Saturday, June 6, 2009

Love, Sex and Murder...

By: Marie Force
I've always been oddly, strangely, and some would say bizarrely, fascinated with crime, cops, the law, lawyers, and TV shows about all of the above. LA Law and NYPD Blue were two of my favorites. I've never been much of a fan of the Law & Order shows because I need me some romance with my blood and gore! I also cruise the Internet and big-city newspaper websites for news about chilling crimes. I read the police reports, the indictments, and all the court motions. Sometimes I follow a crime story for years—from perpetration to prosecution. It'll probably be no surprise to hear that I've written three romantic suspense novels—the most challenging and satisfying projects of my entire life (other than the two kids I'm in the midst of raising). The idea for one of my RS novels came from cruising the newspaper crime sections.

In light of the true confessions above, is it any wonder that Love at First Flight (on sale July 1) includes . . . wait for it . . . a murder trial? My hero, Michael Maguire, is a prosecutor for the city of Baltimore, MD. When we meet him in the Baltimore airport, he's weeks away from jury selection in the first-degree murder trial of brothers tied to the shotgun slayings of three city teenagers the year before. Michael himself is under the gun with a fair but exacting boss watching his every move, a feisty teenage girl in protective custody, and defendants who'll do whatever it takes to disrupt the trial. (Michael doesn't know that last part yet, but he finds out soon enough.)

I don't consciously recall making a decision to include a murder trial in this book or to let it descend into chaos that threatens the lives of Michael and his new love, Juliana. Like most of the decisions I make for my books, this one happened organically. I decided that Michael was a lawyer, then a prosecutor, then a prosecutor on the verge of a big, career-making trial that's gotten huge local and national media coverage. The chaos unfolds later, and hopefully you won't see it coming. Events tied to the trial push Michael and Juliana's relationship to new depths sooner than might have happened otherwise. They are forced to confront the very real possibility that they could lose each other before they have the chance to discover where their fledging love affair might take them.

Another interesting aspect of this plot for me as the writer (and I hope for you as the reader) was the teenage witness in protective custody. Rachelle is Michael's "slam dunk," as she witnessed the shootings and was able to identify the defendants. She's 15, cooped up in a hotel room, surrounded by cops, and ornery as hell when we first meet Rachelle. Michael is clearly befuddled by the crush Rachelle has on him, and admits to Juliana that the girl has him wrapped firmly around her little finger. "She's adorable," Juliana says after first meeting the girl. "I'm way more involved with her than I should be," Michael confesses. To which Juliana replies, "It would be hard not to become involved with her." Juliana's immediate empathy for a girl who has been through more in her young life than most people face in a lifetime gives Michael a deeper glimpse into the heart of a woman he fell for the instant he first saw her.

I enjoyed writing Michael, a true Beta to Ryan Sanderson's Alpha. Michael is buttoned down, focused, professional, dedicated, and proud of what he's accomplished in life. After growing up in a cramped house with blue-collar parents and three sisters, he revels in the space and beauty of his Baltimore rowhouse. He's paired initially with a high-maintenance woman, and I wondered why he stayed with her for so long when she's clearly not right for him. (I like to think he made those decisions before I met him and led him to his true love ;-) I don't want to give too much away, so it's probably enough to say that among his other qualities, Michael is loyal and trustworthy. When he makes a promise, he intends to keep it until it becomes impossible for him to follow through. When he has to walk away, he doesn't go lightly, but with a heavy heart over what could have been. Juliana appreciates these qualities in her new friend at a time when she's had reason to question the loyalty and trustworthiness of her longtime love.

I hope you enjoy meeting Michael, Juliana, and Rachelle as much as I enjoyed writing them! If you like some legal intrigue mixed in with your romance, this book is for you!

Come by the July 1 launch parties here and on my blog for multiple chances to win copies of Love at First Flight and Line of Scrimmage! See you then!


  1. I prefer to keep murders, and my knowlege about them, at arms'--no, make that ten-foot-pole length. But it sounds like you were born to write RS, Marie! Looking forward to LAFF.

  2. Woohoo, Marie, another great winner! Super job! And yep, super cover again!!!

  3. This sounds like a great book, Marie! I, too, am a true crime aficianado, and love cold case shows. I've just recently been hooked on reruns of CSI New York. Though their special effects make me squeamish, the chemistry of the crew is great. It's all about the characters!

    I look forward to reading LAFF!

  4. Don't worry, MM, I like to keep the real thing at 10 foot length, but I can't help reading all about them. I do love writing RS but it doesn't come as easily to me as the lighter contemporaries. It makes me work for it in a BIG way.

    Thanks Terry. I really love the name and cover the SB folks gave it!

    Donna, I'm afraid to get started on the cold case or CSI shows. I know I'd get totally sucked in and I simply can't take on any more regular shows. I'm overcommitted as it is! Between the job, the kids, the house, the voracious reading habit, and the TV I already watch, it's a wonder I can write a word! LOL

  5. While I do enjoy RS, I don't share that fascination with crime. I stopped watching the news years ago because all the murder and mayhem was too depressing, and though I have been occasionally sucked in by whatever version of CSI that my DH happens to be watching, in general, I prefer comedy to drama. Unfortunately, I've had to add a bit of the criminal element to my own books to allow for more action/adventure. Don't like it, though; I'd much rather write a sexy comedy!

  6. Don't worry, Cheryl, you won't be turned off by the crime aspect of L@FF. Deb made me tone it down enough that it doesn't take over the love story! :-)

  7. Marie,
    You're Beautiful. Thanks for the peek in your new RS. Wow!!! Now I'm really looking forward to it.
    My birthday can't get here soon enough.

  8. LOL Donna! Now don't get TOO excited. L@FF isn't technically a RS, it just has RS elements. It's definitely more of a contemporary than an RS. If I'm lucky enough to see any of my three RS manuscripts published, you'll get to see a much grittier side to my writing psyche. They are not for the faint of heart!

  9. There are certain weekend afternoons where I'll turn on a cable channel that has one of the synidcated Law & Orders or CSIs on in a 3 or 4 hour block--and I find myself watching ALL of them.

    I enjoyed the amount of crime/legal drama vs romance in LaFF--a great mix and they both complimented the storyline :)

  10. You know I can't wait for this one! July - WhooHoo! I like the alpha males, but a good Beta is fine too. I have no doubt I will love Michael as much as Ryan.

    As far as crime stuff, I love it too. BIG CSI fan. But I could never write it. Too complicated for me, all that lawyering stuff! Kudos to you, Marie, for tackling that.

  11. Oh be still my heart.
    I like lots of Romance mixed in .
    So I'm sure I'll like it. I like NCSI, Castle, Bones. Mystery, Crime and Murder Solving with Sexual Tension and a little or more romance mixed in.

  12. Marie,
    Sounds like you have a winner to me! I'm a big CSI fan and a lot of people must be as I think both shows stay in the top 10. I'd say you're on target with the market.


  13. Hi Danielle, Sharon, Donna and Amelia,
    More true crime fans! Those shows can be soooo addicting!! I suppose I can either write or take on more shows. I loved the pilot of Castle but haven't seen any other episodes yet. Maybe if they are in re-runs this summer.

  14. Hello My Evil Twin!

    Well, what can I say as the lone (so far) Casababe RS writer?!?!

    Bring on the blood and gore! (only on the page, NEVER in real life)

    Bring on the shoot-'em-up! The car crashes! The action!

    Yeah, yeah, there isn't all that much in my books... They are much more heavily weighted to the ROMANTIC than the suspense. But I do have to throw in some action, blood, and gore now and then. (evil grin) Gotta get the ole heart pumpin and the adrenalin flowing.

    CONGRATS on your impending release, Marie. Can't wait to read L@FF!


  15. Right you are, oh evil one of suspense! You know your blood and gore, too!!

  16. Sounds great, Marie. I've looked forward to reading LAFF since the first time you told me about it. It's on my must buy list.

  17. Thanks, Robin! THTH is getting close to the top of the TBR list. Looking forward to it!

  18. I like the sound of this one Marie. It's a book I'd buy, too.

    I think writing a beta lead would be interesting. There are so many beta men. Ordinary men who become heroes by tackling extraordinary tasks because someone has to do it. Kinda plays to whats inside most of us--heroes in the right circumstances. :-)

  19. So good Marie!

    I love murders. Have talked to cops and FBI agents about serial killers and forensics and they all thought it was funny I had such an avid interest in it.

    Even dark humor from the morgue.


  20. Hey gals,
    Thanks for the great turnout today. Saturdays are usually slowwww around the blog (and I usually end up blogging on Saturdays it seems...)

    Glad to know there are other crime-a-holics out there. I do want to say God bless the victims and families of violent crime. Some of the stuff that people go through is just heartbreaking.

    Sia, writing a Beta hero was so much fun. I love that Michael is quiet but steady whereas Ryan was more "in your face." Both can be sexy, but personally I'm more drawn to the Beta style than the Alpha. Michael does something at the end of L@FF that makes me weepy every time I read it. And he never, ever doubts that Juliana will end up with him. Not for one second--and believe me, she gives him plenty of reason for doubt!

    Linda, I knew you were a crime gal, too. We've talked about our ride-alongs!

  21. Cool. Sounds intriguing. Characters and mystery and stuff to work out. Great.