Please tell us about your book.
Shadows from the Grave is the third book in the Leroy's Sins Series. It's Romantic Suspense, but not sweet, sappy romance. Here's the description:
When it comes to murder, the past is never really dead...
For ten years, Chase Hudson has carried the weight of his college girlfriend’s unsolved murder on his shoulders. When a ghost from the past comes calling, Chase’s friends and family become the targets of a serial killer who’ll stop at nothing to make Chase suffer. Can Chase convince the authorities of his innocence in time to catch the real killer?
Annie Jameson-Tucker has been burned more than once. Afraid to get her heart broken again, she is careful to keep her lovers at a distance… until Chase Hudson manages to slip inside her walls. Will she let him stay, or will her insecurities destroy their chance at happiness?
You have several "Leroy's Sins" books. How does this one fit in with that series?
The series is set around the fictional Ohio River town of Leroy, Indiana, a small town that has more than its share of problems. SFTG is the shorter of the three books by far, coming in at around 95,000 words, versus 135,000-145,000 for the first two books. It ties up a storyline that was briefly touched upon in the second book, Under the Moon's Shadow. It's also the second story of a Hudson sibling, the Hudsons being one of the families featured prominently in the series. Speaking more generally, SFTG continues the Leroy timeline, and we get to catch up with characters from previous books and see how they're doing.
Romantic suspense can be difficult to pull off due to naturally conflicting tones associated with the respective elements. Did you find it difficult to strike a balance in this book?
Yes and no. When you're writing RS, you're really telling two stories that have to intertwine naturally. Aspects of the romance influence aspects of the suspense and vice versa, and they have to play off each other in a logical, natural way in order for the story to flow well. Falling in love is hard for a lot of people - you have two individuals who are separate beings that have to come together into a single unit. There are conflicts involved in that, no matter how sincere or how deeply in love the people involved are. To add in a mystery that has to be solved, you're really throwing some big hurdles at the main characters. I think that is where having well-developed characters pays off big-time. If the people whose stories you're telling are solid, tying all the elements together is a lot easier than it would be without the extensive character development.
The idea of serial killers often frightens people even more than actual supernatural monsters. Why do you think that is?
Very simple. Serial killers are real. They're your neighbors, your friends, your co-workers. They're that handsome guy who winked at you in the produce aisle, or that nice old lady who takes care of elderly people in her home. They are the true unknown, they are unpredictable to the general public, and they are the monster in the closet.
What do you think will appeal to readers about your leads?
I think its how easy it is to relate to them. There are facets to Chase and Annie, even to the bad guy here, that people can look at and say 'Oh, yeah, I have felt that before' or 'I know someone just like that'. Also, hopefully readers will appreciate their flaws, that they are fallible. They make mistakes. They aren't perfect Barbie and Ken cut-outs. They're going to fight, to argue, but they're also going to make up, to forgive, and hopefully grow and learn.
How do you come up with the ideas for your novels?
That is the one question I have the hardest time answering. The best I can do is say "it's just there". It's the way my brain works - instead of being able to compute difficult mathematical equations or have a vast knowledge of how chemistry works, I can create worlds. Gosh, that sounds a little arrogant, but in effect, it's what I do. I make up people and places, and write about their lives, how they interact. How they respond. I'm also full of useless trivia, which comes in very handy when writing.
What inspired you to start writing?
I've always wanted to be a writer, always, but it's a dream I had buried for a long, long time because it wasn't realistic, I couldn't help support the family by doing it. In 2008, I lost my job as a medical transcriptionist, and at loose ends with very few options on the table, I figured "why not?". I closed my eyes, took the plunge, and now three years later, I have three finished novels under my belt, with one about fifty percent through the first draft. It's something I've dreamed of since I was a little girl, and I can't begin to tell you how it feels to have accomplished it.
Thanks for stopping by T.L.
T. L. Haddix is the author of the Leroy's Sins series, stand-alone romantic suspense novels which are available in both print and e-book form at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. She lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband and three cat-children, and is hard at work on the next installment of the Leroy's Sins series. You can contact her at www.tlhaddix.com, through www.facebook.com/tlhaddix or at www.twitter.com/tlhaddix.
T.L. is currently on blog tour. Please check out her other stops at the Positively Published! Virtual Book Tours Goodreads group.