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Guest blogger: Susanne Bellamy

13 September 2020

Matching the moment

Entertainment choices are made to suit how we’re feeling or what we’re doing, or to lose ourselves in the magic created by an artist, musician or writer. In the same way I choose music to match my activity, I choose a book to suit my mood, which can mean I sometimes have two or three different books ‘on the go’. I’ve just finished Love Letters from Montmartre by Nicolas Barreau, a beautiful story of a widower whose wife made him promise to write her thirty-three letters after she died and deliver them to her grave, promising him in turn that his life will have changed for the better by the time he’s written the last letter. I wept many times over the course of this book. Thank goodness I wasn’t reading it in public! This was a standalone book, satisfying and complete. The point the characters had reached was one where I felt content to leave them.

But then there are series in which secondary characters, who may appear in several earlier stories, deserve to tell their story and get their happy-ever-after.

Graham Peyton, otherwise known as ‘Old Man Muggeridge’, rates little more than a mention, a cautionary figure in A Promise of Home, the first book in the Home to Lark Creek series. His role in Lark Creek and the lives of other characters grows slowly through books 2 and 3, until finally his story is told in Home from the Hill. Lives interweave and link, and more of the town and its people are revealed with each book. Graham and Janice are the oldest pair of main characters I’ve written. Their story is what is known as a seasoned romance in a growing sub-genre in which the hero and heroine are over forty. Often with ‘seasoned’ characters, there is an element of second chance at love at play. Life has thrown plenty of problems and loss in their paths, which in turn shapes and strengthens their character. I’m a bit of a sucker for a wounded hero, and a wounded ex-soldier in particular.

Perhaps that explains my fascination with the Bureau, and the men and women who work undercover and behind the scenes to protect us. Currently, I’m writing Singapore Trap, a romantic suspense set in Singapore, and the sequel to High Stakes (set in Nepal). Readers have been asking for this sequel; this time, the villain from book one has resurfaced in Singapore. John Chan is like the ancient Hydra; chop off one head and it grows another. Paul Rimmer teams up with top local agent, Lin Tan, to end the people smuggling and drug cartel. Danger, simmering attraction and an exotic location. It’s available to preorder now.

And if you don’t like waiting for an author to complete a series, my Hearts of the Outback is now available in a boxset of the complete series.

A compelling series or a great standalone story—I love reading both and losing myself in a ‘world’. I also love returning to a world and to characters I’ve ‘met’ before. They feel like old friends, familiar and yet with much more to reveal.

I’d love to know your thoughts: series or standalone? Favourite recent series? How do you choose your next book?

You can find Susanne here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest


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