavada: A good question, but not a definitive answer. With Open House On Murder I had the names in mind right from the beginning but this isn’t always the case. A lot of times I search for a perfect name by googling baby names. And I’ve even changed a name midway through writing the story. Sometime the name just doesn’t fit as the character develops.
Laurie: Googling baby names works great, doesn’t it? And I love that the characters sometimes tell you they need a different name! I’ve never written a suspense story. Do you find it difficult to pepper in just enough clues to entice, but not enough to completely give it away?
Lavada: Again, the mechanics of writing Open House was different than anything else I’ve written. I’m what they call a ‘seat of the pants’ author. Meaning, I just for the most part sit down and write without plotting or characterization. And forget about work sheets! With Open House I diligently did all the steps of plotting. The result was that I wrote this book faster than any other I’ve ever written and… I hated it. I didn’t even want to have a critique. I knew it would only tell me what I already knew. This story was boring. So… I put it under the bed and wrote the next one which I loved. Then, since I hate waste, I dug Open House back out and revised the heck out of the characters as that was what was wrong. The plot was almost perfect, but the characters were like cardboard figures.
Laurie: Well, your revisions worked, because the story is great. Including the setting. In fact, there’s an old armoire in this story that almost felt like a character in the story. It’s richly described and I’m wondering where you came up with the vision of it?
Lavada: Strictly my imagination on the armoire. I love old houses and the furniture when it’s in them and not in my house. I needed something to point to that old mansion and the armoire was the perfect thing to do it.
Laurie: It worked. I could see that armoire so well. Okay, only a couple more questions. Reunion stories can be hard to write, showing the love and attraction, but holding out on the ultimate happy ending until the right time. You’ve managed to do that and I’m wondering if it came easily to you or if the characters had their own ideas about why they were struggling.
Lavada: It did come easy. Maybe too easy as I had to work so that it wouldn’t seem like a tired and well used cliche. In this case it help endear Quin to me and from what I hear readers.
Laurie: I already mentioned that I think the way they were torn apart seems anything but cliché, so well done. Do you have any other romantic suspense stories in the pipeline? We’d love to hear a little bit about them.
Lavada: I think the next novel I will write will be a western historical. I do have another romantic suspense that is out of print right now and I want to get it re-released before starting something new. It’s titled Forever Love because the publisher wanted the word ‘Love’ in the title but I’m thinking of renaming it Escape To Die for as it fits the story better. The story is about a serial killer targeting women that are residents or associated with a safe house. I love Mary Higgins Clark and how she puts in all the twists and turns that make it hard to know who did it. I tried to do that with this story. I’m hoping readers will let me know if I successfully accomplished it.
Laurie: Thank you so much for taking the time to visit today. I’m happy I had a chance to showcase another awesome story. For anyone who’d like to read more about this, here’s what the story’s about and links:
Aimee Forrester has returned to the small town of her high school dreams. When her longtime friend offered her a partnership in her real estate company Aimee leaped at the chance to restart her life in the place she left her heart nineteen years earlier. Now with a new home, and a job she loves, she pushes away memories that still fill her nights with dreams.
Working with an elite serial killer work force Detective Quin Martina finds himself in his own back yard investigating a string of murders. The killer is targeting real estate agents conducting open houses. Bad enough, but worse when an agent in the reality office Aimee Forrester owns a partnership in, is a victim.
The investigation forces Aimee and Quin together and their past attraction to each other flares to a new passionate emotion that both fight to deny. With the killer spiraling more and more out of control Aimee is drawn in and gets his attention. The violence and fear ramp already stretched emotions.
Quin knows they have to bring this killer down fast before more lives are lost and before Aimee becomes a target.