by Lisa Harris
I was always taught when it came to writing, that you needed to write what you know. My very first manuscript was a story about a couple dealing with a miscarriage and infertility. It was something I knew and understood all to well. That story was never published, but in the end, I was surprised at how it turned out to be an unexpected source of healing for me.
But as I continued writing, I found myself drawn to suspense plots with high stakes, real world situations, and characters who experienced things I often knew nothing about. The research was intense, but that didn’t stop me. I spent hours studying topics like human trafficking, refugee camps, and life in Rhodesia in the 1920. I talked to friends and family who had experience with airplanes, medical issues, and weapons.
Because I love suspense. I love writing about the fight for justice and the assurance that the good guys will win. I love watching men and women take risks to make a difference in the lives of people. I’ve had people ask me if I’ve ever experienced some of the things I write about in my books and my answer is always ‘Are you kidding me?’ While a lot of people love an adrenalin rush from extreme sports, amusement parks, and even high-stress jobs, I don’t. At all. But I do love sitting at my computer and putting my characters through extremely difficult, life and death situations. (Sometimes I actually feel guilty about it.)
And yet recently, everything changed on how I feel about writing suspense.
Last month, three armed men walked into our house. To make a long story short, they tied us up—gave me two black eyes and a mild concussion in the process—and robbed us, including my wedding ring off my finger. While the black eyes are gone, I’m still dealing with the effects of the trauma we faced. Like the first time I sat down to write again. I completely froze. Did I really want to jump back into the middle of writing a hostage situation?
This is why, over the past few weeks, I’ve had to go back and remind myself why I write what I write. I’ve shared my reasons before in various interviews and blogs in the past. About God calling ordinary people and using them to make a difference in the world. About our response to that call. And about how He, then, is the one who will give us the strength to do extraordinary things for Him.
I want my readers to never forget that the God who created the universe loves us and wants to be our strength no matter what is happening in the world around us. Jesus came to heal the empty and broken hearted, and those searching for freedom and hope. Psalm 91 says that He is our refuge and fortress. He will cover us with his feathers and under His wings where we will find refuge.
So write what you know?
But I’ll tell you this. While what I went through isn’t the kind of research I would recommend to anyone. I will be using everything I experienced in my writing, and never look at the trauma I put my poor characters through the same. And in the end, though, I know that writing about this experience has already brought me healing.
So for now, I’m going to keep writing stories of justice and hope.
And in celebration of my next romantic suspense (Missing) leave a comment below by Saturday, April 16th, at midnight PST, and tell me why you love reading suspense! I’ll pick one random winner. You can choose book one in my Nikki Boyd series if you haven’t read it, Vendetta, or book two that will release in July. E-book version only, and only to countries who have it available on Amazon.
Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.