The Red Ledger is not just a new series, but a new frontier for me as an author. Making the jump to a different genre can be scary, exhilarating, but above all, deeply satisfying. I broke out of my shell and discovered a few unknown pieces of myself left hidden inside. So why did I decide to undertake such a journey? And why was it important, as an author, to strive for new challenges? Here are a few reasons why I decided to make the jump from Romance to Suspense. And I hope that my experience will help inspire your own.
A Guest Post by Meredith Wild
Why did I decide to switch to suspense?
Dark and gritty feeds my soul…
When it comes to writing and consuming fiction, I have a tendency to lean toward the dark and embrace the gritty. It feeds my soul. I love my romance dark and my heroes tortured, but the premise behind The Red Ledger inspired me to push the envelope just a little more. Regardless of what I’d written before, this particular story demanded a different style and pace—one that would challenge me to keep my characters perpetually on their toes.
What were the challenges writing in a different genre?
I needed to stretch my legs…
With thirteen romances under my belt, I was eager to challenge myself to write something with a slightly different rhythm. In a way, stepping into suspense gave me permission to create a world that was more intense than anything I’d written before—more dangerous, more disturbing, and rich with opportunities for my characters to be challenged and grow. In short, I was eager to play without limits, and I felt suspense was the genre that would allow me to do that.
What was different about writing suspense versus romance?
Facing life and death…
The opening scene of The Red Ledger 1 begins with a choice—a life or death situation that sets the tone for the rest of Tristan and Isabel’s journey. From there, friends are few and enemies are never far behind. Survival becomes a way of life, death a teachable moment. For me, the ever-present danger changes the way my characters interact, negotiate situations, and process emotion. No one can dwell on the trivial, because lives are at stake and every move counts. Too, never knowing what tomorrow will bring adds a lot of fuel to the flames between them.
What did I like best about writing suspense?
Villains are my favorite. Even in my contemporary romances, I love to write them. I think it’s the goody-goody straight-A student in me who’s most gratified channeling the baddest baddies. The Red Ledger is no different, but I’ve had the opportunity to contemplate external conflict in new ways with this one. Faith, greed, and betrayal take on roles among a global cast of characters. But the true villains of the story are systemic flaws that exist in the real world, and representing them and the characters they control has been a cathartic challenge in light of current events.
How has suspense changed me as an author?
I get to be a badass…in my head…
For me, writing is always aspirational. I pen stories that excite me, and I hope they’ll do the same for my readers. Being on the run with Tristan and Isabel has added more than a hint of adventure to my normal author routine that consists of an ambitious commute from the coffeemaker to my computer each morning and periodic battles with my carpal tunnel. Thanks to YouTube and an endless supply of news, I’m now a virtual expert in Krav Maga, a range of weaponry, and pockets of danger around the globe.
What could be better?