Open House on Murder: a romantic suspense story & interview

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.Open House on Murder by Lavada Dee

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.

The interview:

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.



And the Winner is…

Lavada Dee and I would like to thank everyone who stopped by and commented on the blog. It was fun to chat about decorations and which ones tug at our heart strings the most. Using, we’ve selected the winner of a digital copy of our two story, emotion-wrapped holiday anthology.

And the winner is…

Connie Fischer

Congratulations, Connie! I’ll be emailing you off loop to find out which digital format you prefer.

And again, thanks to everyone for stopping by!

Laurie Ryan and Lavada Dee

Holidays and a Give-away

I’d like to give a big shout-out and WELCOME to the new blog followers from my recent book giveaway at The Romance Studio. The winner of a digital copy of Holiday Magic – The Gift of Love, was Beth Elder, who’s already received her copy. Congratulations, Beth!

It’s been a tough storm month for the eastern seaboard of the United States. I live on the west coast, but my heart goes out to all the people trying to rebuild after superstorm Sandy. I have a sister in the Philadelphia area who, thankfully, had only minimal damage and 22 hours without power. If you, your friends, or family are affected by the devastation of this storm, just know that there are a lot of us out here praying for you.

Now, with Thanksgiving only 2 weeks away, I wonder who is starting holiday preparations? Are the ghosts and pumpkins put away for another year and the turkeys and gourds set out with fall colors surrounding them? Are the Christmas decorations waiting in the wings, anxious to be brought out like long-lost friends and displayed?  What is your most treasured decoration? Mine is a foot-tall Father Christmas that my sister gave to me. He’s about 2 feet tall and stands on the floor in our hallway. Every time I walk through there, it feels like he’s winking at me and reminding me to remember the magic.

Holiday Magic – the Gift of Love is now out in print at major online outlets of Amazon and Barnes & Noble . To celebrate that, and since the book-a-day giveaway was so successful, fellow author Lavada Dee and I thought it would be fun to give another digital copy of this two-story anthology.

It’s easy to win. Just leave a comment with your email address  and tell us what your favorite holiday decoration is. Post between now and the end of Friday (PST) 11/16/12. We’ll randomly select a winner after that.

Best of luck! And have a wonderful start to your holiday season!

Holiday Magic – The Gift of Love now in print!

Hi, everyone! How’s your Autumn going? Hopefully, you’ve been enjoying a gentle season so far, and your summer was filled with fun memories you’ll carry with you for a long, long time.

My summer has been just the right amount of work and play. I spent a lot of time playing cards with my elderly father, some time visiting family, and even got away for a couple long weekends with my husband.  Of course, Dude, our cat, wasn’t too thrilled about that. He doesn’t do well being boarded, so we’re lucky to have family who will come cat-sit for us. At almost 17 pounds, Dude is a force to be reckoned with, and just a tad spoiled, or so my husband tells me.

On the writing front, I’ve been busy trying to finish up some projects. One of them has to do with the two-story holiday anthology done with fellow author, Lavada Dee.  I’m excited to report that Holiday Magic – The Gift of Love, is now available in a print version as well as digital.

These emotion-wrapped stories are the perfect way to transition to cooler weather and the holidays. They’ll put you in the mood for curling up with a warm beverage…or significant other…or both. 🙂

Available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon

Priceless Love by Lavada Dee
“For Richer, For Poorer.”
Taylor Hamilton, dissatisfied with a life designed by her parents, attends a friend’s fall wedding and finds small town life agrees with her. The problem is, her wealth doesn’t agree with the man she falls for. Is their love strong enough to find a bridge of trust where money isn’t an issue?

Healing Love by Laurie Ryan
“In Sickness and in Health.”
Nicole Milbourne’s single-minded focus on a medical research career is thrown for a loop when charismatic Dr. Damien Reed shows her there’s more to life than studying diseases. Will an unexpected Christmas fill Nicole’s lonely heart and show her the healing power of love?