by Kathleen Ernst
I had lunch this week with two friends who (good pals that they are) told me they loved The Heirloom Murders, my second Chloe Ellefson mystery. They also agreed that they’re ready to see some action between Chloe and and cop Roelke McKenna.
In the first book, Old World Murder, Chloe was recovering from a bad breakup and definitely not ready for a new romance. In book 2, she tries to figure out what kind of man she might want to be with. Book 3, which I’m still revising, offers some new ideas about her life, her wishes, and the possibility of a relationship. (Roelke is definitely still in the picture.)
Here’s the challenge: I hope to write many books about Chloe, which presents a common dilemma. Stringing the possibility of romance along for too long can become annoying. Getting two people together too quickly can kill the tension, the energy.
Some of my favorite authors have handled things between two main characters differently. One kept them apart a little longer than I liked—five or six books, maybe. Another killed the guy off, leaving the heroine to start fresh (and upsetting many fans, based on online reviews.) Another chose to get her couple married quite quickly, and then let the inevitable frictions between spouses provide tension in the books that followed.
I’ve tried to build some complexity into both of the main characters, Chloe and Roelke. Falling in love isn’t a simple thing for either of them. Still, I don’t want to frustrate readers, either.
There’s no single right answer, of course…but I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Images from 123RF.