When I first wrote Terror Stash, it didn’t have a romance in it at all. I wasn’t entirely sure I was even going to publish it under my own name.
It was a straight thriller, not set in North America, but did feature an American heroine. It was set in the obscure and little-known area of Western Australia called Margaret River. It featured surfers, terrorists, drugs, diplomats, and a rugged hero of thready, exotic history, enormous physical strength, and puzzling motives. A lot of the Australian characters refer to Caden Rawn as the ‘big freaking dude’, and he tended to make most men around him feel mildly inadequate.
The book was also really long, and was carefully pruned before my agent shopped the book around to legacy publishers. She marketed it for several years, but no one nibbled.
I think the odd setting put a lot of editors off. It wasn’t set in an exotic location, like Monte Carlo, or somewhere in Europe, like all the James Bond movies seem to be set. It wasn’t set in some dirty, desperate urban location like some of the more popular thriller writers tended to use, such as Patterson.
Because the book could not be easily categorized, it was rejected. A lot.
When I started indie publishing I brushed the dust off the story and read through it. One of the things that struck me quite forcibly was that Caden Rawn was a fascinating character, one that I wouldn’t mind meeting myself. And because I was so heavily invested in the romance genre I looked at him a couple times more, and began noodling around the idea that I turn the book into romance.
I already had the heroine in place, the main character, Montana.
In fact, I had structured the novel in such a way that the romance became a naturally arising relationship between Montana and Caden. I just had to encourage them a little bit.
I also put back in all the subplots and deleted scenes that my agent had asked me to remove. As a result Terror Stash comes in at well over 120,000 words. It is the longest romantic suspense I’ve written to date.
I kept the story set in the obscure little town of Margaret River. There is no way to tell the story if you try to place it somewhere else in the world. Margaret River has unique features collected together that make the story possible. Without Margaret River there is no story. So it was a easy decision to leave the story there. It just means that readers get to see a story being told in a place that they are not familiar with. But I made sure that there is enough information there that even the most stay-at-home reader won’t get lost.
While Terror Stash is generally categorized as romantic suspense, I tend to think of it as a romantic thriller, not simply a suspense story. The action storyline certainly never quits. In fact I had trouble finding places where it would be natural for the hero and heroine to have some alone time together. But I managed to squeeze it in. 🙂
There is enough background and history between Montana and Cayden that a sequel featuring the pair of them is not out of the question. But for now, it is just the one story, unless reader demand becomes overwhelming!
Terror Stash is part of a six book bundle of books being discounted at the end of November. Keep reading this blog to find out more about the discount deal at the end of the month.