I write suspense because I’m inspired to tell heroic stories. This inspiration doesn’t come from my personal experience with the kind of plot situations I write. I’ve never chased down or vanquished a murderer. As far as I know I’ve never met anybody who has.
My inspiration comes from the day-to-day heroism I witness in real life. Over and over I see and hear about people stepping into danger. Observing these everyday heroics – and sometimes living through them myself – helps me write my more outlandish heroism more realistically.
I’ve observed and experienced how we step up to perilous challenges one toehold at a time. We don’t often leap into the abyss. Leaping is common to the old fashioned storytelling we find in movies starring John Wayne et.al. I try to avoid writing old fashioned stories.
The exception to the non-leaping pace of real life heroism happens when somebody is under immediate threat. Somebody we care about or could care about simply because they’re human beings as we are. Then we may leap into the abyss in order to yank them out of it.
I think of these instances as fireworks heroics complete with crashing sound effects and cascades of colored light. They’re real but rarely necessary or so we hope. Everyday heroics are less spectacular but equally or even more amazing – partly because they are much more frequent.
What amazes me is that day-to-day heroism doesn’t involve split second no-time-to-think-about-it action. Day-to-day heroism is thought about and thought through upfront. The possibility of disaster is well understood. But we act anyway.
We step up – one fully aware step at a time. I’m not suggesting there’s no fear in the mix. Quite the opposite. The heroism arises from the fact that fear is definitely in the mix and we step up all the same.
Something horrible happens or is likely to happen. We’re shocked and frightened. We weep or curse or throw something or go out and drink too much or all of these. Then we grit our teeth and wade in to do what must be done. We may complain and let loose the less attractive aspects of ourselves but we wade in anyway.
Grace – which doesn’t always need to look entirely graceful – under pressure. This is the heroism I find inspiring. This is the heroism that inspires me to write suspense. Calamity happens. My characters are taken aback for a bit. Inevitably they stand up and step up – one often uncertain and always precarious action at a time.
What will happen to them? We don’t know. Will they triumph? Not always. Will they overcome in the end? If so – how will they manage that against the formidable odds I’ve mounted against them? We must read – or write – the story to find out.
Meanwhile I watch the people around me and feel the experience of my own existence. I ask those same questions about actions and outcomes. I see stories unfold and the courage it takes to get life done – sometimes only by the skin of our teeth.
Between and among the folds and the courage and the skin of our teeth lie the greatest of all page turner yarns. I may amplify the details but basically I pay attention and allow myself to be inspired.
What results is a suspense novel – with some romance thrown in – because hardly anything is more dangerous than falling in love.
A WRONG WAY HOME – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 1 – the eBook – is FREE at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T9RVGGC. It is also FREE at Barnes & Noble and iTunes and KOBO and other online platforms. A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #2 – is $2.99 at those same platforms including http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZBOTH5O. These are my 12th and 13th novels and they are all about heroism. Alice Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com.