I don’t live on the edge doing truly scary things, the kind of things equated with living on the edge. I do not skydive or snowboard. I don’t climb rock walls or drive race cars. Living on the edge for me is taking on a new writing challenge or speaking in public. What exhilarates me is pretty simple, as simple as experiencing a dramatic thunderstorm from my back porch, or working with a homeless cat to get it accustomed to me and therefore adoptable by a compassionate person.
But when it comes to my characters it’s a different story. I put them into dangerous situations, ones that could end their lives. Being kidnapped, shot at, and knocked unconscious is just another day in the lives of heroes and heroines in my romantic suspense novels. But the real risky stuff is in the moments when they face inner pain that has shaped their lives. I love reading romantic suspense because it is fast-paced and intense. It’s interesting to read about characters who are flawed, have regrets, and decide to make a choice to continue in that life or suffer the pain of facing their truths, all while dodging bullets and trying to prevent the bad guys from doing harm to anyone. In writing, I enjoy the physical danger I put characters through. I think average people rise to a challenge and triumph, even when it’s hard, and my characters reflect my belief. My characters are good at taking down gunmen and thugs, and I’m right there with me. But I’m equally stoked by the exploration of what has brought them to a moment of emotional crisis. These moments are a part of the complex life of human beings. They’re a way for characters and people in real life to expand and find that life has offered an unexpected passage through the wounds of the past. Facing hard truths offers a second chance at happiness and love.
Here’s an excerpt from Always and Forever Love in which heroine Lacey Aegar wrestles with emotional pain that is an obstacle to her developing relationship with hero Jackson Carter.
It scared her to death to consider that her other option—trusting in Jake and believing in her ability to endure whatever happened—felt like a sure formula for disaster. Warring parts scratched her from the inside like sandpaper under her skin, and she felt like trying to scramble away from it.
Why is this so hard? The question came from a very young Lacey, a Lacey whose world had completely imploded when her father had been murdered, leaving her to take care of Sterling and adult things that her mother could no longer manage. Being present with the sorrows and fears and confusions of that part of her, Lacey dropped her head in her hands, resting exhausted on the steering wheel. Sobs erupted out of her from a deep place, and tears streamed freely down her cheeks.
Rage roared silently behind her eyes as she let that part of her speak. She couldn’t stop the tragedies that visited her family, she couldn’t fix her mother or save herself and Sterling from years of loneliness and abandonment. Her father was murdered, and she’d had to carry all the pieces of her remaining family. Her mother left them, first emotionally and then physically when she died an early death. And when life seemed to have gifted her finally with stability and joy, Nicholas was stolen from her.
I’m so tired of carrying it all and trying to make everything be okay. The words echoed through her with weighty truth and she shuddered, allowing them their reality. The truth was it had been too much for young Lacey. She’d done the best she could, but the damage was done and now she knew more than ever how strong she really had been, how strong she was. She’d been fucking amazing. No one had meant to hurt her in this deep way, but she’d been hurt. Life had not singled her out for persecution, but she’d suffered. To manage the pain she’d distracted herself and followed old ways. It couldn’t have been any other way, and she knew that. Her time with Nicholas, after his return, had not just been a place to stay safe and comfortable, it had been an experience that exposed her distractions and wrong-thinking and opened her to the truth of so many things.
Lynn Crandall lives in the Midwest and writes in the company of her two cats. She has been a reader and a writer all her life. Her background is in journalism, but whether writing a magazine or newspaper story or creating a romance, she loves the power stories hold to transport, inspire, and uplift. In her romances, she focuses on vulnerable, embraceable characters who don’t back down. She hopes that readers discover, over and over, stories of ordinary people who face ordinary life challenges and are transformed by extraordinary love.