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THE THRILL OF IT ALL: how all kinds of writing use thrillers



Laurence St John writes thrillers with scifi/fantasy elements. I write women’s fiction, but over the course of my five books, I’ve seen most every plot benefits from elements of thrillers. Take my newest book, Never Retreat.  In it, a feisty single mom clashes with an ex-military, macho corporate star at a business retreat in the wild Colorado mountains, where only one can win a huge prize. But when a massive flood imperils their love and survival, they learn the meaning of true partnership.

Potentially thrilling, right? Even if you discount the thrill of new love. I certainly thought so as I was writing the novel. Living in Colorado, I get news every few years about flash floods, forest fires, blizzards. And all of these have the potential to be featured in my fiction. The only one I’ve actually lived through is blizzards, so I depend heavily on narratives, videos, and news to fill in my gaps.

As the writer, I have to ask myself why I’m obsessed with thrilling disasters. Two reasons occur to me. The first was writing itself. A disaster allows me, the writer, to compress action into a short time to keep the story moving. It encourages characters to act their best, or worst, to reveal their personalities. The manner in which they occur--random and uncontrolled--crises provide challenges readers can relate to as well as experiences characters learn from. And like humans, fictional characters learn waaaay more from struggles and failures than they do easy successes.

What does my obsession with disaster reveal about me, personally? That I’m a fraidy-cat. Anything and everything scares me. Example: in the middle of the night yesterday, I woke when the furnace turned on. A strange new noise accompanied the forced air. I immediately thought the equipment was going to explode.

When I take road trips, I worry not only about the car breaking down but also over the possible appearance of a murderer. (By the way, this scene appears in my third book along with the wildfire.) A rash on my kid’s arm is probably lyme disease. A recently discovered error on my taxes means the IRS will charge me with fraud.

So I have a whole load of fears. What do I do about them? I write about people who take steps to meet their challenges and control their anxiety. I’ve learned that doing something, almost anything, positive enables me to restrain real as well as imaginary fears. Witness the recent “March for Our Lives.” These teens are taking a positive action in the face of terrible possibilities and thereby freeing themselves from paralyzing fears.

As a writer, I’ll leave authors like Laurence to handle the really scary possibilities of evil nemesis, superheroes, and terrorists. But I’m grateful all kinds of books exist, with all kinds of thriller sequences.


THE BOOK: Years ago, Ramona (‘Raye”) Soto faced harsh reality when a roving con man knocked her up. Now at thirty-something she’s concentrating on her career in a major telecommunications firm and funding college for her teenaged son. Enter Desmond Emmett—a fast talker and smooth operator. New to the office, the ex-serviceman possesses every negative quality for a guy Raye should avoid. Thrown together at a corporate retreat in the wilderness, the reluctant duo struggles to complete management’s extreme mental and physical tests for a huge reward. But only one can win the prize, and Des needs the money to underwrite medical treatments for his adored younger sister. See-sawing between attraction and antagonism, the mismatched couple face their biggest challenge: learning the meaning of true partnership. When a massive flash flood sweeps down the rocky canyon and threatens their love and survival, they must put aside their difference to rescue their colleagues—and their future as a couple.


  

THE AUTHOR: Bonnie McCune has been writing since age ten, when she submitted a poem about rain rushing down the gutter to the Saturday Evening Post (it was immediately rejected). This interest facilitated her career in nonprofits doing public and community relations and marketing. She’s worked for libraries, directed a small arts organization, and managed Denver's beautification program. Simultaneously, she’s been a free-lance writer with publications in local, regional, and specialty publications for news and features. Her true passion is fiction, and her pieces have won several awards. Never Retreat is her third novel and her fifth book of fiction. 


Visit her at www.BonnieMcCune.com


About her new release:




NEVER RETREAT FACT SHEET

CONTACT: Bonnie McCune, 303-377-1455, Bonnie@BonnieMcCune.com

BLURB: A feisty single mom clashes with an ex-military, macho corporate star at a business retreat in the wild Colorado mountains, where only one can win a huge prize. But when a massive flood imperils their love and survival, they learn the meaning of true partnership.

Years ago, Ramona (‘Raye”) Soto faced harsh reality when a roving con man knocked her up. Now at thirty-something she’s concentrating on her career in a major telecommunications firm and funding college for her teenaged son. Enter Desmond Emmett—a fast talker and smooth operator. New to the office, the ex-serviceman possesses every negative quality for a guy Raye should avoid. Thrown together at a corporate retreat in the wilderness, the reluctant duo struggles to complete management’s extreme mental and physical tests for a huge reward. But only one can win the prize, and Des needs the money to underwrite medical treatments for his adored younger sister.

See-sawing between attraction and antagonism, the mismatched couple, Raye and Des, face their biggest challenge: learning the meaning of true partnership. When a massive flash flood sweeps down the rocky canyon and threatens their love and survival, they must put aside their difference to rescue their colleagues—and their future as a couple.

WRITING: This is the new fiction for you: unafraid to debate contemporary concerns. . . pulls no punches. . .provides a fresh look at age-old issues. This is your kind of writing if you think. . .People are smarter than any phone. . .Feminism is just starting to come alive. . .You’ll always take a human over the most advanced app. . . .You can laugh at yourself. . . Women use four-letter words, including l-o-v-e.

AUTHOR BIO: Bonnie McCune has been writing since age ten, when she submitted a poem about rain rushing down the gutter to the Saturday Evening Post (it was immediately rejected). This interest facilitated her career in nonprofits doing public and community relations and marketing. She’s worked for libraries, directed a small arts organization, and managed Denver's beautification program.

Simultaneously, she’s been a freelance writer with publications in local, regional, and specialty publications for news and features. Her civic involvement includes grass-roots organizations, political campaigns, writers' and arts' groups, and children's literacy. For years, she entered recipe contests and was a finalist once to the Pillsbury Bake Off. A special love is live theater. Had she been nine inches taller and thirty pounds lighter, she might have been an actress.

Her true passion is fiction, and her pieces have won several awards. Never Retreat is her third novel and her fifth book of fiction. For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged optimism?), she believes one person can make a difference in this world.


Visit her at www.BonnieMcCune.com


PUBLICATION INFO: PUBLISHING MARCH 15, 2018, 978-1-77223-350-6 Kindle ebook, 978-1-77223-351-3 Trade paperback, 240 pages. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079SY632Z http://getBook.at/NeverRetreat
 or. Imajin Books, www.imajinbooks.com
Ebook and paperback.



ADVANCE PRAISE: “A breathtaking page-turner that will leave you exhausted but wanting more!” —Corinne Joy Brown, award-winning author of Hidden Star; “Likable, relatable characters…a real treat!” —Cindi Myers, author of The View from Here; “Intriguing…engaging…A great vacation read for sure!” —Meg Benjamin, author of the Brewing Love Trilogy; “A compelling story about a hard-working single mom who faces adversity head-on, learns from her mistakes, and perseveres.” —Kim McMahill, author of Marked in Mexico; “Few novels operate on such different levels, moving their characters to challenge not just each other, but their own not just each other, but their own perceptions. . .McCune provides just the right blend of comic relief, interpersonal encounters, and outside environment changes to make her story a powerful blend.” --Midwest Book Review






Comments

  1. Thanks, Laurence, for the nice feature. I appreciate the chance to reach your readers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We tend to think that to be a thriller a story must involve some sort of monster, whether it be one of fairy tale proportions or one of human failings. However, as Ms. McCune notes even the sound of the furnace can provoke fear in us. However, it is this fear that moves a story along. How many times, as we are watching a television show or movie, think “if he just did not do that” then his life would be better. But then, what would be the plot of the story? What would move the storyline? The same is true of everyday life. The “thrill” need not be something to fear; it can be something which brings joy. The “thrill” is the impetus to get past it or to get to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your observation that "thrill" can certainly be something positive as well as a method to develop the plot.

      Delete
  3. I'm not so much fearful as risk averse, particularly physical risk averse. This is partly a result of living--I wasn't quite so risk averse when I was young, although never did I rush into risky situations. Reading books like Never Retreat creates for me more suspense than fear, so I suppose it's a kind of vicarious excitement I feel as I rip through the story. But I also appreciate competent characters meeting trouble head-on, and I particularly enjoyed the character development in Never Retreat. Now more than ever, we live in a world where anything can happen to anybody. I might be risk averse, but that doesn't mean risk won't find me. I always hope that if something happens to me, I'll rise to the occasion, as the characters in Never Retreat do. I hope even more that my experience of risk continues to be in reading books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I usually confine my risk to those I encounter in novels. Some young people seem to be virtually risk-free!

      Delete

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