Romantic Thrills with Overton author Learne Forsyth

Learne Forsyth’s book “The Untameable Temptress” is a romantic thriller that doesn’t hold back.

 

The story follows Talia and the man, Valentine, with whom she becomes dangerously entangled. Both risky and risqué, the story delves into the darker side of human nature, and we spoke to Learne to find out how she balances the spice and the shadows in her writing.

 

How did you come up with the idea for this story?

The story really wrote itself – that said, my friends and family will tell you how much they’d begged I wrote a book for many years.

I, like a lot of people, was having trouble coping with lockdown and the new way we had to start living. Before the second lockdown I went out with a friend I’d known for a while. We threw some ideas around about what we’d be doing if there were no restrictions. During the discussion I came up with the idea which was originally about the adventures Valentine and Talia would have. However, the more the story grew in my head the more I saw Valentine as someone who was hiding a secret within himself that, let out, could be very dangerous. This changed the tone of the story dramatically.

 

What draws you to the thriller genre?

I find thrillers can create a whole journey and atmosphere that can sometimes make the reader uncomfortable but intrigued. I’ve experienced a fair amount of dark experiences both personally and professionally, so I knew I could write from the point of view of both parties. My education has a lot to do with it. I’ve always been fascinated in human behaviour and what has to happen to someone for people to develop personality disorders. So, naturally, once I had formed Valentine’s personality, I knew which set of behaviours he’d have and how to keep the readers wondering “what next?”

 

What was the response to the book like from your friends and family? Was anyone surprised by its racier content?

Great question, I wrote the racier bits without thinking about my readership being anyone but strangers until my mum told me how most of her friends were excited to read my book. At that point I censored it a little to make it more of a racier romantic thriller rather than just erotic. In hindsight I think that did me a favour as I wanted people to enjoy the story and not lose readers because it was a little too risqué.

 

You combined your book launch evening with raising awareness of PTSD – do these themes of trauma and mental health come through in your book?

Raising awareness for PTSD was to show that even when you’re suffering and feeling isolated, as I was, some good can come out of it. I’m not sure how I would’ve coped without the people and places I created during that very tough time. I have suffered with what’s actually known as c-PTSD for years, but like so many others I found it hard to admit openly. From a personal point of view, it gave me the freedom to show that my life isn’t always as rosy as I’d like people to believe; and if I could give others the courage to say they weren’t ok and they needed a little extra support and compassion, I’d feel it was all worthwhile.

Instead of being met with the criticism I’d been scared of, I found people were actually very kind and supportive. This book touches on PTSD briefly, however it delves into the trauma that can lead to such illnesses. It also shows in detail how childhood trauma can result in a dangerous set of behaviours – or at its worst, a full personality disorder. We all love to hate the bad guy but we don’t always get to see what happened to make him the bad guy.

 

What was your favourite part of writing the book?

Creating the characters, their lives and backstories was my favourite part. I could use my psychological knowledge to accurately describe why each character acted the way they did.

That said, there is a part of the book which makes me cry every time I read it. During editing, reading it again for fun and continuity, it’s a bizarre reaction as I created the scene and those in it, yet still I can’t get past it without welling up a little. No doubt my readers find other parts far more emotive and I can’t give a reason as to why it’s that particular part, nor can I tell you which part without ruining the plot.

 

Who are your creative inspirations?

My goodness, that’s a tough one. I enjoy reading quite a few different authors but my secret guilty pleasure is probably Nora Roberts. As much as I’d love to say one of the historical greats, she has definitely shaped my more romantic side, which I’m sure people who know me would argue I don’t have! Being a criminal psychologist, romance doesn’t rate very highly in my priorities, but since writing the book I’ve found it to be a hidden part of me that was just waiting for the right time to be unleashed.

 

What do you hope people will take away from reading your books?

I hope that people enjoy the twists and turns of the story, that they feel the undercurrent of danger as well as the joy of real love and devotion. I’d like them to be left wanting more having (as a lot of people have said) not been able to put the book down. I had a throwaway comment made “that men wouldn’t read my book” and I’ve proved this wrong, having had quite a lot of feedback from men who’ve loved it, so to some extent I’d like people to see that as much as there’s romance, the darkness of the thriller element mixed with it makes it a book for all without any restrictions.

On a serious note, I’d like for people to recognise when certain behaviours arise, to be very careful and take them as warnings. If you believe you see a red flag, trust your instinct.

 

Are you working on any more projects at the moment?

I can confirm there is another romantic thriller – with an emphasis more on the thriller part – almost finished, and I do hope to continue writing for as long as I have ideas and readers.

 

“The Untameable Temptress” by Learne Forsyth is available to buy from Amazon in paperback or e-book.

by Alice Smales

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