01 February, 2017

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - Of all the Genres, why Suspense? by Merry Jones

Under "Special Feature" every month I feature a Special Author. 
During this month I put up 5 posts about the Author/Book, including Interview / Review / Excerpt / Guest Post / Author Bio / Fun Facts or whatever else we can come up with. Also on the first day of the month we will  launch the Giveaway contest along with the first post and will announce the winner on the last day of the month.
So be sure to check out my blog every 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th of every month for something new :)

*** Special Feature - January 2017 ***

About the Author:

Merry Jones is the author of some twenty critically acclaimed books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her work has been translated into seven languages. Her previous Elle Harrison novels have been The Trouble with Charlie and Elective Procedures. Jones lives with her husband in Philadelphia.

Contact the Author: 
Website * Facebook * Twitter 

Of all the Genres, why Suspense?

About twenty years ago, my husband was in the hospital with an often fatal, aggressive nasty cancer. (He lived and recovered, don’t worry, but we didn’t know, then, that he would.) Anyway, after his surgery I sat with him in the hospital day after day, useless, helpless. Listening to machines beep, watching IV’s drip. Doing nothing. Finally, he said, “Don’t just sit here. Go home and write a book.”
I must have looked stunned. Surely, he couldn’t have been serious. How could he imagine that I would leave him there alone? How could he manage? Wouldn’t he be lonely, watching the IVs by himself?

No, I told him. I won’t go. I don’t mind, I don’t want to leave you. 

Finally, he almost begged me to go. He said he was tired and wanted to sleep but couldn’t with me sitting bedside, staring at him. 

So I went home to write a book. I sat at my computer and considered what to write about. At that point, I’d written two non-fiction books about women’s issues and five humor books about relationships. But in my state of mind, I couldn’t consider doing either.

All I could think about was how terrified I was. Terror filled my whole world. The future seemed dark and uncertain. Unexpected unavoidable uncontrollable events had invaded my family, and I didn’t know how or even if we would survive. All I knew was that I was afraid and powerless.  

Then came an “AHA” moment. I started to write mysteries. 

The first one, THE NANNY MURDERS, was about a serial killer who, like cancer, wantonly attacked his victims. His motive, like cancer’s, was unclear. His attacks could not be anticipated. His violence could not be controlled. He was simply a destructive deadly force: cancer personified. 
But, there was an important shift. Unlike real cancer, the villain in my book was subject to my whim. I, not he, held the power. I could write him any way I wanted, subject him to humiliation and punishment, even to death. In short, I could defeat him. And, of course, I did.

Within that first mystery, I took control not only of fear, but of outcome. Unlike me, who had to sit passively and wait, my protagonist—who was not a detective but a “normal” woman about my age-- could hunt the killer down, take him on, and knock him senseless. Writing empowered me, allowing me to play out a terrifying life or death drama and win if only on the printed page.

Having tasted victory once, I never went back to writing humor. I continued with the mystery/suspense/thriller genre for the next dozen books (CHILD’S PLAY being the newest and, in some ways, the most chilling.) During the years that I’ve written these novels, our children have grown up. My husband has survived five more cancers. My hair has turned white. Life has moved forward. And fear has been a constant companion.

Not crippling fear. Not agonizing fear. Just general, low key, background music fear. The kind of fear that insists that life is, to some degree, a matter of waiting for the next unpredictable life-threatening event. I’ve become watchful and alert, aware of mortality. Aware that my condition is no different than anyone else’s. After all, to some degree, even if we suppress it, we all live in a state of permanent wondering. Are we safe? For how long? When and where will the next danger arise? How will we deal with it? Will we survive? 

My books provide a safe way to face these questions. They allow us to confront and defeat fear and even, for a time, mortality. Vicariously, along with the protagonists, the novels allow us to struggle through conflicts and calamities, to find ways to overcome terrible antagonists, to overcome tremendous odds. In doing so, the protagonists reassure us. They demonstrate to readers--and to the writer--that, yes, we can and will defeat the bad guy, no matter what form or disguise he adopts. We can and will survive. Well. At least for the duration of the novel.

After that, we’re on our own. I’m left to write, and readers to read another one.

Book Details:
Genre: Thriller, Suspsense
Published By: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: January 3rd 2017
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 1608091910 (ISBN13: 9781608091911)
Series: Elle Harrison Thriller #3 (Each can be read as a Stand Alone Novel)

Since her husband’s murder two years earlier, life hasn’t been easy for Elle Harrison. Now, at the start of a new school year, the second grade teacher is determined to move on. She’s selling her house and delving into new experiences―like learning trapeze.
Just before the first day of school, Elle learns that a former student, Ty Evans, has been released from juvenile detention where he served time for killing his abusive father. Within days of his release, Elle’s school principal, who’d tormented Ty as a child, is brutally murdered. So is a teacher at the school. And Ty’s former girlfriend. All the victims have links to Ty.
Ty’s younger brother, Seth, is in Elle’s class. When Seth shows up at school beaten and bruised, Elle reports the abuse, and authorities remove Seth and his older sister, Katie, from their home. Is Ty the abuser?
Ty seeks Elle out, confiding that she’s the only adult he’s ever trusted. She tries to be open-minded, even wonders if he’s been wrongly condemned. But when she’s assaulted in the night, she suspects that Ty is her attacker. Is he a serial killer? Is she his next intended victim?
Before Elle discovers the truth, she’s caught in a deadly trap that challenges her deepest convictions about guilt and innocence, childhood and family. Pushed to her limits, she’s forced to face her fears and apply new skills in a deadly fight to survive.

Purchase Links: 
Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Goodreads

1 eBook Copy of Child's Play by Merry Jones

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  1. Since my genre of choice is mystery/suspense, and having read this book, I really enjoyed this post.

  2. Thanks for inviting me to post on your wonderful site!