Versatile Jayne Ann Krentz creates past, present and future of romance
Prolific and beloved, Jayne Ann Krentz is a New York Times best-selling author under several pen names. As Jayne Castle, she ventures into futuristic romance, and as Amanda Quick, she writes historical romance, including her recent bestseller, Second Sight, set in the late Victorian period. In that book, she created the intriguing Arcane Society, a secret organization peopled by psychics. Now she brings the society to the present day.
In the fast-paced, sizzling White Lies, descendants of the original society members are classified according to their abilities, and an entire network has developed to nurture and protect them but even that network has its failings. Claire Lancaster is a level 10 psychic, a human lie detector considered too highly gifted to be stable. She meets Jake Salter, who is a level 10 hunter, and the sparks fly as the two try to track down a killer who wants Claire dead. Krentz answered a few questions about her new book and the romance genre from her home in Seattle.
You've made no secret of your belief in the appeal of the alpha male in romance novels, and Jake Salter is an alpha in every sense of the word. What is the appeal of such strong male characters?
In my experience, readers don't like weak or insipid characters of any gender at least, not the readers in my genre. Our heroines are always strong, determined women with an agenda. That means those of us who write romantic suspense have to provide them with heroes who are their equals men who also present a serious challenge. No challenge, no conflict, no story.
The Arcane Society is a highly developed world (readers can learn more about it on jayneannkrentz.com). Is there any historical basis for such an organization?
Organizations devoted to paranormal research were huge in the Victorian era. I took that idea and ran with it, creating a secret society of psychics that is still going strong today. This allows me to provide a lot of history and background for the Arcane Society, which, in turn, makes for an interesting world. At least, I'm interested in it.
Will there be more Arcane Society novels? Contemporary or historical?
I'm hoping to make this a long-running series, although not every book will be an Arcane Society novel. My next Amanda Quick hardcover, The River Knows, is not part of the series. However, my next Jayne Ann Krentz title will be an Arcane story.
You write in three different areas of romance contemporary romantic suspense, historical romance and futuristic rom-ance. What is the appeal of moving between genres? Do you prefer one over the others?
I don't think of them as three different genres, just three different worlds. All of my novels feature a strong romance and a suspense-based plot. Heck, it's just what I do. But the three time periods allow me to do different kinds of plots and work with different kinds of romantic relationships. There are stories that work brilliantly in an historical, for instance, that just wouldn't fly in a contemporary and vice-versa. And I find moving between my three worlds very refreshing and invigorating. When I leave one I'm more than ready to dive into the next.
Your dedication to romance novels is well known—you've even edited a book of essays about the genre. Why do readers love romances so intensely?
Three reasons. First, women love stories about relationships all kinds of relationships. The romance novel revolves around the core relationship that is the basis for all the others: the one between a man and a woman. It is endlessly fascinating. Second, the romance genre is the only genre where women are guaranteed a story that will always put the heroine at the heart of the book. It is always HER story. Third, readers know that in these books the ancient, heroic female values will be affirmed: courage, honor, determination and the healing power of love.
What one misconception about romance novels would you correct if you could?
That the genre is only one story. The truth is, there is far more experimentation and innovation going on within the romance genre than in any of the others. We've got everything from Christian inspirational to classic historical romance to vampire romance. Take the current interest in the paranormal, which is just starting to infiltrate mystery and suspense. It is coming straight out of the romance genre, where it has been going strong for the past couple of years. And look how many enormously popular female suspense writers built their audiences first within the romance genre: Sandra Brown, Iris Johansen, Janet Evanovich, etc. They have gone on to change the landscape of the suspense genre by bringing their romantic sensibilities to it.