Over the years I’ve developed a strong sense of justice. Whether in real life or in the books I read and write, I am only satisfied when justice is served to the deserving. Nothing drives me crazier than to see people get away with the wicked things they do to other human beings, from lying and cheating to abuse and murder.
I can tell you the exact moment my drive to understand the injustices of the world began. I was ten years old. My mom and dad had picked up me and my sisters from a movie or the roller rink or…isn’t it funny this one point escapes my memory when everything else about that night is still so clear? I remember it was much later than we were usually allowed out so it was probably after 10:00 p.m. Anyway, when we got within a block of our neighborhood, we were stopped by a police barricade and told we couldn’t go home.
Along with several other families from the area, we waited for several hours. It didn’t take nearly that long before we knew what had happened. A police call had turned deadly. In a convoluted series of events, two police officers were sent to a home on a domestic abuse call. We all know how dangerous those kinds of calls can be but the officers had settled things down and were leaving when a neighbor, evidently taking exception to their presence, opened fire on the police. One of the officers was killed and the suspect barricaded himself in his home. Police had to talk him out before they could arrest him.
I was pretty naïve for my age, though it was a long time ago and we were much more innocent when I grew up. But this one event stayed with me for months – years – after it happened. It launched my personal awareness of the injustices in the world. The shooter wasn’t involved in the original call and the police officer who died was only doing his job. Even worse the policeman left a wife and unborn child behind. My 10-year-old sensibilities were appalled.
I considered going into law enforcement for a long time but, for a variety of reasons, my life went in a different direction. It didn’t change the way I feel about justice.
I believe it’s the real reason why I ended up writing romantic suspense. I started out writing traditional and short contemporary romances but there was always a thread of danger and threat drawn through them. I fought the tendency because there’s no real space to explore the suspense elements with the shorter word counts. When I began writing single title romantic suspense, I found my home.
I can’t change the fact that too many injustices still occur on a daily basis around the world. I’m still appalled when I hear about a child who’s been abused or a family is murdered, and the culprit gets away with it for one reason or another. I may complain when I receive the occasional jury duty but I know how important it is to serve as a juror, and I vote every chance I get in the hope we get the right lawmakers into office, lawmakers who can affect real change.
But in the world I create in my novels, I dispense justice that even satisfies my ten-year-old self. Evil people pay for their transgressions, the innocent are protected, and love holds it all together. It’s how justice is supposed to work.