According to both statistical and anecdotal sources the most popular genres are thrillers, suspense, and mystery. Romance comes in a close second. So what could be better than a romantic thriller, my favorite kind of read.
That's where my novel, ANNIKA comes in. I wrote it, I loved it, published it, and then just to be on the safe side, I added A Romantic Thriller to the title. But was I right in labeling it that way?
There's no problem in defining a mystery. The old style mysteries were who-done-its. The new style mysteries are who-done-its and why-they-done its (no doubt due to a lessening in the belief of pure evil). They almost always involve at least one murder. You follow the breadcrumbs and race to see if you can find the killer before the last page. If you can, you win. If you can't, the writer wins.
Now we come to suspense and thrillers. Many claim they're one and the same. I think it's a matter of degree. A thriller is non-stop action, usually in an attempt by the main character to save his/her life. The bad guy is usually known and so is his motive. Both the hero and the villain are smart and bigger than life. How much bigger depends on what type of thriller it is. For instance in a romantic thriller we want to be able to fall in love with the hero and fear the villain. No one over ten really falls in love with Superman or fears The Joker.
I think of suspense as a more cerebral genre. The classic definition of suspense is Alfred Hitchcock's.
Two people are sitting in a cafe talking when someone comes in and hides a bomb under a nearby table. The clock is ticking. We the readers know the bomb explodes in just ten minutes. Why don't they stop talking and get the hell out of the cafe? If only we could warn them. Can't they hear it ticking? Will they get out or be blown to bits?
The most intriguing books involve both thrills and suspense, which is why the argument continues: thriller or suspense?
Alison Blake is both a novelist and a playwright. At the moment she is in a traveling mode and will be blogging from various stops on her journey.