Those of you who are familiar with the grit and gore of my crime novels may be surprised to discover my secret past … as a romance author. I was first introduced to romances while I was working as a doctor, a high-stress job where, too often, I dealt with loss and grief-stricken families. At the end of the day, I needed to open a book where I’d find both entertainment and a happy ending — and I found both in romance novels. I became hooked on them, sometimes reading half a dozen a week despite my grueling schedule in the hospital.
It’s no surprise that the first novel I wrote was a romance.
In 1987, CALL AFTER MIDNIGHT was bought by Harlequin Intrigue. My editor called to ask: “Do you remember how many people you killed in this story? We had an editorial meeting, and we counted thirteen bodies!” That was a record for Harlequin, but they published the novel anyway — and my career as a novelist was launched.
With that staggering body count, I should have realized that I was destined to be thriller author. But I stayed with the romance genre, eventually selling nine novels in which both love and mystery were intertwined. Those books are an historical record of my development as an author, and even though they are indeed romances, with every book you can see me learning to stretch my writing wings and explore new subjects.
One of those early novels was PEGGY SUE GOT MURDERED. The grittiest of my romances, it featured a tough-talking female medical examiner (no, she’s not Maura Isles!) whose morgue is suddenly overwhelmed with dead bodies. They appear to be drug OD victims, but it’s a drug no one has ever seen before. Yes, it’s a romance, but it’s also the first book in which I explore forensic pathology and medical examiners.
Now, 20 years after its first publication, an updated version is about to be re-released, under a new title: GIRL MISSING. If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek at my early books, here’s your chance!