March 01, 2012

Fever Blog Tour: Guest Post & Giveaway w/ Joan Swan! (18+)






Wait for it…

Waaaaaait foooooor iiiiit…

I decided to talk a little about suspense today because the reviews of FEVER, my debut novel, have highlighted my use of suspense in creating a read that many say they couldn’t put down.

“I was engaged from the first page and [FEVER] never let me go until it ended.” ~Kendra

“FEVER takes hold of you in the first couple of sentences and will not let you go.” Didi, Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

“Joan Swan's debut romantic-suspense novel, FEVER, is a thrill ride you won't want to miss!” ~Grace


Every story—no matter the length, the genre, the style, the voice, the author, the editor, the language—has to have suspense. Without suspense, there is nothing urging the reader to turn the page. No drama for the reader to watch unfold. Nothing to take hold of the reader and not let go. In other words… boring.
The whole point to suspense is development of drama within the story. And to create suspenseful drama a storyteller must have:


  • Stakes—what will the character win or lose? Is it big enough to make the situation compelling?
  • Character—do I connect enough with this person to care whether they win or lose?
  • Conflict—one main character must want one thing while another wants something different – usually the opposite.


The best authors use these elements in a delicate balance.

Suspense is all about the anticipation. The unknown. In fiction, suspense is built when the author proposes a story or character question, then makes the reader wait for the answer.
How long? It depends…usually on the question itself. Some questions are big and meaningful to the overall story concept. Some are small, maybe a hint about the character’s background that will foreshadow conflict. But regardless of the size (or relative importance) in the most suspenseful fiction, every time an answer is revealed to the reader, another question continues to linger or is introduced. Like that childhood game leapfrog, some question the reader needs answered to understand the story, to satisfy his curiosity, to make him want to read forward, is always in place. This is what creates that need-to-know atmosphere in the best suspense. And when it’s done well, the story skips along, with answers coming at intervals and new questions popping up, keeping the reader flying through the pages.

Timing is everything—when an author drops a new question into the story, when he answers another. It’s a skill that can be developed on a gut level. A sixth sense of sorts. Some authors have developed this sense after years of writing in the genre. Some authors come by it naturally. Many readers have an even better sense of developing tension than authors because reading is a fabulous way of gaining that sensitivity.

Generally speaking, if you, as the author, are bored...the reader will be bored. If your attention is scattered between three different story lines...the reader will also be distracted. And if you allow the suspense to linger too long, the reader will get exasperated and put the book down, but if you push it too fast, the reader has nothing to read on or wait for. Here, the gut feeling is valuable.

Some authors find it easier to write through method. In that case, this graphic might help.


Add in character questions and you get even more complexity and more levels of suspense.


There are different types of suspense a writer can employ to keep the pace moving in creative, thought-provoking ways: the dark, slowly-twining-around-your-throat suspense, the emotional, life-altering-squeezing-your-stomach suspense, and the well-known and loved physical-threat-to life-and-limb suspense. And because I write romantic suspense, I'm also twining in the romantic conflict along the way.

It's fun and challenging and when it all comes together, the result is literally breathtaking.

What was the last book you couldn’t put down? Why? Do you recognize this pattern in that story?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Book Blurb: Release Date: 2/28

Dr. Alyssa Foster will admit to a bad boy fetish…

But when she finds herself face to face with a convicted murderer with determination for freedom and an eye on her as his get out of jail free card, Alyssa knows she’s in deep trouble…. Not just because Teague Creek is a prisoner desperate for freedom, but because his every touch makes her desperate for more.

A man with a life sentence has nothing to lose…

Teague Creek has one shot at freedom, but his plan to escape with a hostage develops a fatal flaw: Alyssa. On the run from both the law and deadly undercover operatives who know of his strange abilities, he needs to avoid trouble, but every heated kiss tells him the fire between them could be just as devastating as the flames that changed him forever.

Author Bio:
Joan Swan is a triple RWA® Golden Heart finalist and writes sexy romantic suspense with a paranormal twist. Her debut novel with Kensington Brava, FEVER, releases February 28, 2012. Her second novel, BLAZE, follows in October, 2012.

In her day job, she works as a sonographer for one of the top ten medical facilities in the nation and lives on the California central coast in beautiful wine country with her husband and two daughters.


Links:
WebsiteFacebookTwitterBlogGoodReads

Buy links:
Amazon † Barnes & Noble  Booksamillion



Giveaway: 
·         A print copy of FEVER, US/Canada shipping.

To enter for a copy of FEVER just leave a comment below telling us...
What was the last book you couldn’t put down? Why? Do you recognize this pattern in that story?
You must be 18 or older. Giveaway Ends March 6th.

Also...

·         All comments are eligible for tour grand prize of either a COLOR NOOK or KINDLE FIRE. Enter: http://joanswan.com/giveaways/blog-tour-ereader/


Good luck!





63 comments:

  1. Oh, The Night Huntress books by Jeaniene Frost are the last books I couldn't put down. I'm literally still reading them one after another. I'm on book 4 and talk about suspense. I never really thought about a pattern, but now that it's pointed out I do kind of see it in each of the ones I've read so far. And I have to say, I can't wait to read FEVER!
    britneywyatt[at]gmail.com

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    1. Cool Bwyatt! I have two of Jeaniene's books but haven't gotten to them. Will move them to the top of the TBR pile!

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  2. I can not wait to get this book! It looks so good!!!

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  3. The last book I couldn't put down was Brook Street: Thief by Ava March. I loved it because the love story was great, the HEA was different from anything else I've read and it was a completely new genre for me.

    The only similarity I can see between that book and Fever is that both books have a leading man that's a criminal.

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  4. Congrats on the release of FEVER. Sounds like a great book. Can't wait to read it! I was late in reading THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins by when I did finally start to read I simply couldn't put it down. I thought the pacing and plotting were excellent. The characters very real and engaging. Questions rose and were answered and so on. So I suppose you could say it did follow a kind of pattern. Either way, I enjoyed the story despite the premise.

    Good luck on your tour!

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    1. Hi Karyn,
      Agreed -- Hunger Games was quite intertwined with questions and answers, pushing you forward to a unique and unexpected ending! Nice example.

      Delete
  5. Congratulations on FEVER :)!

    Unfortunately no matter how much I love a book I have to put it down because I am a mom and wife. But Thea Harrison's SERPENT'S KISS would not have been put down if I could have helped it. I like to second guess books as I'm reading so I didn't want to put it down just to see if I was right :).

    Thank you.

    vsloboda(at)gmail(dot)com

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  6. HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY. I didn't wanna do anything but read it.
    email: cruz042 at cougars.csusm.edu

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    1. They have that affect on people. My daughter read Hunger Games twice and is now reading Catching Fire. Enthralled.

      Delete
  7. Mine was the entire Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. Why? I guess because of the unique setting and the suspenseful plot.

    Krista
    theangrypollo{ AT }yahoo{DOT }com

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    1. Hi Krista, I only read the first part of the first book, but it was a unique setting and an interesting twisted plot.

      Delete
  8. The last book I couldn't put down was Defending Jacob. I don't know about the pattern, because I am still reading it.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

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    1. The best patterns are the ones you can't see. :)

      Delete
  9. The last book I couldn't put down was Celebrity in Death by J.D. Robb; her in Death series is always giving us more to her characters, to her mysteries and I enjoy them all the time.

    dsadler53 at yahoo dot ca

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    1. Hi Diane! I read one of the "in Death" novels and really enjoyed it. This series is so popular!

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  10. The last book I absolutely could not put down was 50 Shades freed. The last book n a trilogy usually has that effect on me, especially when I have been waiting for it for a long time. I cannot say that I see a similarity here. All that really matters is that we all keep discovering these wonerful books!

    Antane

    nayjf at yahoo dot com

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    1. Hi Nayjf,
      I just found that series. It was in the top 100 on Amazon and I was taken by the stark covers and the intriguing titles! Good to hear that one was something you couldn't put down. I'll look into it!

      Delete
  11. Congrats on the new release!!! I've read such positive reviews about this book and I can't wait to get my hands on it :)

    The last book I couldn't put down is the literal last book I've read, which was Celebrity in Death by J.D. Robb. I'm amazed that Nora Roberts aka J.D. Robb can keep such a long series so fresh and engaging. This is an autobuy for me and one of only a very few that I'd pay hardcover price for too!

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    1. Wow, autobuy AND hardcover??? WHOOT! There's a winner!! Hope you love FEVER!

      Delete
  12. The last book I read that I seriously could not put down was Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. That book is seriously awesome and the same pattern definitely applied. Can't wait to read this one!!!

    yadkny@hotmail.com

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    1. I don't know that one Yadkny...I will look it up!

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  13. The Hunger Games Trilogy and Amaranthine Series by Joleene Naylor They both have this pattern. Both Series had surprises and held my attention which is not easy I get sidetracked very easily. Your book sounds great and can't wait to read it Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to read it. crystaley73@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi Crystal!

      I've only read Hunger Games 1, but yes, definitely has many, many different types of questions threaded through that keeps the readers engaged and excited.

      Good luck in the giveaway!

      Delete
  14. I enjoyed the explanation and the post.

    The last series I could not put down I'm still in and that's Diana Gabaldon's Outlander Series. Lots of story arcs there.

    Please don't enter me in the giveaway because I already have this book on the way. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Sophia!

      My publicist said she was sending the books today :) Thanks for stopping by. I've heard of the Outlander series several times in my travels. I think I had looked at them once and was frightened off by the sheer length of them, but I will definitely check them out again!

      Delete
  15. The last book I couldn't put down was Deep Kiss Of Winter by Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter and i'm not sure about the pattern. I can't wait to read Fever, thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8@hotmail.com

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    1. Hi Natasha,

      Now there'a a winning team, huh? Kresley and Gena? Good luck in the giveaway!

      Delete
  16. I'll have to say that the latest book I read that I actually thought wasn't going to be much because it was made after a well known fairy tale. It was Cinder. Well I could not put it down..very good YA and I'm usually not a YA reader. I need suspense with grown up action...lol. I think your book sounds great. I've also tried my luck over at Dark Faerie tales to win your book ;) I've read all good things. Thanks so much for the chance to try and win a copy here as well.
    Tanyaw1224(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. OMG, I have to tell you Tanya, I met the author at Passion and Prose last weekend. What a freaking DOLL! I ran into her because I was looking for another author who I'd never met in person and she looked just like this other person. So I asked her if that's who she was and then we got to talking.

      She told me all about Cinder--her debut, her 4 book hardback deal, how Cinder hit the NYT list its first week and damn she couldn't have been more humble or cuter!

      It was so thrilling for me -- twice her age -- to see someone so young and so talented off to such a fabulous start. It brings tears to my eyes.

      Delete
  17. I could not put down Cinder, loved the author's way of writing. edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom I don't know about a pattern, it was honestly her way of writing and the main character that held my attention. edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom

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    1. That is so awesome to hear!! (Ditto on my story above!!) Just thrills me to see someone as nice as her have something so fabulous happen.

      Delete
  18. The last book I couldn't put down is Cherie Priest's Hellbent because it was a great story and yes, there was suspense, and questions to be answered that were mostly wrapped up by the end. It's a series, so there are always a few more questions for the next book. :D

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

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    1. Oh, wow, do I LOVE that title!!! Damn, I want to steal it, but WAY too late. Maybe in about 10 years...

      I like when there are a few questions left...it keeps a reader thinking about the story.

      Delete
  19. Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas in January. I was one of the lucky 75 that got an ARC of it. I did NOT want to go to bed. I wantd to stay up and read. Then Fever was the other book.

    No need to enter me for Fever since I read it!

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    1. Yes, you and Kendra are the HUGE Kleypas fans! For good reason...she's absolutely fab! :) Thanks for putting FEVER up there :):):) And thanks for coming by doll!!

      Delete
  20. Hi

    I am really looking forward to reading Fever. I have heard a lot of buzz this week and know it will be a great read.

    The last book I could not put down was Firelight by Kristen Callihan. A great book with a twist on an old story - also a debut author.

    Thanks for the chance.

    Pam
    tpibrew@msn.com

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    1. Oooh, is Firelight new? Like out in January? I think I saw that around and it's gotten very good reviews. Her second comes out about a month or two ahead of Blaze, I think.

      Delete
  21. It was Hellraisers 1: Devil's Kiss by Zoe Archer. There was a little suspense to the story line, keeping me turning the pages, hero wanted one thing, heroine another. But it was subtle and sometimes hard to detect.
    luvfuzzzeeefaces at yahoo dot com

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    1. Hey now, hey now...Doesn't Devil's Kiss come out April 3rd? Cause Zoe's going to be on my blog April 4th and I saw Devil's Kiss (another awesome title) at Passion and Prose -- wow, what a cover! -- and I'm going to have to check, but I'm thinking you got an ARC, missy!

      And you didn't even taunt us with that?

      Delete
  22. The last one I could put down was the Demons of Infernum series by Rosalie Lario. I read the first three back to back.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

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    1. Oooo, haven't heard of that one, Donna. Will look into it!

      Delete
  23. most recent one that I didn't want to stop reading till the end (& therefore stayed up till I finished) was Justin by Allyson James last wknd. I have a long history of letting myself get pulled into a good story till I don't want to do anything that requires me to stop before the end -- I've gotten better about it, but alas, there are enough great books written by talented authors out there to prevent me from ever truly being reformed ;) Congrats on your release and the great reviews

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    1. Hi gamistress, Allyson James looks like she's got awesome books. Haven't gotten around to reading her.

      Thanks for the kudos on reviews! :)

      Delete
  24. The Marked Past is what I am reading now and I dont want to put it down. Thanks for the giveaway.

    pefrw at yahoo dot com

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  25. Brightest Kind Of Darkness (Brightest Kind Of Darkness Series Book #1) By P.T. Michelle Was a book I so coouldn't put down. I haven't read FEVER yet but from the excerpts I have read I can tell it WILL be one of those types of books. The characters were so engaging and life like that I had to know what was going to happen every second. I will probably stop what I am doing the second that book is on my hands and I won't come up for air until it is done.

    skyla11377(At)AOL(Dot)Com

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    1. I love those kinds of books and they come so rarely for me now a days.

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  26. The Hunger Games trilogy. I actually read all three books in four days. It was like watching an accident on the freeway, bloody awful but totally unable to look away.

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    1. Okay, that was totally me with the first book. I described it as a train wreck I couldn't look away from, but was too traumatized to read beyond book 1.

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  27. The Lords of the Underworld series from Gena Showalter because they're full of action and humor

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  28. That would be The Witness by Sandra Brown. So suspenseful and I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened next.


    Cambonified(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. I love Sandra Brown. Don't think I've read Witness. Will give it a look.

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  29. Last night I read my first Lorelei James book and I loved it! Cowboys there, firemen here, PLENTY to keep me happy - Yay! haha.

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  30. THe last book I read and couldn't put down was Love Unscripted by TIna Reber. It was torturous. THe good parts were so good. But the bad parts made me feel like there love was impossible, I had to keep reading into the wee hours of the night just to ease my aching heart :'(. It sounds like Fever may be another of those impossible love stories that make us yearn for more torture ;), I can't wait to read it, I love the cover, so hot!!

    eckstein 99 (at) comcast (dot) net

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  31. The last book I couldn't put down was Lethal by Sandra Brown. It definitely had me the suspense and the characters and I wasn't sure how everything was going to turn out.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

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  32. OMG, Joan! My heart just stuttered. How flipping fantastic that you used a quote from my review. I can't even think now. You totally made my entire day. What was the question? Oh! The last book I couldn't put down? Pfft! Fever, of course. Seriously, I just read it a week or two ago and it was un-put-down-able! But DH just bought me 8 books from my "I WANTS" list today, so I have high hopes. The Hunger Games is one of them. Really hoping it lives up to the hype.

    Please don't enter me as I already have a copy of the book. Best of luck to everyone else. You are in for a real treat! :)

    Kendra ~ Reader's Edyn

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