It’s my first new release in three years! Kissing the Frogman, along with my previously released stories, is now available at Amazon and all of my books will soon be available at other online retailers as well.
For those of you who don’t know, I drafted Kissing the Frogman and Ballantine’s Day back in 2010. For years, while my life was in flux, they languished on a portable hard drive. This year, I pulled them out, dusted them off and thought it would be a good idea to finish them.
I learned a great deal about myself and my writing through the editing process.
I learned that I’m not the same person who wrote those drafts five years ago. As I read through my editor’s comments, I realized I had changed much more than I thought. My writing voice has changed. In Kissing the Frogman, the heroine is a wounded character. She suffers from PTSD due to a kidnapping that happened while she was a new recruit for the CIA. She never finished her training and didn’t have time to become the kickass heroine my editor expected because she was too busy getting counseling and physical therapy for the torture she’d been put through. When she was kidnapped again, she didn’t immediately start fighting back as my editor had expected of a Lisa Pietsch heroine – she relived all her previous trauma and was very much like a deer in the headlights.
My hero suffered from his own version of PTSD. Having lost an entire team in a special operation gone bad, Brian’s survivor guilt would claw at him when life got too cushy. If he wasn’t constantly riding an adrenaline rush, his mind would torture him whenever he laid down to sleep. PTSD is a very real problem for people who have seen combat as well as those who haven’t. Had I explored that issue and my characters’ particular responses to it, the story would have been very dark indeed. It wasn’t my intention to delve into it five years ago, but I wanted to this year. My characters, like myself, had acquired a bit more depth and I had to hold back from writing much more of it than originally intended.
My editor also expected a lot more romance and sexual tension. That wasn’t a pervasive theme here. If you’ve read any of my books, you know that I don’t write romance or sex. I prefer to read and watch action and suspense – and that’s what I want to write. For years, I’d been trying to grow into writing romance. I’d read books on writing it and I’d try to read romance novels but none of it lit a spark. I was swimming against the tide. What I have been reading these past five years is espionage and thrillers. John LeCarre fascinates me with the way he takes the reader into the minds of his characters. Ian Fleming thrills me with the way he keeps the action flowing. John Locke amuses me as his characters kill in such deliciously creative ways and yet have the snarky, witty banter I love.
So what have I learned in finally completing Kissing the Frogman?
- My voice has changed and I’m good with that.
- I don’t want to write romance.
- I enjoy writing the darker sides of my characters.
- I prefer writing body counts over orgasms.
- I still love writing action.
- My heart is in pulp fiction.
These are things you’ll begin to see more of in my work. I’ve been holding back and I think it really is time I stop doing that. I’ll enjoy writing and do much more of it if I allow myself the freedom to explore the themes that intrigue me.
Though Frozen Hell wasn’t well read and went relatively unnoticed, the opening chapter of that story will always be my favorite. Why? Because for a few moments, readers walked in the shoes of a serial killer and had no idea until it was too late.
Don’t expect to see a lot of serial killers or any of that police procedural stuff coming from me anytime soon, but you can expect to see action, snarky dialogue, suspense, and anti-heroes.
And if you’re afraid of the dark, bring a flashlight.