Relationships themselves are quite a mystery and worth exploring in-depth. Read how Meghan achieves that discovery in her work with her answers that follow, written in a wonderfully engaging style.
We welcome author Meghan Holloway to our author interviews on the Tom Stone Detective Stories blog.
Links at the end of the interview give you the chance to learn more about her and stay in touch.
How do you define romantic suspense and what draws you to write in the genre?
I have always thought of romantic suspense as the perfect literary cocktail. The romance genre is full of heart and an exploration of what I think is our most basic human need—connection.
The development of relationships can be such a fantastic launchpad for exploring the human psyche in a way that is uplifting and beautiful, but I’ve always been fascinated by chiaroscuro, an art term that refers to the strong contrast between light and shade.
I think that if storytelling is going to be authentic, it has to examine the darker side of humanity with as even a hand as it does the lighter side. The suspense element allows me to interweave these more haunting, gritty threads into the story and bring the tale full circle. Romantic suspense gives me the avenue to write a tale that ultimately ends in hope and the promise of happiness and companionship while still having a driving plot that winds through the labyrinth of the grimmer side of humanity.
For me, romantic suspense is the ideal medium for telling a story that is a balance of light and dark.
What compelled you to write fiction?
Compelled is the appropriate word here. Writing, telling stories, has always been a compulsion for me. My love of stories began, of course, with reading and with sitting on my grandfather’s knee begging for tales from his boyhood. As soon as my hands learned to fashion letters into words, I’ve written. I don’t know if there was ever a conscious choice to write fiction. Storytelling is simply part of what it has meant to be me. If I had to pinpoint a source, I would say it’s the Celtic blood in me, and I inherited the tendency from my grandfather, who spins tales with as much talent and care as a master weaver.
What contributed to your ability to create characters “that feel more like old friends” in A Thin, Dark Line?
I think Cormac and Eloise appealed to readers because both are wounded but neither is willing to be a victim. There’s a fierceness about each of them, and a solitary aspect as well. But mainly I think it was the fact that I tried to create authentic characters, with weaknesses and fallacies and nuanced personalities. Neither of my main characters are good, and they’re all the more real and approachable for it.
What techniques did you use to craft your novels — outline? Simply forging ahead? Feedback from friends?
I know many writers fall into two classes, the “pantsers” and the “plotters.” I fall somewhere in between. I have a general outline of the overarching narrative and a list of key plot points I know I need to hit to move the story in the right direction. But I find if I outline too much, I feel stymied. I set guidelines and trail markers, but my creativity needs a bit of free rein at the points in between.
Were you pleasantly surprised with how your stories turned out?
I was. It is such a surreal feeling to reach ‘The End.’ That feeling of creation, of bringing something into being that has not existed in this exact shape before, is awing and indescribable. I recently finished my third novel, and I must say that the feeling does not diminish. It’s not a level of astonishment over how the story unfolds and ends so much as it is that sense of fashioning something from nothing, from a simple germ of an idea that blossomed into a story.
Why do I think that you’re Scottish? Lol! Tell me. I read that you live in the Appalachian foothills?
I am, and I do. My family came to the states when I was young, and though I’ve made a bit of a circuit around a portion of the US—Mississippi, Maine, New York City, Colorado, Boston—I’ve come back to the hill country where we settled to help take care of my grandparents in their twilight years.
Do you prefer writing in the country versus the city?
I have never cared much for excessive noise or not being able to see the natural light of the night sky. I live—and write—on the quiet edge of a city, close enough to be able to venture in when desired but far enough out to enjoy the stars over the lake on which I live.
What are your current projects if any?
I recently finished a historical thriller set in the wake of Paris’s liberation in WWII, and I have been working these last months on querying agents and submitting it to publishing houses. I am currently writing a trilogy of romantic thrillers set in the contemporary American West.
Thank you for inviting me to interview. It was an absolute pleasure.
Social media links: