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Susanne Matthews: Echoes of the Past–Mixing Subgenres
Monday, July 14th, 2014

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Delilah. Writing romantic suspense isn’t the easiest subgenre since you have to blend two threads together—the suspense and the romance—and do it almost evenly. In Echoes of the Past, I took the challenge one step further. I added a paranormal component to the story, one that meshes with both the romance thread and the suspense, and hopefully draws the reader into my wild and crazy imagination.

When I first set eyes on the Lake of The Mountain, I knew I had to craft a story around its unique and mysterious nature. Discovering a Mohawk legend attached to the lake brought the story together for me quickly. When you think of lakes and suspense, drowning seems like the ready-made crime, but I added a dash of today’s drug problems to it and wove everything together.

In the romance thread, you need a heroine and a hero looking for love, but unable to find it. What if they did find it once, but lost it? How poignant would their search to find their soul mate and recapture their love be? That’s the angle I took In Echoes of the Past. My hero and heroine are madly in love with one another, but they can’t be together initially. Why? Because they’ve never met. Sound strange?

That’s where the paranormal thread fits in. Remember the Mohawk legend I mentioned? What if my hero and heroine were reincarnations of those doomed lovers, who died and were kept apart throughout eternity because of a curse? What if they meet in dreams and relive their time together, and awake alone and bereft? How can the curse be broken? Let’s bring in the Mohawk spirits who possess their souls. Those spirits are in trouble and need our hero and heroine’s help, but only together can they defeat the evil threatening the lake. So, after two centuries, our lovers will be reunited, but will they recognize one another in this world?

Now, we have the paranormal moving into the suspense. Let’s give it another nudge by creating a heroine who can speak to the spirits of those who die by drowning and have two bodies wash ashore at the Lake of the Mountain Resort. Now, we’ve added to our paranormal thread and pulled in the mystery. What will the bodies tell our heroine?

About Echoes of the Past:


Born Mohawk, raised white, forensic pathologist, Michelle Thomas is trapped between two worlds—this one and the spirit world where the ghosts of those who’ve drowned speak to her. Haunted by crippling nightmares of her own drowning death and erotic dreams of a phantom lover, she strives to make sense of her life. When two suspicious deaths occur at the Lake of the Mountain Resort, she’s sent to investigate. She’ll face the greatest challenge of her career when her past and her present collide. One of these men is her future, but which one—the rich and powerful Mayor Ron Davies, or Tony Steele, the hydrology professor who may be responsible for his students’ deaths? Charged by the spirits of her Mohawk ancestors to atone for her previous sins by protecting Lake of the Gods, can Michelle solve the murders, save the sacred waters, and fulfil her destiny?

Excerpt from Echoes of the Past:

Naked, she lies on her back inside the green, leafy grotto, which meshes seamlessly into the landscape. It’s late morning, and after last night’s storm, everything smells clean and fresh. She stares up at the man she loves, but darkness and his long, honey-brown hair shadow his face. Her body hums in anticipation of his touch. Her nipples harden. His large, calloused hands caress her, and where they touch, her flesh burns with desire.

He runs the fingers of one hand through her unbraided hair. His lips capture hers in a searing kiss, branding her his. She reaches up to him. She opens her mouth, and a deep moan escapes her as his lips meet hers.

The scene changes. He runs along the edge of the forest across the lake. Run, my love, she screams silently as all around her the women urge their men to hurry, pointing at him, screaming instructions. He stops, and once she knows he’s seen her, she turns away. They’ll catch him, and she can’t bear to watch him be killed. She pulls her marriage blanket tightly around her shoulders. Everyone thinks she’s made it for another. Sobbing, she hurries away from the beach…

Michelle Thomas awoke in tears as she had so many nights since arriving in Thunder Bay. Bathed in sweat, she shivered with need and a bone-deep cold invaded her body. The nightmares, usually terrifying, realistic visions of her watery death, exhausted her. Recently the dreams which had plagued her most of her life had changed, and these new ones in which she was both participant and witness, frustrated and grieved her. She preferred those old night terrors to these out of body erotic fantasies with a man whose face she never saw, but loved with every ounce of her being. Tonight, the thought of his capture and death made the pain of loss worse than ever. How could she go on like this?

Her wild weeping slowed to sobbing. She got out of bed and padded into the motel room’s washroom. She turned on the light and gasped at the mirror’s reflection. The face of a woman who closely resembled her—the Mohawk woman in braids she’d been seeing off and on for weeks now—glared accusingly at her.

“What do you want from me?” She yelled at the face in the mirror, anguish loud in her tear-filled voice. “You’re dead. He’s dead. I don’t have any answers for you. Go away. Leave me in peace.”


Echoes of the Past is available from Secret Cravings Press

Check Susanne’s website for other vendors.

smmeAbout the Author:

Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada.  She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but always with a penchant for happily ever after romances. In her imagination, she travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. Today, gets to spend her time writing, so she can share her adventures with her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

Follow Susanne on her:
Twitter @jandsmatt
Amazon author page
Goodreads author page