Romantic Novelists' Association

P.a. Depaul – Surviving The Storm

21 October 2021

We are excited to welcome P. A. DePaul to the blog today to talk to us about her new book, Surviving the Storm, with some advice on how to approach writing romantic thrillers. I’ll hand you over without further delay!

A Key Element of Romantic Thriller/Suspense 

I absolutely love when a book has me sitting on the edge of my seat with my heart pounding and pages turning so fast, I risk a papercut or dead battery. As a reader, I get to enjoy the ride, as an author it’s my job to transport someone else into that adrenaline space. Oh, excuse me. I should introduce myself before I continue. My name is P.A. DePaul and I write Romantic Thriller/Suspense. I’ve had two books published Penguin (those rights have been reverted back to me) and now I have two books coming out with Harlequin. Writing Romantic Thriller/Suspense is a lot of fun, but like any genre it has rules. Since no one wants me to go on forever, I’ll talk about one of my favorite components with examples from my upcoming book, Surviving the Storm, to explain.

Golden Rule: Increase the suspense through the use of High Action. This is the fun stuff. The heart-pounding, pulse-racing, page-turning situations the hero and heroine have to accomplish/escape/evade/stop/hurdle before something really bad happens. But, as the story progresses the stakes must rise or the story will fall flat.

In Surviving the Storm, I open the book with a serious thunderstorm ambushing our hero and heroine escorting a youth group on a multi-day mountain camping trip. While this is harrowing, it’s not enough to cause much adrenaline. They can just pack up and leave. End of story in the first chapter. Booo. I need to raise the stakes. So, add in two teens vanishing where one is also the hero’s niece… Now, we’ve got the reader’s attention and their heartbeats thumping. Since this sets the tone for the rest of the story I can’t stop there.

In each High Action sequence, (think washed out bridges, blocked paths, and mudslides, just to name a few) I consistently increase the suspense by having the risk-level of the outcome affect the group if the hero/heroine fail. Putting more and more at stake in each action sequence will keep readers hooked until the very end.

I’ll give one more example of raising the stakes. Our hero and heroine send the rest of the group back to safety and they band together to search for the teens. With the storm intensely raging, they’re risking their lives remaining in the forest. The heroine feels that intimately when a bolt of lightning strikes the tree next her… (Well, I can’t give away the suspense.)

Want to find out what happens? You can pick up a copy of Surviving the Storm, Mountain Rescue Collection, A Love Inspired Romance, on January 25, 2022. Here’s the back cover copy:

Pouring rain, a rising river… And two missing teens…

Chaperoning a youth group hike in the Poconos isn’t exactly Nathan Porter’s idea of fun, especially along with group leader Reena Wells, aka Ms. Sunshine. Nathan only agrees because his niece wants to go. But when Ashleigh and another teen vanish just as a storm hits, Reena steps up to search. Together, they’ll need a little sunshine and a lot of trust to get out alive

About P.A. DePaul

P.A. DePaul resides outside Philadelphia in the U.S. In her free time you can find her reading, working on a puzzle, playing with her dog, winning game nights against her husband (sometimes), or whipping up something in the kitchen.

Keep up with P.A DePaul




Where to purchase Surviving the Storm


P.A was talking to Ruby Moone.

Ruby Moone lives in the wilds of Lancashire with her husband and writes historical and contemporary romance. At school, her teachers said that she lived with her head in the clouds and if she didn’t stop daydreaming she would never get anywhere. She never did stop daydreaming, and after years of happily living in the clouds, decided to write the stories down.