I know I'm in my own little world, but it's OK.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Sandy Curtis lives on Queensland’s Central Coast, not far from the beach where she loves to walk and mull over the passionate romances and intricate plots in her novels. After rearing three children, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and a kookaburra (teaching it to fly was murder), creating hunky heroes and intrepid heroines, fast-paced action and edge-of-your-seat suspense is a breeze for her.

Her novels have been nominees in the Ned Kelly Crime Awards and two were finalists in the mainstream section of the RWAustralia Romantic Book of the Year Award.

Her latest book is FATAL FLAW, and GRIEVOUS HARM will be released in November 2012, both published by Clan Destine Press.

Sandy has presented many writing workshops and also organises WriteFest, the Bundaberg writers festival.

Published works: Six books, with the seventh to be released in November 2012.

Publisher/s: My first five books were print published with Pan Macmillan Australia but my current publisher, Clan Destine Press, has now published them as e-books and also print and e-published my current book, FATAL FLAW. All six books have also been published by Bastei Luebbe in Germany. 

What's the most fascinating aspect about writing in this genre for you?
Creating fast-paced complex plots that hook readers to the last page, then weaving in captivating romances that make my readers fall in love with my hero and heroine.

And then there’s all that fascinating research, like finding out how many litres of water a condom can hold before you can’t tie a knot in it, and what sort of gun would be most suitable for a villain to use to shoot someone in the head but still have them live.

If you try the condom test, just make sure you don’t bounce it on the kitchen bench when it’s full.

What challenges did you face publishing in this genre?
My first book, DANCE WITH THE DEVIL, was published in 2001, and I was not aware that my publisher didn’t distribute to specialty bookstores such as Rendezvous, where it would have reached readers who were already fans of romantic suspense.

Bookstores such as Dymocks didn’t really know where to place it, so it invariably ended up shelved under crime, which didn’t sit well with crime readers because of the strong romance.

As mine were the first Australian-set, Australian-published romantic suspense by an Australian author, my publisher had to work out how to overcome this classification problem, and eventually phoned me and said, “Sandy, we’ve decided to call what you write ‘suspense’.”

Unfortunately, this didn’t help to make readers aware that my books had a great love story as well.

Which authors have inspired you in your own writing?
Linda Howard. I loved her Last of the Good Guys series when she wrote for Harlequin and her later single titles.

I grew up reading adventure novels by writers such as Alistair McLean, but I always felt cheated that his heroines were minor characters and even if they did have a love interest with the hero, they were usually killed off towards the end. I wanted a Happily Ever After, or at least the promise of one. Discovering romantic suspense made me realise I could write the kind of stories I wanted to read.

The beach Sandy likes to walk on...

When you get a chance to relax, what do you like to do?
Relax? (Insane giggling heard here)

Yes, sometimes this happens, and like most writers I like to read. I also love swimming, walking on the beach, and fishing.

Could you share your latest release, or a selected book, and tell us a little bit about it?
Mark Talbert, the hero in my latest book, FATAL FLAW, featured in the previous book, DANGEROUS DECEPTION. He was such an intriguing character to write that I had to give him a book of his own, especially as DANGEROUS DECEPTION ended with him being shot. I felt that he deserved something after nearly dying for his country.

When he returns home to Brisbane to assess his life, his father is murdered, he re-connects with his childhood friend Julie Evans, and his boss orders him to use her to get close to her father who is suspected of consorting with terrorists.

For an experienced operative with an agency that answers only to the Prime Minister, it should be just another assignment, but Mark realises that his friendship with Julie is turning into something deeper, and losing the love that is growing between them scares him more than the attempts on his life.

A cheating ex-husband has left Julie wary of love and determined to protect her son from further hurt, and her love for Mark is tempered by the worry that he is no longer the person she knew growing up.

Their path to happiness is not a smooth one, especially as a killer is methodically eliminating everyone close to Julie’s father. Julie is one gutsy lady, willing to fight for those she loves, but discovering the identity of the killer shocks her to the core.

I loved writing Julie’s and Mark’s story – this is one couple who really deserve their HEA - and I hope readers enjoy it.

A city in danger.
Thousands will die.
What would you sacrifice to save them?
The woman he loves holds the key to his father’s murder.
Operative Mark Talbert’s father is murdered, the agency he works for has him hunting terrorists, and the only connection is the father of Julie Evans, the woman he loves.
Her father has placed Julie Evans in the hands of a terrorist determined to unleash horror on an unprepared city. She needs someone she can depend on, but can she trust the man she loves?
People are dying. People who seem to have nothing in common until Mark discovers his father’s involvement in a decades-old crime. A killer is taking a calculated revenge.
A revenge that threatens Mark, Julie, and Julie’s son … and the terrorists are making their final move.

Sandy has a print copy of FATAL FLAW to giveaway - just answer her question - "Why do you like reading romantic suspense?" AND leave your email address so you can be contacted in the event you name is drawn.

Giveaway closes October 28th, 2012 (Australian time).

Sandy's other books:

You can follow Sandy on Twitter (@SandyCurtis1), or Facebook or check out her website


  1. Kylie, thank you so much for having me as your guest. It's wonderful to be a member of the Romance Writers of Australia and be part of such a warm and friendly bunch of writers. You are all so generous and caring. And so talented :-)

  2. Why do you like reading romantic suspense?

    For me, a romantic suspense book is an escape of everday life and adds an excitement I wouldn't otherwise experience. (Not doing a post run anyway)
    The question of what would you sacrifice for love is an interesting one. I supose you would only find out if you were in that position. Love the artwork on the covers as well, very enticing.
    Excellent blog.

    1. That's always been a good question, Jenny, and I've often wondered what I would sacrifice for love. Luckily I haven't had to find out.
      Glad you like the covers.
      Thanks for your comments.

  3. Great blog Kylie, and fascinating facts Sandy. I love romantic suspense because I like twists and turns and being surprised in a novel. Suspense delivers that, and I can't do without romance. Great combination!

    1. I think I've always been hooked on suspense, Louise. And when I plot I sometimes think it's like playing chess with the reader - will they work out the clue I've placed there, will they spot the red herring?
      My characters might have to fight to win their true love, but they always find it's worth it.

  4. Thank you kylie and Sandy...

    I love romantic suspense because can bring all excitement and make you think what will happen next.. And romance make my day all the time I read.

    Thanks for the giveaway

    1. That's lovely that romance makes your day, Nana. We all want some love in our life and as a writer it makes me happy to give my readers a love story they can relate to.
      Thank you so much for your comment.

  5. I'm still laughing about 'don't bounce it on the kitchen bench'. I can see that playing out so vividly, Sandy :)'

    For me Romantic Suspense engages the most parts of my brain at once, particularly if it's really convoluted and chilling. I love being so immersed I stop trying to second guess the author and just go along for the ride.

    1. My husband did the bouncing, Nikki. Guess how much water he had to mop up? lol
      I hope my books can keep you immersed. Woops, more water :-)

  6. I love reading romantic suspense because although you are 'usually' guaranteed a HEA, there are a lot of moments along the way when you wonder whether the characters will achieve their goal. I love action, adventure and reading about characters who have to stretch themselves, overcome their worst nightmares or fears & put aside personal agendas for the sake or love of someone else.

    1. That's a fantastic comment. Having characters stretch themselves above what people normally have to cope with makes for an interesting and engrossing read. I love to challenge my characters because I want to see what they will do under pressure. And there's no bigger pressure than having to make a choice concerning someone you love.

  7. Romantic suspense is gripping without being brutal, the mystery and spine tingles are there, with the element of romance to keep you reading.

    Thanks for the excellent interview with Sandy, Kylie and the chance to win in the giveaway.


    1. I love the spine tingles, Brenda. And I love to fall in love with my hero. My editor for "Black Ice" said Daniel Brand could put his boots under her bed any time :-)
      "Black Ice" is also my daughter-in-law's favourite. Interesting how a certain book can work its way into your heart.

  8. Hi Kylie & Sandy, I love a good romantic suspense for the twisting, turning ride a good story takes me on. The will they/won't they survive/realise love, defeat the baddies, or 'figure it out in time'. It's having an intriguing plot and captivating characters that make me want to go along for 'their' ride. In other words, it's immersion entertainment.

    1. Couldn't agree more, Natasha. I prefer books where I have to keep guessing and the surprises keep coming. My biggest joy as a writer is when I get feedback from readers that they have enjoyed my books because then I feel that all the hard work has been worthwhile. I always strive to write a book that readers feel has given them entertainment value for their money.

  9. Romantic suspense stories are exciting and fast-paced. I like being involved with the story and often I can feel the tension along with the characters. It's a fast, and sometimes scary ride, but fun!

  10. That's great when you feel the tension along with the characters, Na. It makes the reading journey more exciting, doesn't it. Great comment.

  11. thanks for posting.