Message From The Author
What at first may seem like a contradiction in termsinspirational romantic suspenseis actually a serendipitous blending of genres, and one thats fast becoming a hot new market for fiction.
Dee Hendersons latest page-turning novel, THE NEGOTIATOR (a Top Pick in RT #191), proves this point, seamlessly blending nail-biting suspense, warm-hearted romance,
and an intriguing exploration of questions of faith.
FBI Special Agent Dave Richman from Danger in the Shadows is back by popular demand, and about to meet Kate O'Malley, a hostage negotiator in Chicago. Kate is a legend on the force, someone willing to walk into any situation. Shes also a formerly abused child whos now part of a large and affectionate chosen family. Kates seen too much
violencein her job and in her pastto believe in a God that lets such evil happen. As an FBI agent, Dave has also seen some of the worst that humans can do to each other, but his faith is what sustains him.
As Dee puts it, Dave is a Christian, Kate isnt, and its going to be a challengethough not the only one. How is he supposed to keep her safe when her job is to walk into danger? She continues, Whats interesting with Kate and Dave is two people looking at the same circumstances and seeing them differently, in part because of their faith. When asked if she could ever imagine having a hero or heroine who continues to reject the Christian faith, Dee pauses. Well, my publisher would have heartburnbut for a significant third character, it could be very interesting.
Inspirational romantic suspense is a new subgenre, but one thats growing as rapidly as the market for mainstream suspense. Dee credits Terri Blackstockespecially her New Pointe 911 seriesas playing a pioneering role. The inspirational and suspense elements work well together: the frightening events that propel romantic suspense give a realistic background to
a re-examination or acceptance of faith. As Julie Schwarzburg, Dees editor at Multnomah, puts it, Romantic suspense is the perfect vehicle for showing Gods strength and sufficiency
in the midst of our fear and uncertainty. In these stories, faith is a solid foundation no matter how chaotic or terrifying circumstances become.
Most characters in books wouldnt ask the question, Whats the direction of my life? Dee points out, unless something nasty happened. This doesnt have to involve suspense; Dee mentions inspirational author Francine Rivers use of crises like divorce, not crime, to bring her characters to a similar point. But Dee writes thrilling page-turners because thats what she herself likes to readJohn Grisham, Sue Grafton, and Susan Carroll are among her favorites.
Dee has been writing full-time since 1996, and before that, was a computer engineer for a decade. She says she knows at the start of a new book what her first sentence is, and how it ends, but in between, I dont really know till I write it. Sometimes Ive got the good guys here, and the bad guys there, and I dont know how to get them out of this!
In her first book, Danger in the Shadows, Daves sister Sara is being stalked by the man who once kidnapped her as a child. While living a life constricted by FBI protection and constant fear, she meets former football star Adam Black, whose love wont let her go, even though shes afraid shell endanger his life as well. The inspiration for this book, Dee says, was that God tells us, Dont be afraid, but what if the circumstances of ones life include fear? I wanted to explore how Christian characters reconcile those two.
Hendersons books are praised not only for their riveting suspense and believable characters, but also for the subtlety and realism of their inspirational context. Glowing reviewsboth published and word-of-mouthconfirm this. As one of the five-star customer reviews on amazon.com puts it, I admit
to sometimes being hesitant in reading an inspirational romance because I am afraid I am going to be preached to. Not so with this book. Believing in God was a part of the heros and the heroines everyday lives but it definitely didnt overpower the story It was simply deftly woven in and in an unobtrusive way. Hendersons characters, like most of us, wrestle with problems involving work, family, and loveand also with questions of faith.
Dee, a pastors daughter, does a lot of new church work, helping to start a new Christian Church every year, usually in Illinois communities that used to be fields, and are now new subdivisions without a local church. She believes that this is partly responsible for her more realistic and low-key approach to representing faith. Because of my work with new churches, Im comfortable with that view, with asking and answering questions like, Is faith relevant to everyday life? In my books,
I always consider, how does it [faith] apply to the story? If it doesnt, then its not on the page.
Dee currently has two series in the works, the OMalley familys stories, and a military romantic suspense series. Her next book, TRUE DEVOTION (July 00), will introduce Navy SEAL Lieutenant Joe Bear Baker to a high-risk adventureromance. But dont worry, well see more of the extended OMalley family soon. Marcus OMalley, Kates protective, handsome older brother, a U.S. Marshal, is up next in THE GUARDIAN (Spring 01). Keep those suspenseful page-turners coming, Dee, and we know youll keep the faith!
Read excerpts from THE NEGOTIATOR and Danger in
the Shadows on Dees website, www.deehenderson.com. Dee loves to chat with readers, so e-mail her at dee@
deehenderson.com or write to her at P.O. Box 9498, Springfield, IL 62791.
Excerpt from THE NEGOTIATOR
Dave saw the lady as she reached the front doors of the bank and couldnt believe what he was seeing. She came in, no bulletproof vest, apparently no gun, not even a radio. She just walked in.
God, have mercy. He had never prayed so intently for someone in his life, not counting his sister. Absolutely nothing was preventing that gunman from shooting her.
He pulled back from the end of the desk, knowing that if she saw him her surprise would give away his presence. He moved rapidly toward the end ofthe counter, his hand tight around his gun, knowing he was likely going to have to intervene.
Stay there! The gunmans voice had just jumped an octave.
She had certainly gotten the gunmans attention.
You didnt answer the phone. Jim Walker would like to know what it is you want.
She had a calm, unhurried Southern voice. Not what Dave was expecting. His initial assessment had certainly not fit his image of a hostage negotiator, but that calmness didnt sound forced. His attention sharpened. The negotiators he had worked with in the past had been focused, intense, purposeful men. This lady looked like everything about her was fluid. Tall. Slender. A nice tan. Long auburn hair. Casual clothes. Too exotically beautiful to ever make it in undercover work, she wasnt someone you would forget meeting. She even stood relaxed. That convinced him. She had
to be a negotiator; either that or a fool. Since his life was in her hands, he preferred to be optimistic.
Ive got exactly what I want. You can turn around and go back the way you came.
Of course. But would you mind if I just sat right here for a few minutes first? If I come right back out, my boss will get ticked off.
It was how she said it. She actually made the guy laugh. Sit down but shut up.
Dave breathed a silent sigh of relief and eased his finger off the trigger.
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