When the manuscript for In Hot Pursuit came across my desk, I read the first line and immediately knew I was going to like this book.
The life path for Quinn Wells encountered a major detour on an afternoon in mid-May—one of those close to scorching afternoons when office workers shuffled paper or checked movie times, waiting for the clock to tick-tick to going-home time.
The rest of the book was just as awesome, and it ended up as one of our launch titles.
I asked Karen Sue Burns, the author of In Hot Pursuit, to tell Crimson how she got started writing. Here’s what she said:
Karen: The certainty that I would grow into an author solidified in middle school, and stayed with me for a good six years.
I eagerly began college with my major as journalism, no creative writing degrees in those days. My goal was to be an investigative reporter for a big city newspaper, uncovering scandal and corruption. After being wildly successful as a reporter, I saw myself moving on to fiction and becoming a world famous author.
At eighteen, I had no doubt I would achieve these goals. However, women’s liberation came to the college campus and I switched my major to business and accounting, where very few women dared to tread. By golly, I’d show those boys I could hang with debits and credits and macroeconomics. Right on.
Fast forward a couple of decades working as a CPA and two children leaving home … finally, free at last … to get back to writing.
I love romance stories with gutsy heroines and larger-than-life heroes. I like lots of action and dialogue and less of those long narrative passages of setting, inner thoughts, and clothing description. I enjoy the plot moving forward with lots of stuff happening to the characters and forcing them, especially the heroine, out of their comfort zone and into new and uncontrolled situations. Heroines with moxie grab my attention.
To write a novel with such a heroine, I decided to “write what you know.” I’m the controller at a liberal arts university in Houston and at work one day thought: What would be a truly awful thing to happen to my employer? We were in the middle of a fundraising capital campaign and I knew without a doubt that losing the premier gift for the campaign would be a disaster. In my musings, the heroine would catch the thief and hook up with a sexy man.
I decided have the chase go to Las Vegas as I love Sin City and then to Rome as it’s my favorite city in Europe. Yes, I’ve walked the same streets as Quinn and Logan. In Hot Pursuit is definitely the product of “write what you know.”
Crimson: I love that Karen used her work background to write her novel. In Hot Pursuit rings true because of that. But accuracy isn’t all that matters in novel writing! So is being able to grab a reader’s attention — which is why I thought her first line was so promising. It made me believe I was in the hands of a good storyteller. So, what are the first lines of your favorite novels? Or, what are your favorite first lines of any novel? Tell Crimson in the comments.