Every year, the review staff at RT Book Reviews reads and rates more than three thousand books. And when each year draws to a close, we pick the best of the bunch for our readers to enjoy — the Reviewers’ Choice Awards. For the next few weeks, leading up to Thanksgiving, we’re going to be celebrating the nominations for many of these awards, across genres. We hope you’ll join us in congratulating all these wonderful authors, and, hey, if you find a great new book to read, all the better!

Today, we'll be taking a look at the nominees for Best Romantic Suspense!

 

       
       


       


Kristen Ashley, Law Man

What's your favorite part about keeping readers on the edge of their seats?

When the story gives me the sense of what’s going to go down, I can’t type fast enough to get it on the computer and I do it with the hope that my readers will be in the zone where they can’t read fast enough to find out what’s going to happen.

What's the most suspenseful moment you've experienced in your own life?

When I was young, my father was a cop. And my sister and brother and I were with him in the car one night, out to get late night sundaes or something (Dad was a big fan of getting his kids “late night treats” which was to say it was probably 8:00 at night and which was also to say that we kids were pretty fond of late night treats as well!). We were on our way to wherever we were going when Dad got a call that anyone in the vicinity was needed at “the scene.” He hightailed us there, parked away from “the action” and took off to do whatever it was that needed to be done. I suppose I was tired, or that I trusted my dad implicitly, but I have to admit, I didn’t really feel the suspense since I curled up on the floor of the car and took a nap. I woke up at the department and spent the rest of the evening in dispatch yapping to the other officers on their radios. I missed my late night treat but sitting with the dispatch officers was a blast!

***

Carla Neggers, Declan's Cross 

What's your favorite part about keeping readers on the edge of their seats?

As a reader, I love a page-turner, so when readers say one of my books has kept them on the edge of their seats, it’s an amazing feeling.

What's the most suspenseful moment you've experienced in your own life?

The Boston Marathon bombings and the search for the bombers. My daughter and my almost-four-year-old grandson were on Boylston Street, less than a block from the second bomb. They were unhurt, but it was a harrowing experience. As our little guy said, “The loud fiery noise broke everything.” We all witnessed real pain and real heroes that week.

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Gennita Low, Tempting Trouble

What's your favorite part about keeping readers on the edge of their seats?

When I was a kid, there was a civil war in my country (Malaysia). My grandmother took me to the open market to buy food and violence erupted. There was chaos everywhere and I lost sight of my grandmother and all around me, everyone was screaming and throwing things around. Of course, I didn't really know what was happening, except that the adults were acting very strangely. I hid under the big stalls, trying to look for my grandmother's feet, but there were hundreds of feet running every each way. The strange thing was, I never really panicked. In fact, come to think of it, even today I rarely panic in these kinds of situations. There was blood everywhere — some from animals and some from people bleeding from being cut down by these men carrying machetes. I guess that's why, as an adult, I don't get too grossed out with blood either. Funny, but I don't like to watch gory movies because of all the blood and gore — all those body parts must remind me of that traumatic day so long ago. Oh, and the smell of fish. Have you guys ever been to an open market with all its smells? Chickens and fish and all kinds of...

DAMMIT, WHAT HAPPENED IN THE MARKET, GENNITA??????!

That...my dear readers, is my favorite part about keeping readers on the edge of their seats!

***

Kendra Elliot, Buried

What's your favorite part about keeping readers on the edge of their seats?

There's nothing I enjoy more than being utterly hooked by a novel's wonderful plot twists and discovering that I can't put down the book. I strive to give that same experience to my readers. When readers tell me that my books kept them up at night, I celebrate because I succeeded in giving my favorite gift.

What's the most suspenseful moment you've experienced in your own life?

The most heart-wrenching moment where I've sat by the phone, waiting for news, unable to focus on anything was when a doctor thought my twenty-year-old sister had stage four cancer after a series of tests. It vanished completely by their second round of tests.

***

Cindy Gerard, Killing Time 

What's your favorite part about keeping readers on the edge of their seats?

I guess it would be the actual construction of a suspenseful, action scene. Creating it, honing, it perfecting it, injecting the heart pounding drama from the character's point of view that must accompany it to make it work. If my heart pounds when I reread a finished scene, I know I've done a good job.

What's the most suspenseful moment you've experienced in your own life?

As I pondered this, I realized that I lead a pretty dull life. As for true suspense (in the action sense of the word) jumping off a 40 foot cliff into the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon was one of the most frightening things I've ever done. Even more frightening than zip lining in New Zealand and white water rafting. And no - I won't be jumping off any cliffs again soon :o)

***

Laura Kaye, Hard As It Gets 

What's your favorite part about keeping readers on the edge of their seats?

Without a doubt, my favorite part about keeping readers on the edge of their seats is that awesome feeling you have where your eyes want to read ahead to find out what's going to happen, but at the same time you want to savor every word so it doesn't end too fast! Whether it's unraveling the mysterious circumstances around the discharge of Nick Rixey's Special Forces team, the escalating danger Nick and Becca face, or the question of when they're finally going to kiss!, I want readers dying to turn the page!

What's the most suspenseful moment you've experienced in your own life?

In November of 2006, me, my husband and two very young daughters (then three and four months), were caught in the middle of a mall shooting. Literally, we were no more than twenty feet away from the shooter, and probably 6-8 shots were fired. It started as a fight between rival gangs, and I'd, um, kinda cussed them out maybe 30 seconds before for banging into my daughter's baby carriage and nearly knocking it over. A Secret Service agent took the shooter out and got shot himself, and he later said seeing our family so close to the gunfire was in the front of his mind when he decided to act. Some of the scariest couple of minutes of my life.

***

Pamela Clare, Striking Distance 

What's your favorite part about keeping readers on the edge of their seats?

Romantic suspense, because it contains those different elements of romance and thriller or suspense, really gets people’s senses going. That brings a high level of reader involvement. I love knowing that readers are going to become so involved with the story that they’ll find it almost impossible to put down. Reading becomes a visceral experience that really transports them away from their world and makes them feel more alive. It’s the joy of sharing excitement.

What's the most suspenseful moment you've experienced in your own life?

I may be the wrong person to ask that question!

I was an investigative journalist for 20 years and took on a lot of dangerous stuff. Over the course of my career, I had two stalkers, one of whom drew the involvement of the FBI; I had a gun held on me twice; and I got death threats. I suppose the most terrifying was the night two men broke into my apartment with switchblades. I was alone with my nine-month-old baby at the time and escaped being raped at knifepoint by a margin of seconds because I was able to get a call off to 911.

It was either that, or my mountain climbing accident. I slipped on ice and fell 40 feet while climbing with my father and had to be air lifted to the hospital by helicopter. But during the four or five hours between my fall and the chopper arriving to fly me out, I had to continue climbing to reach a place where they could get to me. I had broken pretty much one of everything — my fall was later ruled to be “beyond critical,” meaning the person who fell was not expected to survive — but I still had to make my way down. It was excruciatingly painful. I wondered if I would live. I wondered if help would reach us in time. All of that was running through my mind and I had no choice but to keep moving, even dragging a badly broken leg through the snow as I crawled inch by inch. As it turned out, a ranger on his day off found us. He was a paramedic, and he was the one who called for a rescue. Statistically speaking, half of all peole who fall 20 feet die. So I am very, very lucky.

There’s a reason I write romantic suspense. It was my agent’s idea, actually. She knew about these experiences and said, “You ought to write romantic suspense because you live it.” And I said, “Yeah, except for the ‘romantic’ part.”

The break-in ended up in Extreme Exposure (I-Team 1), while the climbing accident ended up in Naked Edge (I-Team 4). The death threats and stalkers are scattered throughout the series

With such a wide variety of experiences, it's no wonder that these authors are able to bring the thrills and chills to readers! Many congratulations to these authors and their books on their 2013 Best Romantic Suspense nominations, and check back tomorrow as we celebrate another set of award nominees. For the full list of 2013 award nominess, click here.

Tags: RT Daily Blog, Romance
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