Maggie Mitchell

Category Archives: Romantic Suspense

The Writers Life: Interview with C A SZAREK

I have the great pleasure to welcome a good friend – C A SZAREK today on her COLLISION FORCE Blog Tour.

Her first romantic suspense story COLLISION FORCE was released by Total-e-bound recently and can I say – I’ve read it and it’s awesome! If you like believable and sympathetic characters mixed with a ton of suspense and tension – this is the book for you!  And it’s an ARe bestseller! 

I sent Chrissy some tough questions, but I have to say she was up for the challenge. So without further ado – take it away C A!


When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?

I have always been a writer. Since I was very young. I always wanted to be published. I “got serious” about it a few years ago and joined a writing group, because I had no clue on the “hows” of getting published. Not sure what the final push toward publishing was for me, but I had stepped away from writing for a while. It was good to get back in and finish my book. I think that made me want it more.  🙂

How long does it take you to write a book?

So far each MS I have finished has been different for me. It’s taken literally years all the way to the one I just finished, which took about 3 months to write 70k.

Where do you start when you begin a book? Research, plotting, outline, or…?

I always start with an idea. Usually when my characters introduce themselves to me. Then I do research as needed. I don’t plot. I am a diehard pantser, I write by the seat of my pants. Sometimes I know where a scene is going, and sometimes I don’t have a clue. Sometimes my characters take things a direction that surprises me. Sometimes that’s awesome, and other times it’s frustrating.  But it’s always an adventure. 😉

Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just fit it in where you can?

I write every day. Sometimes at lunch at work, so on those days I write two times, because I write best in the evenings from 6:00PM to about 8:30PM.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Chance Collision (Crossing Forces Book Two) can be considering “Coming Soon!” YAY! And Love’s Call (King’s Riders Book Two) which is my fantasy series published by Gypsy Shadow Publishing will be out in Late 2013 or early 2014.

I am working on a Christmas Novella that relates to the Crossing Forces world (YAY! If you liked Collision Force, you will LOVE this…*hint*)

And I will be working on book 3 soon.


C.A. is originally from Ohio, but got to Texas as soon as she could. She is married and has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.

She works with kids when she’s not writing.

She’s always wanted to be a writer and is overjoyed to share her stories with the world.

C.A. fantasy romance series, The King’s Riders book 1 is available Feb 2013 from Gypsy Shadow Publishing.

She is often on Facebook and twitter, and loves to hear from fans. You can also check out her blog. Drop her a line!



To BUY Collision Force : Click HERE

My weekend in writing…

Happy weekend folks. I hope you’re getting to all those jobs you want to achieve this weekend. I know I’m doing pretty well myself so far, so fingers crossed the momentum continues.

Goals for this weekend:
1. Finish editing short story for TWC anthology – check!
2. Finish revising RS and submit to publisher – check!
3. Work on novella for my other persona – not yet but hopeful!

I suppose I should tell you a little bit about numbers 1 & 2 🙂

The short story is for an anthology with my writers group – we’re forming a co-operative to publish our own work. There are 9 of us, and several are published already, so we’re all helping out with content editing, line editing and formatting. It’s almost ready to go so watch this space!  My story is a contemporary romance and it’s set in Sydney. That’s all I can tell you for now. You’ll have to be patient 🙂

The romantic suspense is a novel I wrote some time back, had it published briefly with a now defunct publisher, so I revised it and updated it and I’ve sent it off to a new publisher. Hopefully they’ll like the partial and ask for the full – but geez Louise it’s so long since I sent in a submission to a new publisher, I am so nervous!  I’m trying hard not to second guess what they will say, plus making sure I don’t re read what I wrote because there’s nothing I can do to change it now!  Talk about scary!

So that’s my weekend in writing – how’s yours going?

CRAFT: Increase the Intensity


One sure fire way to keep the intensity of the romance balanced with the suspense is to have the characters together as often as possible. In some cases you will find them together all the way through the book. This forces the protagonists to grow together emotionally. They need to build a relationship of trust for each other while at the same time battling the bad guys.

The suspense plot itself can create a rollercoaster ride of emotions as events occur and the characters are placed in such danger or action that it makes our hearts pound in fear and worry. Will they survive? How do they get out of this seemingly impossible situation?

You can go about this a few ways. First you can keep your reader guessing as much as your characters. When something happens, they are as surprised as the characters involved. This works well in a number of situations.

Another way is to have the reader know the facts while the characters have no idea. The reader knows that a villain is watching and waiting for the heroine to arrive home late at night. The heroine has no idea and goes happily along,
following her normal routine while the readers are on the edge of their seats worried about the heroine and what is going to happen to her. They might even shout at her to run while she still has the chance. 

This emotional involvement of the reader enhances their enjoyment, and when the main characters eventually get together there is more satisfaction due to this higher degree of caring for the welfare of the characters.

After a suspenseful event, there is an affirmation of life as the characters and the readers rejoice in another escape from danger.

So now you have some ideas to work with…

Creating romantic suspense can be a very rewarding experience. Getting the balance between the romance and the suspense is a simple process if you remember that there are no hard and fast rules. The characters have a need for each other that is enhanced by the danger of the suspense, and the thrill of being together through the experience. This is what makes for satisfying reading and is why we continue to come back for more.

Thank you for dropping by and reading my seven part series on Writing Romantic Suspense.  I’ll be sharing more craft at a later date. In the mean time stick around and share my writing journey with me. I’d love to have you 🙂
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