Guest Blog Post
The Nurtured Lure of Romantic Suspense Novels
by Karen Tjebben
The love of literature is built in children’s early years. As toddlers, children pour over the pages, admiring the pictures that capture their attention and letting their imaginations create the story. As children grow into adolescence, books are an easy way to build connections from one world or time to another. The magical pages transport children to different times and cultures. They get to swim with mermaids or travel through rough waters in rickety boats with explorers. There is no limit to the adventures children can enjoy through books.
And who doesn’t like a little romance? Without realizing it, our culture has provided literature with hints of romance to young children for centuries. Some of the timeless classics woo young girls with the delights of love and protection. As a child, what are some of your favorite books? Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, or The Princess Bride? The underlying current of friendship and love cannot be denied in these stories, no matter how innocent and subtle. And you cannot forget the amazing effect Disney has had on children. Disney is just now creating stronger, independent female characters who don’t wait to be rescued, but who slay their own villains and overcome their problems.
Parents have used literature sprinkled with fear to teach their children about the dangers in the world around us. The Brothers Grimm wrote classics so troubling that they have been altered recently to soften the horror for children and lessen the nightmares that surely result. Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood taught the dangers of trusting strangers and making bad decisions. And for adolescents, the riveting true events portrayed in Number the Stars and Stella by Starlight frighten and inform young adolescents of the true evils that lurk around them. There’s an excitement and rush of adrenaline that suspense or horror books provide to the thrill seekers.
It’s no surprise that the romance genre is a billion-dollar industry. People have been conditioned to love happy endings and the occasional fright. So, the blending of the romance with suspense delivers an incredible pull that keeps readers turning the pages long after lights out.
SYMBIOSIS is a YA supernatural romance novel with contemporary fantasy appeal.
Date Published: January 10, 2015
A switch flipped the night of the dance. Something awakens within Kate Archer that alters
her relationship with Nick and Alex. Haunting visions of the past plague her. In an effort to maintain harmony within her relationships, she tries to hide the knowledge the dreams reveal to her. Eventually, when the façade that she’s so carefully crafted begins to unravel, Kate realizes that the past has no boundaries, and it has stained her soul. It is then that the truth finally sets her free.
Sarah stood on the edge of the hillside and stared into the ocean as it rhythmically beat upon the rocks below her. A full moon glistened in the sky above and shimmered upon the dark water, casting shadows upon the earth. Strands of Sarah’s dark hair blew in the gentle breeze. She grabbed the fluttering strands and twirled them into a bun at the back of her head, and then she pulled a long silver pin out of her skirt pocket and slid it through the bun, securing her hair. A quiver of arrows rested upon her back, and her thin bow hung at her side.
A rustle of leaves and branches crunched in the distance. Out of the woods crept a willowy Indian woman. She approached Sarah, her face smooth and serious. The moonlight shined off her black hair as it cascaded freely over her violet sari. “I am glad you are here, alone.” she said in a heavy accent. “I was not certain you would be able to get away.”
“They are asleep,” Sarah said softly. “Netra, why are you here? Things must be dire if you have been summoned.”
“Not everything is written in stone. Faith is your greatest ally.” Netra’s large gold earrings slowly jingled as she moved. “I have come to help you, the ones you love, and the village.” She tilted her head over her shoulder and looked into the valley at the little community that slept during the night. “It is not too late.”
“There is still time,” Sarah said. She reached up and touched her neck, her fingers caressing an ornate charm that hung on an intricate chain. “We will talk to them again. We will take her by force if we must. We will help her understand who she is.”
“That will not help,” Netra said. “The Reapers want a sacrifice. They want blood. They will destroy this village, and then they will hunt you down. They will not be satisfied until they taste Asteri blood.”
“You do not know that,” Sarah said stubbornly. Her hand left the charm and trailed down her burgundy bodice.
“I do. I saw it.” Netra stepped closer to Sarah and wrapped her dark fingers around Sarah’s golden hand. “You know I see things. It is my gift.”
“What am I supposed to do?” Sarah shook her head, her eyebrows drawn together. “Please, tell me. How do I stop them?”
“They want a sacrifice. You must give it to them.” Netra stared into Sarah’s eyes. “Let them taste the blood they desire, and you can save hundreds of lives. The power is in your hands.” Netra pulled a tiny turquois and gold bag out of her petticoat pocket. “I know a spell that can save you all. Do you trust me?” The golden bangles on her dark hands rattled as she shook the tiny bag.
Sarah studied the bag. “What magic do you have?”
“It is not magic. It is life,” Netra whispered.
Sarah reached out and touched the bottom of the bag and squeezed it ever so gently. “You hold life in a bag?”
About the Author
Story time always captivated Karen. As a child, she fell in love with books that transported her to different worlds and introduced her to new creatures. As a teacher, she encouraged her students to explore different times and new worlds through literature. Now, when Karen isn’t living in reality with her husband and daughters, she can be found creating an alternate reality filled with creatures and worlds that she hopes will delight and raise goose bumps on her readers.