After the Thrill is Gone–or NOT! by Debra Webb

Debra Webb joins us today to talk about renewing the thrill of an old relationship. And take note, readers, she’s giving away a free copy of her latest book to EVERYONE who comments before midnight EST tonight!

DEBRA WEBB, born in Alabama, wrote her first story at age nine and her first romance at thirteen. It wasn’t until she spent three years working for the military behind the Iron Curtain—and a five-year stint with NASA—that she realized her true calling. A collision course between suspense and romance was set. Since then she has penned nearly 100 novels. The Faces of Evil is her debut thriller series. Visit Debra at or write to her at PO Box 12485, Huntsville, AL, 35815.

After the Thrill is Gone—or NOT!

The run for your life thrills are very much a part of the romantic suspense and romantic thriller genres. Equally important are the thrills related to the developing or ongoing relationship between the two main protagonists. Sometimes, like in real life, the thrill of the latter can fizzle. One of my favorite themes in romance is reunited lovers. That was the reason I chose to make Special Agent Jess Harris and Chief of Police Dan Burnett high school sweethearts who became lovers and ultimately lost each other somewhere along the way as their lives moved from those turbulent teenage years to the more stable era of adulthood.

Jess’s parents died when she was a kid and a carousel of foster homes greatly changed her outlook on life in general. Dan, on the other hand, grew up in a wealthy Birmingham family with his future mapped out with financial and family security. I know from personal experience that uncertainty fuels a different kind of determination in a person. Nothing in life is taken for granted, least of all the idea of financial security, when everything has been lost. Jess’s determination to ensure her future, financially and otherwise, became a kind of obsession for her—one she didn’t recognize until she was past forty. Dan, on the other hand, as one whose financial and relationship foundations were rock solid, soldiered forth taking the usual risks and making the normal assumptions. He, too, recognized as he passed that forty mark that his somewhat blasé attitude was off somehow. As her professional life unravels Jess must face the fact that she has sacrificed her personal life to attain a certain goal and that change is necessary. Dan becomes aware of the same only for completely different reasons. Owning the need for change is a challenge for these two driven characters.

OBSESSION, the debut in my Faces of Evil series, focuses on exactly that—obsession: that unrelenting compulsion to have or to accomplish a goal. The theme resonates through every level of the story. Dan and Jess are brought together again as aspects of both their personal and professional lives are coming apart in different ways and to different degrees. The thrill of that innate connection that once held them has fizzled but the spark remains, smoldering and threatening to ignite. It was and is too real to be lost or gone forever. But how will they find a way to reconnect fully and how can I possibly resolve the issues two decades in the making over the course of a twelve-book series? The dilemma I face as a writer is a bit like the Texas Two-Step. Two quick steps forward, then two slower steps forward. The problem is, when a couple does the two-step, one is moving forward while the other moves backward. The dance will at times be difficult for this determined couple but it’s the pull of that tiny spark—that smoldering thrill that never was completely gone—that will draw them through the steps like music.

With that in mind, I decided that each story in the series will resume where the last left off not only in terms of the development of the relationships between the characters but also time wise. IMPULSE, book two, starts right where OBSESSION ended. POWER, book three and my current work in progress, begins forty-eight hours after the ending of IMPULSE. My goal is to show the day-to-day evolution of the lives of these characters in real time. Can they ignite the fire that once burned between them and stoke it to a full blaze ultimately bonding their relationship? Only time and the triumph over obstacles along the way will tell!

What about you, have you experienced a reboot in an old thrill—whether related to a relationship or to a career?

Share your experience or just leave a comment and win a free copy, Kindle or Nook version—your choice, of OBSESSION!

Thanks for joining us Debra!

About Gwen Hernandez

Author of SCRIVENER FOR DUMMIES & the Men of Steele romantic suspense series. Manufacturing engineer turned writer. Scrivener instructor, runner, reader, explorer, Kung Fu sifu, AF spouse, mom, vegan.

Posted on February 23, 2012, in Guest blog, Gwen Hernandez and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 65 Comments.

  1. I don’t have an experience to share but this series sounds intriguing!! I’m putting it on my TBR list right now. I especially like the fact that each book will start where the last left off! 🙂

  2. Debra, thanks for visiting with us on Kiss and Thrill. I’m always looking for new romantic suspense authors. The details you gave us will really help me pick out which of your books to start with (I’m thinking OBSESSION!).

  3. What a fabulous premise, Debra. I’m really looking forward to reading them. I can’t wait to meet Jess and Dan! Thanks for coming today.

  4. Thanks for being with us today, Debra! Can you tell us more about your work “behind the Iron Curtain” and with NASA?

  5. Good morning, all! I worked for the US Army in Berlin, Germany, before “the wall” came down in the mid 80’s. It was a history-changing time. Those three years certainly made me see life from a different angle. As an American, it was stunning to live behind the Iron Curtain. Not to go too deep into history, but the eastern half of Germany was communist and Berlin (though half of Berlin was occupied by western allies) was deep in that territory. It was such a different way of life. Shortly after returning to the States, I went to work with NASA in the Space Shuttle Program! I worked the launches on several occasions and I have a flag that flew on Shuttle Discovery!

    • Sounds fascinating, Debra. My dad was stationed in Heidelberg from 1978-81, and I still have my official orders from when we took a trip to Berlin. Had to have them to drive through East Germany. Glad I got to visit the wall before it came down, but even more glad it’s gone.

      I’ve never seen a NASA launch, but my husband was a launch test engineer at Vandenberg AFB a few years back. Probably his most fun with the Air Force so far.

      Thanks for sharing!

      • Debra and Gwen, my daughter is currently putting together a website about the fall of the Berlin Wall for the National History Day competition. I might have some questions for you… 😉

  6. I have no experience to share, but I do have a soft spot for reunited lovers. The series looks great. Can’t wait to read!

  7. Your military experience sounds fascinating, and I can only imagine how much it influenced your writing.

    As for personal stories, my husband is an old flame, lol. We dated for about six months when I was 19, and then broke up. Months later, we got back together, and we’ll be married 13 years in May:)

    Your new series sounds great. Can’t wait to read!

  8. Hey Stacy, my hubby and I have been married 38 years!

  9. Gwen, we left Berlin just a couple years before the wall came down. The unrest was growing even then.

  10. Debra. what an interesting challenge you’ve set for yourself with a real-time series of 12 books. I’m particularly intrigued by the very different life journeys your protagonists will take to arrive in a place where a reunion is possible. As a reader and a writer, I’m going to enjoy discovering how their journeys unfold.

  11. Debra, thanks so much for blogging with us today! I’m intrigued by the 12-book relationship arc, and look forward to reading OBSESSION.

  12. Thanks, Rachel. I am really loving the series. And since the entire series takes place over only a few months it makes senses that the relationship would evolve over the entire series versus two or three books! In their forties, the couple will be a little more cautious on some levels.

  13. Debra, I love your premise! Reunited lovers was the setup for the first manuscript I wrote (buried under my bed of course) and for a novella I’m writing now. So obviously it’s a favorite theme of mine. And I LOVE the fact that your are writing about mature characters…who are still growing. This series sounds fantastic to me, a mature, goal-obsessed woman who loves romantic thrills! Can’t wait to read this!

  14. Thanks, Carey!!!!! I adore mature characters! In my Jackie Mercer series (DIRTY), the heroine is 45 and still sexy!!!!

  15. Hi Debra, welcome!
    What a fascinating REAL life you have had! Throw in some sexual tension and you’ve got yourself another series. 🙂

    Are you at all concerned with this 12-book series running back-to-back time wise that you’ll fall behind in the amazing technology growth?

    It’s getting harder to read one of my favorite authors: Sue Grafton because she’s done the same thing and is now stuck in the mid-80’s where cell phones and the internet are unknown. Very frustrating to read of the PI’s current crisis when I want to shout “just use your cell!”

  16. I can see where that would be a problem, Sarah, except that I’m doing these books in “real” time also. Book three goes up in mid to late March, then four in mid May, five in late June. I hope to have them all up by this time next year!

  17. Hi Debra, thanks so much for blogging with us today! I absolutely love the idea of carrying on with the same characters — something I’m doing in my own spy novels. But, editors warn that if we do that it’s straight suspense, not RS. Where in the bookstore would we find your books?

    I appreciate Sarah’s comment about Sue Grafton, too. Both she and Janet Evanovich keep their characters set in a specific period in time. It gets frustrating as a reader, but boy, can I sympathize as a writer. Trying to discover new spy gadgets only to find out the kid next door already has them really makes life difficult. And working around all the big brother cameras everywhere? A nightmare, plot wise. Wish me luck!

    Looking forward to both reading your give-away book and to going out and purchasing more. This series sounds right up my alley.


  18. Thanks, Diana! Good luck with your series as well! I think my series could go in romance or in mystery/suspense at the bookstores. Currently, you will only find them online since I self-published. They are both available in digital and print.

    My 50th Colby Agency book comes out in July (Harlequin Intrigue). There is, of course, a romance between two different characters in every book because that’s what the line requires. However, it is the romance that evolved over the course of 15 books and four years between Lucas Camp and Victoria Colby that I continue to receive the most reader feedback on. So I think the mindset of “it’s not romance if it evolves over several books” is not necessarily the way readers feel.

    I agree, a long-running series, like the ones you mentioned, can be difficult in terms of the passage of time particularly if it’s years between book one’s publication and the pub of the final book in the series. Thankfully, that isn’t an issue with the Faces of Evil series. Between the publication of book one and book twelve there will only be a lapse of about 18 months in the release schedule. Story time will be 4 or 5 months. I’m hoping that keeps the series fresh for the readers and for me!

  19. If you left a comment today be sure to email me through my website ( and let me know your preference, Kindle or Nook version, for OBSESSION!

  20. This series sounds right up my alley! I love a good suspense that can weave in a good love story, too. (PS – my husband was an army brat as a kid, and then a Marine as an adult, but when he was growing up in the 80’s he and his family were also stationed in Germany. They were there when the wall came down… crazy times. I remember seeing it on the news when I was pretty young, but not so young as to not realize the importance.)

  21. This sounds right up my ally i do love to read your work.

  22. I can’t wait to start this series! It sounds amazing! I’m big into romantic suspense and this series sounds like a great one! Can’t wait to jump in!

  23. Nothing rebooting in my life LOL! Am excited to give this series a try. Finished Dirty last week and hope you have more in store for that series as well 🙂

  24. Hi Deb, I’m a big fan of following book series, romantic suspense, being one of my favorites. I read voraciously and finding myself wondering, what happens with the characters after the book is finished, so when possible I look for series because they complete the story that leaves you wanting to know what happens next.
    I’m so looking forward to your books and will watch for more to come…Much success with all!

    • Thanks, Janice! I’m with you, I want to know what happens next. With my long-running Colby Agency series I get that question a lot. I decided that with this series, I want to focus on one primary couple and a few secondary characters (some couples, some not) to explore their lives completely!

  25. I’ve been hearing that Romantic Suspense is dead. I’m so glad to find that is just a false rumor. Your series has all the thrills and action that I need along with the personal desires that add spice to the story. Definitely on my TBR list.

  26. After the thrill is gone is moments of memories and leaps of FAITH into new adventures of Life.
    I would love to read your narrative on this. Friend Cindy Gerard reccomemded your written artistry book.
    ;-))) Kella

  27. Debra, I’m looking forward to your series. I enjoy it when the stories continue right along and don’t jump years into the future.

  28. I don’t have any experience to share. I’m curious how you’ll manage the 4 or 5 months in 12 books. I haven’t heard of any series like this. I’m looking forward to reading the series. Thanks for starting us out with Obsession.

  29. I am thrilled to come across this site and therefore can’t wait to read this book!

  30. It will be interesting to see how the stories play out. I love romantic suspense and intrigue. Cannot get enough of it! 😉 I can read three novels in a day if I can get away with no interruptions. Having previously read several of your books, I can say I am definitely a fan. Keep up the great work! Cannot wait to read this…. ^_^ Best wishes!

  31. Hi, Debra, I just want to say that I’m one of the ones who loves the Colby Agency. It has to be hard to write so many books concerning one company. I’m not sure how you keep up with everything that is going on. I’ve not read any of your other series but it’s a great time to start on something else. I’m going to need to get a stack set aside so that I can have a new book to read every week or so. Thanks for keeping us all enteretained!

  32. Just finished reading Here to Stay last week and enjoyed it. Have several others on my Ipad TBR. This new series sounds interesting! Can’t wait!

  33. Annetta Stolpmann

    I can’t wait to read this series. I love reading books that are part of a series because you know there is more of the story to come even after the last page of one book.

  34. Shelley Nakamura

    I personally don’t have that experience, but the book looks good. I look forward to reading it.

  35. I love romantic suspense series. Especially when the male is in the military or law enforcement. I work with officers every day, so I have a soft spot for them! Can’t wait to read the series! Thanks!

  36. Debra, I am looking forward to your romantic series.

  37. I have heard great things about this book. Best of luck to you Debra. Can’t wait to get started on the series?

  38. I don’t have a personal experience, but these are the kind of romance books I like to read. I prefer romantic suspense cause I like the conflict. And, if the two leads already have a history, overcoming the obstacles plus their past makes a great story. I look forward to your books!

  39. I love book series where the story lines join up – makes readers feel like they really know the characters. Can’t wait to read these.

  40. I dont have any experience to share, but romance and suspense always make an awesome story. cant wait to see what will be in the upcoming books. Once again, i have added to my “To Read” list. Cant wait to get started 🙂

  41. Romantic Suspense will always be in demand! These books contain everything a reader wants and needs. Mystery, fear, romance, and interesting characters.

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