With: Heather Ashby
Congratulations to "Bn100", the winner in Heather's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!
I’m a love story with a happy ending.
You’re a romance novel.
My story takes place in present time.
You’re a contemporary romance novel.
My story is set on a Navy ship, with a crisis that involves Marines fighting bad guys.
You’re a contemporary romantic suspense novel.
There are ghosts aboard my ship who help the Marines battle the bad guys.
Huh? Ghosts? You’re a . . . . paranormal-maybe-romantic-suspense-contemporary-romance novel?
When I signed up for this blog, I initially signed with Just Romantic Suspense. Then I changed it to Just Paranormal Romance. Then I went with my gut and chose Just Contemporary Romance.
See, I’m just not sure where I belong? Here’s the blurb. Please read it and let me know what you think:
With 7.5 tons of World Trade Center steel melted into her bow, what if there are more souls aboard the USS New York than the sailors and Marines stationed there?
And what if those souls can help the troops defeat al-Qaeda this time?
When Royal Navy officer Gwyn Pritchard reports for exchange duty aboard the USS New York, she’s the only person who sees 9/11 spirits roaming the decks. The daughter of a famous Welsh psychic, Gwyn learns the spirits must complete a mission in order to pass to the other side.
The sole survivor of an IED blast in Afghanistan, Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Adam Connor has his own issues. But when he discovers that the British officer sees ghosts aboard their ship, he becomes her confidant—and lover.
Passions rise to fever pitch when the New York rushes to liberate British and American hostages in North Africa before al-Qaeda’s deadline. Can the spirits gather the right intelligence to help the Marines save the prisoners? Can Gwyn help the ghosts move on to the light? And can Adam and Gwyn find the love they’ve searched the world over for?
I decided that if I could empower the spirit characters with some control over the ship, the crisis, and their destiny, they could move from victim to victor. By the way, I’ve been working on this book for two years and I still get goose bumps.
But back to my problem, here’s how I see it: Although I do have bad guys and suspense in my books, I classify them as Contemporary Single Title – with suspenseful elements. I like to read romance novels with 75% love story and 25% suspense/external conflict—just enough to jeopardize my hero and heroine. I want to curl up and be lulled by a book, until things ramp up toward the end. I’m not looking for heart pounding action through the entire story—well at least not suspenseful heart pounding action; the other kind is fine. So I’m okay with not being called “Romantic Suspense.”
But, what about the ghosts? When I think of paranormal romance, I think of other worlds and protagonists who are shape shifters. My spirits only comprise about 20% of Never Forget. When I submitted it to the 2013 Golden Heart in Contemporary Single Title, I was thrilled to receive high grades, all except for the one who checked, “Wrong Category.” However, had I submitted it to Paranormal, I’m sure those judges would be looking for other worlds.
Do I write books so they will dovetail nicely into a category? Certainly not. I write them because there’s a story to be told. But what if I chose to submit Never Forget to contests as a published book? Since you are contemporary romance readers, I’d love to hear what you think contemporary judges would have to say about a cross-genre book such as this. AND I’d love to hear if you’ve written a book that fits into several genres. I have a copy of NEVER FORGET for one lucky commenter.
Thanks for listening and helping me figure out who I am. And where I belong.
Heather Ashby is a Navy veteran who taught school and raised a family while accompanying her Navy husband around the United States, Japan, and the Middle East. In gratitude for her Army son’s safe return from Afghanistan and Iraq, she now writes military romance novels, donating half her royalties to Fisher House Foundation which supports wounded warriors and their families. Her debut novel, Forgive & Forget was voted “Best of 2013” by Suspense Magazine. Her Golden Heart® Final, Forget Me Not is a finalist in the Military Writers Society of America’s annual contest. She recently signed with NY Times bestselling author, Teresa Medeiros at Amber House Books, who released Never Forget on September 9th. Heather lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida with her husband and two rescue cats.
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Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Sep. 10th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.