06-23-18 Robin Weaver – My Crazy Road to Romantic Suspense Publishing

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I (heart) Romance Cliches...

...because it is so much fun to break them!
by M.L. Buchman

I actually started writing romance based on exactly that concept. I began as a science fiction and fantasy writer. I discovered romance and began incorporating stronger and stronger love stories into my writing (still not romances).

I wanted to try a romance, but I did want to write along a cliche. Why? One, I actively despise cliches and stereotyping (this is one of my rabid platform things, so don't get me started [don't believe me? Check out this Publisher's Weekly Radio interview.]) and two, I had seen the success of those who find the cliche and buck the trend.

Sandra Brown looked out at the world of romance and the world of mystery and made a huge success that practically created romantic suspense.

Suzanne Brockmann read an article on Navy SEALs and military romantic suspense exploded onto the market.

Both of them had looked at a cliche and wondered how to turn it on its head.

For me I was doing research for my Dead Chef thriller Swap Out! My hero had to be rescued by a cool helicopter. (I don't know where my writer brain comes up with these ideas, but I trust it and went looking for a really extreme helicopter.) While researching, I stumbled on the U.S. Army's 160th SOAR, the secretive, helicopter-flying Special Operations Aviation Regiment, also known as the Night Stalkers.

That still didn't do it for me. Cool, might use it some day, but it didn't have the cliche-breaker I'd been looking for.

And then I found the Night Stalkers application: "Must be male to apply." (After 30 years, this finally changed in 2013, but I was back in 2008 at the time.)


I knew I had it! Was I going to create a whole new genre with this idea like Brown or Brockmann? No, but fitting right in as "Buchman" struck me as a good sign.

What did I create by spotting the cliche and breaking it?
Cliche: The alpha male hero and the woman he falls for along the way.
New: The alpha female hero who meets the alpha male on the common ground of the military, and  who gets the man she happens to deserve.

Thus was born The Night Stalkers series:
(this includes the first reveal of the draft cover for Michael's story coming in Spring 2015!)

And the Firehawks series:
(Full Blaze is coming Dec 2, 2014 and takes the wildfire battle Down Under.)

And I just sold two more "First Women of..." series that will be launching in 2015 & 2016. Maybe they're all just one big series: Buchman's "First Women" of Military Romantic Suspense... I like it!

M. L. Buchman has over 30 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year” and Booklist “Top 10 of the Year.” In addition to romance, he also writes thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction. 

In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world. He is now making his living as a full-time writer on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing by subscribing to his newsletter at www.mlbuchman.com.


Judith Ashley said...

Hi Matt, Did women serve in SOAR before 2013 even though the written rules were they couldn't even apply? and totally off topic - was your fifty-foot sailboat blue with red sails?

Sarah Raplee said...

Matt, I love the way you turned cliche's on their heads on an epic scale! AWESOME! Love the new cover, too!

M. L. Buchman said...

Hi Judith, Sorry for slow response, I had the ending of my next novel take my be storm yesterday, I barely got out of my chair for 10 hours.

Women could apply to non-combat, non-flying positions in SOAR prior to 2013. Once they apply, if accepted, their first mission-qualified flight won't be for 2 more years of training (and they had to have already flown 5 years for some other military outfit). So, my women took flight in 2012, in reality, the first can't be aloft until 2015. :)

I remodeled a 50' ketch (sailboat) in the mid-80s. It was blue and exactly as described in "Where Dreams Are Born," except the sails were white and I made it a sloop rig which is what she had in her youth and should have had except for a prior owner's idiocy. Yes, my sledgehammer broke out the kitchen galley and yes my shins hurt like forever afterward. Yes, I flooded my bunk on my first big solo sail and had to sleep on the floor for 2 days. I did fix the floorboard faster than Russell did. :)

M. L. Buchman said...

Hi Sarah,
Thanks. Not only was it out of the box, it was seriously fun! My best advice is to always follow the fun! That moment when your inner writer goes, "Ooo!"

Judith Ashley said...

I've not done much sailing but in "Where Dreams Are Born" I could feel the spray and wanted to reach for the Dramamine-lol. I know you do superb research so was curious as to how close the WDAB sailing scenes were to your real life experiences.
Thanks for the info on women in SOAR. Slowly things are changing for women in the military.