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Jayne Ann Krentz is the author of over 50 New York Times bestselling romantic-suspense novels, often with a psychic and paranormal twist, in three different worlds: contemporary (as Jayne Ann Krentz), historical (as Amanda Quick) and futuristic (as Jayne Castle).
Jayne Ann Krentz: You’ve written many books in various genres. You and I have been friends for a long time and I always knew you were born to write romantic suspense. When and how did you figure it out?
Elizabeth Lowell: Like you, I wanted to write romantic suspense for years, but no one wanted to buy it. Then a publisher bought Tell Me No Lies. I was thrilled. The book did well, but the publisher didn’t. Eventually I had another opportunity to write romantic suspense. Amber Beach was a New York Times bestseller. After that, it was much easier to sell romantic suspense!
JAK: Your female characters have a real edge. They are strong, competent, sexy, and smart, yet always feminine. Shaye, the lead character in Dangerous Refuge, is a perfect example. As a writer, how do you define feminine and masculine strength?
EL: I believe that male and female are complementary. A strong man can protect a woman. A strong woman allows a man to be gentle. Each brings possibilities to the other; each fulfills needs in the other. Each could live independently but chooses to share life with another. Love is itself an expression of strength.
JAK: You have a rare gift for creating powerful settings. The landscape is always a character in your books. You recently moved to a cattle ranching valley in Nevada and used it as a backdrop for Dangerous Refuge. Why did this location call to you so profoundly, in life and in your writing?
EL: The mountains are tall, the land beyond the fences is wild, and I have always felt at home. I enjoy visiting cities, but I can’t live well in them. Something in me needs long views and mountain winds.
JAK: The intrigue in your novels always has an authentic “ripped from the headlines” feel. I know you do a great deal of research before you sit down to write. What is the “real story” behind Dangerous Refuge?
EL: Dangerous Refuge isn’t based on any “real” event. The story came from an understanding of how the Intermountain West is caught between the past, when there were few people in a huge land, and the present, when too many people depend on too few resources. Simply put, much of the West lacks water. From that truth comes much friction, intrigue, competition, wealth . . . and death. While the backdrop is very real, the story is pure fiction.
JAK: You used MMA (mixed martial arts) in the plot of Dangerous Refuge. How did you decide that it fit into the premise of this book?
EL: There is a unique grittiness to the sport. Gambling as a plot device is commonplace in Nevada settings. I wanted something different.
JAK: You and I tend to enjoy the same books so I’m curious: what are you reading now?
EL: J. D. Robb’s latest, Calculated in Death. When I’m done, I’ll begin nagging you for a preview of your next book.
JAK: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: When it comes to romantic suspense, no one does it better than Elizabeth Lowell. I love that you always break a few rules along the way. Dangerous Refuge is a terrific read. Since I’ll be first in line to pick up a copy of your next book, I’ve got to ask, what are you working on now?
EL: Night Diver is my next book. It is set in a very different locale—a tropical island paradise in the Caribbean, where centuries-old sunken treasure causes some very modern problems.