copyright 2014, Aaron Paul Lazar
When I started writing mysteries back in 1997, I never considered including a “romantic element” in my books.
Funny thing is, I realize now, in hindsight, that every one of my books is supremely romantic.
Crazy, huh? So many things happen beneath the scenes when I create, I
find much of it is instinctual, borne of reading so many books in my
lifetime. And it’s an interesting process to analyze.
When I started writing Double Forte’ after I lost my father
to cancer, I begin the series with Gus LeGarde mourning his long time
soul mate, Elsbeth, who died four years before the series opens.
Although deceased, she is an important, dynamic character who appears
in flashbacks, memories, and prequels within the ten book series. After
all, her picture stays up on that bedroom mantle in the silver frame,
and Gus still stops to kiss his fingertips and press them to her silver
halide image whenever he passes.
In early drafts, Gus threw himself into caring for his huge family,
lavishing affection on his grandson and beloved dog, growing sumptuous
gardens, and trying to numb his pain by staying busy. At first, I was
content to let him suffer. I didn’t intend to let him off the hook. But
my wife doggedly convinced me Gus needed a love interest, so I
invented Camille Coté, the lady to whom he proposed by the end of book
1, is engaged to in book 2, and marries by book 3.
Without even thinking about it, (I’m embarrassed to say, LOL), I
subsequently introduced a strong unrequited love theme in the first
book, dispersed among all the villains and mysteries that kept the cast
running through woods and over the hills and fields of the Genesee
Valley. I’m very glad I listened to her, because Gus and Camille have
become the bedrock to the foundation of future books, and they also
provide a bit of light sexual tension and humor to glue the scenes
together. This is a relatively “wholesome” series, however, so there
isn’t too much steam to burn up the pages. (unlike The Seacrest, where I let myself “go.” Heh. )
It seems to have worked for this series, and within the rest of the
books, additional characters’ love stories have evolved, such as Gus’s
daughter, secretary, best friend, and plenty of featured characters
like Kip Sterling and Bella Mae Dubois, in Lady Blues: forget-me-not.
Since then, I’ve written two more mystery series with plenty of love
themes, (including lesbian love in Moore Mysteries and serious
unrequited love in Tall Pines Mysteries), one pure old-fashioned love
story (The Seacrest), and a thriller.
Of course, one expects love within the romance. It’s a given.
But in a thriller?
Yep. Almost all thrillers have plenty of high-paced action and
danger and tension…but they always have a romantic element as well,
where a couple is either in pre-love sexual tension or running side by
side to save their lives, and ultimately fall for each other. In this
new book, Devil’s Lake, which might also be categorized as a
psychological thriller, there is lots of potential for a love story to
evolve and possibly continue into a series of its own. Portia Lamont is
damaged goods after having been kidnapped and held for four years by a
monster, but her childhood friend and neighbor, Boone, is there for her
and is one solid, dependable guy. I think I’ll let them get together
in the end.
Think about it. How boring would stories be without some kind of relationship like that going on?
The same goes for sci-fi, fantasy, and other forms of fiction. Very
often, we find a satisfying sub-theme of love, lost love, or unrequited
love. The amount of time spent painting the relationship depends on
the genre, of course.
In romantic suspense, it’s at least half the story. The other half
is how the damsel in distress gets away from the bad guys, right?
In a sci-fiction story, it might take up a much smaller proportion
of the book, so that all the cool scientific elements get fair time to
play. But it’s frequently still there.
After all, love makes the world go ‘round, right?
Aaron Paul Lazar