Leslie Hachtel @LeslieHachtel
People ask me two questions all the time. The first is—why do you write romance instead of some other genre? Romance offers respite, like no other type of book. There is always the happily ever after (or, at least, happy for now). The world is suffering and the news every day is terrible. We are all trying to find our way through the ‘new normal’ as we combat a vicious enemy. And romance offers us a break, a means of easing the pain, if only for a little while. That is why I love romance, both writing and reading it.
The second question that always comes up: where do you get your ideas? And the answer is always the same. Everywhere. For example, I was outside working alone very early one morning and there was no one else around. I imagined that most of the rest of the world was asleep. What if I could focus on one person and get into their dreams? Could I persuade them somehow? And the first book in the Dance series, “The Dream Dancer” was born.
Another time, I went with a group of people to an escape room. That is one of those places where they ‘lock’ you in and give you a series of puzzles to solve in order to get out. Our scenario was “you have been shanghaied onto a ship and If you don’t escape, you will be taken away forever”. Not only was it so much fun, the idea for the “Morocco” series, where the heroines are kidnapped and taken to serve the sultan in the 1700’s germinated.
My romantic suspense novels have their own history. “Payback” is based on a real series of killings that happened in Michigan years ago. I changed the villain to a woman and the victimology to older women. But the scenes and the situations were taken from real life.
“Once Upon a Tablecloth”? What if a “Gordon Ramsey” character fell in love with a restauranteur in grave danger. And not from the food.
My latest “Memories Never Die” took root with an episode of “Criminal Minds”. In the show, a very disturbed young woman kidnaps other women and turns them into her “dolls”. So, it got me to thinking - how difficult it would be for a woman to target her victims and drug and abduct them, keeping them until she decided to end their misery.
I started with drug research. I had to find a substance that would control victims into helplessness, without killing them.
I wanted my heroine to be a little different, so I decided she had her own demons. And who better to come to her aid, both professionally and romantically, than an FBI agent who was on medical leave after a gunshot? Luckily, he just happened to be recuperating nearby.
Here is an excerpt:
Memories Never Die
For Liza, it was that moment of conscious disconnect, between the feeling and the working. It never got easier when what had just recently been a living human being was spread lifelessly at her feet. Liza focused to shift her brain into clinical mode. After all, this was not her first corpse and it would not be her last. She had to woman up. Luckily, the time it took to shift was less and less, even if the initial response was always the same.
I love my job. I love my job. She did love her job. She just wished she could be less reactive when it came to the staring corpses. No matter that she had been on the streets for going on four years until this recent promotion to detective. She never got okay with the vicious, violent, premature end to a person's life. Which was why she chose this field. She wanted to solve these crimes and get the perps put away before they could cause more damage.
"You okay?" Grey asked. "You're the color of my name." Sarcasm, not sympathy.
The derision cut, but she would not give him the satisfaction of knowing it. "I'm fine." No need to elaborate on her weakness.
My hope is that you stay safe and well and when the world is too much with you, sit down and read a book. Go to new places, new times in history, meet new people, all within the comfort of your own home. And most of all, I wish you love.