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  • Writer's pictureWalker Buckalew


What's your favorite book?

I mentioned in an earlier entry that I am always appreciative if an author chooses to work a background romance into a mystery or action story. I wrote that a background romance adds suspense to the mystery and depth to the action.

“Adding suspense to the mystery” means to me that, if the author has led me to care about the main character, and if that character begins to have romantic feelings toward another character, then I start to be concerned. Is this person really worthy of the main character? Can this person be trusted by the main character? Do I need now to be worried about two people, rather than one? The suspense begins to be multiplied (and complicated) by the romance.

“Adding depth to the action” means to me that now the main character must act not only on her or his own behalf, but on behalf of the person she or he is beginning to love. The action can’t be superficial. It has new depth.

In my first adult novel, The Face of the Enemy, Matt Clark, having just completed his active duty as a U.S. Naval officer, discovers that his parents have been kidnapped from their home in New York City. His efforts to track the kidnappers take him to England, where he meets Rebecca – the main character in my adult series – and falls head-over-heels in love with her. And, as he begins to realize that she and her parents have special connections to his own parents, and, as well, special resources that may help save them, suspense is added to the mystery and depth is added to the action, because Matt is simultaneously falling in love, trying to save his parents, and trying to figure out how these things can fit together.

In my second young-adult novel, Visioners2, 14-year-old Joanna’s new boyfriend, Gareth, is taken from a park in Brooklyn, at night and during a melee involving Joanna’s family and unknown assailants. Her desperate efforts to save Gareth, efforts which will need to be carried out despite her parents’ opposition to their daughter’s risking her own life, also add suspense to the mystery and depth to the action. We don’t know whether to hope she risks her life, or to hope she doesn’t.

Above all, though, a background romance in mystery/action stories, if carefully told and developed, reflects the love of God for His creatures. There is a certain holiness in human beings’ love for each other, if it is the best kind of love.

Repeatedly in my novels, adult and young-adult alike, we read the phrase, the blueprint of the universe: my life for yours. The best love actually cares more about the other person than about itself. There is, almost inevitably, a taste of the Divine love where the right kind of romance is allowed to bloom.

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