Giving A Little Love to the Romantic Suspense

Image courtesy of ~ AarStudio

It seems lately my fantasy novel has been getting all the love. It was featured here for the Next Big Thing post, here for the Look Challenge, here for the Lucky 7 Meme, and finally here when I had an interview with Taryn for a Kickass Heroines post.

Today we’re showing our ‘Cup of Tea’ side on the blog and giving some love to the Romantic Suspense. Instead of a snippet from the book – you can read one of those here – I thought I’d share with you the inspiration behind the story.

As with all of my stories, this one began with a ‘what if’ moment. There I was, driving my car, minding my own business, when Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Because of You’ came on the radio. I started really listening to the lyrics and questions popped into my brain.

  • What if a mother leaves the family, how does that make the children feel?
  • What if the daughter is young, say 9 or 10 years old, how would that affect the way she views the world?
  • What if that girl pushed herself to be the best in a futile hope that if she was just ‘good enough’ her mom would come home?
  • What if that girl grew into a woman who was beautiful, brilliant, and broken?

The ideas were swirling around in my head for awhile before I finally began writing the book. I’d made a hasty effort during NaNoWriMo to get the entire story out, but it felt wrong. Something was lacking.

Jump ahead to May of this year. With the fantasy stewing in the dark reaches of my hard drive, I had the time and inclination to give the story a closer look. I trashed what I wrote during NaNo and started fresh. Page One.

The only thing I kept was the name of the book, and even that will probably change. After 98,000 words, this is what Because of You ended up being…


Elizabeth Bradford is beautiful, brilliant, and broken. Unable to forgive herself for her mother’s abandonment, she strives to be perfect in her career, at the extent of pushing relationships away.

Liam Stirling wasn’t looking for anything more than great sex, but when he meets Elizabeth, he starts to think it’s time to put his bad boy days behind him. Too bad Elizabeth doesn’t feel the same way. Not one to see opposition as defeat, Liam steadily charms Elizabeth until she gives a reluctant yes.

Unfortunately, not everyone is happy they’re together.

A stalker watches their every move, even the most private moments spent in Elizabeth’s bed. The closer Liam and Elizabeth become, the more violent the stalker’s acts. When their best friend is brutally beaten, Elizabeth blames herself.

Consumed with guilt for her friend’s condition and faced with Liam’s unwavering faith in his love for her, Elizabeth retreats into herself. She does what she knows how to do best ~ pushes Liam away.

Not satisfied with destroying their lives, the stalker won’t stop until someone is dead.

It will take a bullet for Elizabeth to realize what love truly means.


It’s a far cry from Kelly Clarkson’s song, but that’s what music can do to us. Fill us with inspiration which allows our minds to take flight and wander among the stars.

Just the other day I was listening to the radio and heard One Direction’s, ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ and I thought, that’s exactly what Liam would say to Elizabeth! She’s a remarkable woman, but refuses to see it because of the damage her mom did when she left.

Here’s Kelly Clarkson’s video for ‘Because of You. The story changed a lot from when I first heard the song, but the feelings I feel every time I hear it never alter. It’s a powerful song. Okay, admit it, who else tears up when they watch this video?

Has a song ever inspired a story that you just had to write? I have a friend who always writes to Incubus, I’m more partial to soundtracks or classical, what about you? When you do something creative, what gets your muse fired up? Share with us!


43 thoughts on “Giving A Little Love to the Romantic Suspense

  1. Great premise Tameri! I love a good romantic suspense. One of my story ideas came from Pink’s song, Sober. While listening to it, a scene popped into my head. Not a beginning or end scene, but one that’s right in the middle. I think being stuck in the middle with that character made me want to answer all the questions and write it. I love that curious feeling I get from an idea. Music definitely helps. 🙂

  2. Because of You sounds fantastic, Tameri! I love that music helped inspire it. I have trouble listening to music while writing or conjuring up stories, but I’ve been finding that music wants to burst out of me every time I finish a story or meet a career goal. I may even incorporate a musical performance into my first book launch, whenever that happens, assuming I don’t wimp out. 😉

    • Thanks so much, August! I have different soundtracks for different moods in the book, but sometimes I just let it go on shuffle and see where the music takes me.

      You, however, have a special talent with music that I do not! I love the idea that you might incorporate music into your book launch. That would be so terrific to see/hear. How can you wimp out when you’ll have so many of us there cheering you on?

  3. I love hearing about the “behind the scenes” workings of inspiration. Songs are great for that! For my current story one of the most powerful songs is “Ballare” from Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion. I’d listened to it many times before, but one day I heard it and was completely overwhelmed with a scene. Ever since then I haven’t been able to shake it (and hopefully this NaNo I will actually be at the point in the story where I can write the first draft of it). In fact, I get to see Dralion performed live in December. But is it bad that during this once act I might close my eyes and just let the feeling of the live music whisk me away? (No disrespect to the performers, of course.)

    • Oooh, you’re going to have such a great time at Cirque du Soleil! They put on an amazing show and I don’t think they would mind if you drifted off during that song. I need to Google Dralion now… I’ve never heard of it. Shame on me, I know. Best of luck with NaNo! It’s fun, but challenging and I know you’re up for it.

  4. Sounds like a great story and I’m looking forward to hearing more about it. I love how music can inspire. Bruce Springsteen’s “Because the Night” inspired me to write some of my paranormal romance.

    • That’s so funny, Melinda! For a long time I couldn’t listen to songs with words either, but then I heard one and it sparked a scene in the fantasy so I kept playing it over and over. Now I just tune out the words if I’m really focused. Granted, if the scene isn’t going well, I get distracted, but sometimes that’s a good thing. 🙂

  5. Music always, always gets me thinking about storylines and stories. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one! I do love your take on Kelly Clarkson’s, Because of You and I think your book premise sounds terrific. I love to listen to Rob Thomas — lots of longing there— Three Doors Down, The Goo Goo Dolls, Katy Perry and a host of Celtic musicians, some of the Celtic music has lyrics others without. Cool post Tameri! Can’t wait to read this book.

    • You and I have much of the same music on our iPods, Kate! I love Celtic music, too. Right now I’m big into Snow Patrol ~ they have some haunting songs that are perfect for getting the muse ‘in the mood’.

  6. Oooh, Tameri, I just love the storyline for “Because of You” – it sounds awesome, and something I would definitely read! I, too, use music for inspiration … mostly classical, especially with my poetry, but almost any music will get my thoughts racing for pen and paper or my computer! Wonderful post, love it! 🙂

    • Thank you, Julie! Classical is always good for writing, except the 1812 Overture. For some reason, every time there is a dip in the music and then it explodes with trumpets and stuff, it scares the wits out of me! I’ve had to take it off the iPod for fear of having a heart attack. 😉

  7. I love the sound of your story, Tameri! Kelly Clarksons song is one my favorites! If I’d had it on an album, the needle would have worn right through! U2’s Don’t stop believin is one that sparked some ideas for me. That’s another record I would wear out! Good luck with your story!

    • I love U2’s Walk On and Elevation for writing. Man, I’ve been a U2 fan since their Party Girl days, way back in the 80’s before they got huge. They have so many great hits and I love that they’ve stayed together all these years. Thanks for the support, Marcia!

  8. Your book sounds great! And I love that you got the idea from a song. Music is one of the greatest gifts in life, not just because I love to listen to it, but because it does inspire me to think. To start the whole ‘what if’ process. A Hero For Holly was based on He Didn’t Have to Be (Brad Paisley). That video always makes me cry, it’s just that beautiful. And a man who steps in and raises a child like he’s his own…it just gives me chills.

    When will your book be released? (Sorry I haven’t been around lately…a major case of burnout going on again. Sigh…)

    • Music IS a gift! It can soothe us when we’re hurting, excite us to dance on a cloudy day, it’s a tremendous help with our creative endeavors, it rocks. Haha! No pun intended, but there you go.

      My book is in the query stage right now. I’m sending a synopsis and the first three chapters to an editor I pitched last week, so fingers crossed!

  9. Fun post. I like both romantic suspense and Kelly Clarkson, so hearing about a romantic suspense inspired by such a great song was cool. The new fantasy I’m still in the plotting stages on was inspired by a song. I’ll share it when I get a little closer to being done 🙂

  10. Wow, what a powerful song, (Clarkson’s). I can see how that moved you. Because of You sounds fantastic. I adore a romantic suspense and haven’t read one in a long time. Looking forward to reading yours.

  11. I’m totally grooving to the music right now. 😀 I totally LOVE this book. Now that I know how it ends I want to read the rest of it! Send it to me! Knowing you, I know the rest of the story will match the end and it will be a mistake for agents to pass it by. You will be represented soon. Just wait and see. Soo excited for you!

    • I’ve had songs inspire a scene, but like you, never an entire book until this song. There were so many ‘what ifs’ that kept hounding me. It was a story that demanded it be told. I was but a vehicle to that telling.

  12. The story sounds incredible!!! I love it Tameri and can’t wait to feast my eyes on it! 🙂

    I am not sure if music helps me conjure story’s but it certainly can feel me with such an emotional response that the creative output is intense and amazing. There’s nothing like a powerful song to POWER one up!

    • Thank you, my darling! Oh, power up songs are the best. I have a whole playlist of power up songs just for days when I’m lagging. I’ll put on the music and dance around like the freak I am. It works wonders!

  13. Your story sounds like a winner Tameri. I am quite fickle when it comes to music, loving an album until it bores me rigid and then moving on. I do however return to classics like Vivaldi’s four seasons as the range evokes deep feelings, which can be transferred to a character’s mood. Similar to you, I love Snow Patrol and Celtic music, my choice of the latter being the amazing Loreena Mc Kennit. The Beatles and Paul McCartney are also my evergreens.
    I started crying one day as I listened to ‘Fool on the Hill’ because it reminded me of a man who was scapegoated in the town I grew up in. He had been the butt of jokes and suddenly I could see in hindsight how he had been set up in an era when adults were afraid to use taboo words to warn their children of possible dangers. Thankfully the world has opened up since then. I did however sit down to write that as a short story.
    Yes music certainly can evoke the muse.
    Thank you for this great post.
    Mary E. Coen @goddessmeca

    • Hi Mary! Thanks for stopping by the blog today. I adore Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. When I was in London I saw Nigel Kennedy perform it and went out that night to get the CD. Yes, it was a CD back then. It’s still my favorite version of the songs. I also have a ton of Loreena Mc Kennit on my iPod. Love her. Not so much the Beatles, I know, blasphemy! I can listen to them, but not for writing.

      That’s so sad about the man in your town, but it just goes to show what a kind heart you have now that it can evoke that much emotion in you. Is your short story published? I’d love to read it.

  14. Pingback: Angela Wallace Celebrates Her New Book, Earth Tones! | Tameri Etherton

  15. Oooh, your novel sounds really intriguing, Tameri. Can’t wait till I can get my hands on it!

    I LOVE writing to music and using it to fuel my stories. Each of my WIPs has a different soundtrack, ranging from bluegrass/americana/folk (lots of Mumford & Sons, The Civil Wars, Gillian Welch) to celtic/Irish folk (Cara Dillon, Loreena McKennitt). I have playlists for specific characters, romantic relationships, individual scenes… *grins* Yeah. I really, really like music.

    One of my best moments, though, was a realization that Ravel’s “Dapnhis et Chloe” captures a really pivotal moment in a fantasy novel I’m working on. I haven’t been able to translate all those feelings and sounds into words quite yet, but it feels amazing to have a touchstone that I can return to for inspiration.

    • Those are some great soundtracks, Lena! Ravel is brilliant for writing ~ I’m excited to hear more about the fantasy novel, especially when you’re able to put those feelings down in words. When your book comes out, I’ll have to feature it on the blog!

  16. I am so late to this party but I’m glad I didn’t miss it entirely! Sorry, Tameri, I’ve been acquiring a bit of a blog backlog and I never want to miss one of yours. I often write to music too and, coincidentally, a Kelly Clarkson song (What Doesn’t Kill Us) features in my next novel. I’m so excited about Because Of You! *waiting eagerly for launch details*

    • My darling friend, you are never late to a party! Oooh, I love that Kelly Clarkson song, too. Actually, I love all of her songs. I hope I have launch details to share with you soon, until then fingers crossed.

      When is your next book coming out? I’m super excited for it!

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