Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
James LePore | The Suspense Novel
Uncategorized / April 2, 2009

I’ve heard it said that what drives a genre novel is plot, a comedic novel, voice and a literary novel, character. My novel, A World I Never Made, is a genre novel, a thriller, or, as it says on the cover, “a novel of suspense.” It seems to me, however, that a suspense novel can–and should–be character driven as well as story-driven. This is what I aimed for in A World I Never Made, the story of an estranged father and daughter who struggle to reconnect under an extraordinary set of circumstances. Those circumstances include a faked suicide, a betrayal inside the French government and the workings of a little known but extremely deadly terrorist organization. I hope that readers find both the story and the characters compelling and that they have as much fun reading the novel as I did writing it. Visit to learn more about books and authors.

Christina Meldrum | When a Plot and Its Characters Collide
Uncategorized / June 16, 2008

How does a writer create a story with a compelling plot AND compelling characters? This was a question I asked myself throughout my writing of Madapple (Knopf), my debut novel. Released last month, Madapple is a crossover novel intended for older teens and adults. Part literary mystery, part psychological thriller, I knew the success of Madapple would depend at least in part on my ability to devise a page-turning plot acted out by well-developed characters. I expected this would be difficult, because often novels provide either an intricate plot or complex, richly developed characters. Rarely does a novel provide both. But why? But why? As I was writing, I quickly realized why. An intricate plot makes demands on its characters, requiring them to act according to its mandates, which may well be inconsistent with what turns out to be any given character’s inclinations. I’m referring to characters as if they are alive, I know—as if they have inclinations separate from an author’s intent. Well, I think they do sometimes: the characters of Madapple certainly did. As an author, I may have given birth to my characters but, like children, my characters seemed to have minds of their own. My plot…

Cheryl Holt | What DO Readers Think?
Uncategorized / September 26, 2007

After 21 published novels, and numerous reprints of my old titles, I’m getting ready once again to contract with my publisher to write some more books. It’s always an interesting time for me, because I get to pick new characters, new plot twists, and new storylines. As I go through this process, I’m interested in what readers think. I’m renowned as “The Queen” of erotic romance, as well as “The Queen” of villains, so I write a story that’s very different from mainstream romance. My books are very plot driven. By this I mean they’re very fast-paced, with a focus on action and dialogue. They’re also very passionate and very dramatic, with extremely evil villains. If you’re one of my fans, and have read some (or all!) of my novels, I would love to hear what you enjoy about them. For example, is it the macho heroes? The great sex scenes? The heartbreak? The drama? The villains? What do you relish the most? Also, what could I leave out or tone down? The answers to these questions help me pinpoint the direction my books should go. If you haven’t read my books before, I’m curious as to why not. Is…