Facing Fear Through Fiction

Please welcome the amazingly sweet and talented Carey Baldwin to the topdown today!  I had the pleasure of reading Carey’s first book before it was published and I’ve been in love with her and her writing ever since. 



First of all let me say a great big thank you to Cindy Gerard for inviting me here today. Not only is Cindy a huge talent, she is a wonderful, supportive woman who is always ready to give generously to a worthy cause. I first met Cindy through her donation of a critique to the Brenda Novak diabetes auction. Cindy not only provided the critique she promised on the auction, but she went above and beyond by offering me her ongoing encouragement and support. I am honored to call Cindy Gerard my friend.

Now, for the topic at hand: Fear and fiction. What’s the connection? I’m a huge fan of romantic thrillers. I love hot romance – and why seems obvious. But what is not so obvious is why I love to read and write scary stories and wicked-bad villains and impossible odds for the hero and heroine to overcome. And I’m not the only one! There are plenty of nice girls like me who crave a good thrill.

Maybe reading a thriller is like mounting a gargoyle outside a building.


The evil is kept outside and cannot enter the home.

As I wrote my soon to be released romantic thriller, FIRST DO NO EVIL,


I never had in mind that the story had anything to do with me or my fears. But long after the book was completed, one of my writing partners mentioned that she could see how writing the book had helped me deal with some of my own losses. I had no idea what she meant at first, but then I had a big aha moment and literally smacked my palm to my forehead.

The heroine in my novel, Dr. Skylar Novak, lost her mother to breast cancer and is at higher risk herself for developing the disease. Just like me. But unlike me, Sky keeps on losing people she loves. Her father is murdered and then her fiancé. There are other people she loses that I can’t tell you about without spoiling the story. But in the end (with some help from a hawt hero, Detective Daniel Benson) Sky learns to face her fears and grab the happiness life offers up without being overcome by the sorrow in her world.

Now that I think about it, there might have been a little bit of personal meaning in this book for me! When we read about a hero or heroine overcoming impossible odds, battling terrible evil, it makes us feel able to face our own fears and makes our problems seem much more manageable by comparison. I think that’s a large part of the appeal of romantic thrillers.

FIRST DO NO EVIL released June 26th. For those of you who may be interested, here’s the blurb:

There’s a killer lurking in Dr. Skylar Novak’s family tree: the gene for breast cancer. That’s why her brilliant brother invented the Bella vaccine. But even if the miracle drug protects her from the cancer that took her mother’s life, it can’t save Sky from the flesh and bone evil stalking her in secret.

When the killer strikes, detective Daniel Benson finds himself in the wrong place at the right time. The bold detective manages to save Sky’s life…just in time for her to return the favor. Survival leads to seduction, and Danny risks everything—his career, even his life, to keep Sky safe. But will the buried sins they uncover cost him her heart?

Danny’s strong arms may hold her close, but only Sky can stop the terror that’s coming next…

Warning: Contents include: One heart-melting hero—good luck getting this delicious detective out of your head. One reluctant heroine—wielding a Glock was never on her to-do list. One crazed villain—an entire flock of baa baa black sheep won’t be enough to put you to sleep. And a lifesaving vaccine with one deadly side effect—murder

Have you ever read a book that made you feel empowered in some way?

I’d love to hear about that book, or any other reason you love romantic suspense. I’m delighted to offer one commenter a $25 gift card to either Barnes and Noble or Amazon. Commenter’s choice.


About cindygerard

Cindy Gerard is a New York Times best-selling author of action packed romantic suspense novels. Learn more about Cindy at http://www.cindygerard.com
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40 Responses to Facing Fear Through Fiction

  1. TrishJ says:

    Yay! A new author to try. I LOVE romantic suspense. I absolutely need a HEA, but I love the danger and suspense elements. I love a roller coaster ride to the finish. Your book sounds like it has all the elements and I will Definately check it out!! Good luck!

    • Hi Trish! I’m the same way. I gotta have my HEA but at the same time, I need excitement and thrills. My favorite books give me both! Thanks for commenting!

  2. Scarlet wilson says:

    I loved The Help this year and Room, totally different books but empowerment is a key message in them both.

    • Oh, I loved The Help. That was one of the most poignant novels I’ve ever read. Anyone who hasn’t had a chance to read it yet, I highly recommend it. The story is so real, and the history is so recent- it’s hard to realize life was truly that way such a short time ago. And the protagonists are so admirable- that story lifted me up, and did make me feel empowered. Great example! I haven’t read Room yet, but it is on my TBR pile. It sounds intense. Thanks, Scarlet!

  3. Anne says:

    Wondefrful and special post. A book that resounded with me and empowered me was The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. Best wishes and continued success.

  4. Thank you so much Anne!
    The Winter Rose- you all are adding quickly to my TBR pile. I haven’t gotten to that one yet either but it sounds intriguing and again, like an intense journey I’d love to take with the heroine. Thanks!

  5. Lisa says:

    Hi Carey! 🙂
    I can personally vouch that First Do No Evil is a fantastic book and I absolutely loved it! So everyone who hasn’t read it yet totally should!

    Now, to the question at hand. I recently read Eloisa James’s memoir Paris in Love, and I found it so inspiring and empowering. After losing her mother to cancer, and getting a cancer diagnosis herself, she decided it was time to stop being afraid, and sieze life and all its opportunities. So she and her husband sold their home, packed up their two kids and went off to live in Paris for a year. It was a page turning read, and I was so inspired by Eloisa’s bravery in overcoming her health crisis (thank goodness all ended up well on that front) and how she wasn’t afraid of going after her dream and how she seized the opportunity to go to Paris and make the most of the experience. I came away from the book with such a powerful message-time is short and precious, and we shouldn’t be afraid to go after our dreams and life life to the fullest!

  6. Thanks for the kind words Lisa! And wow, Eloisa James is such an inspiration in the way she lives her life. She is a wonderful role model for all women and such a great representative of the romance community. I treasure her writing, and her example. I have met her several times, and found her to be so gracious …and fun! Thanks for reminding us about her wonderful new memoir.

  7. Maria D. says:

    Congratulations on your debut release Carey! Yes, I have felt empowered after reading something in a book – a fiction book at that- I think partly because when I read I usually think of myself as being the heroine of the story (I mentally change places with her) and I get to vicariously experience what she’s experienced – which can be good or bad…lol- but mostly it’s good and in many ways it’s taken something that an author has said either through the story or directly from the characters to make me think about something and face it – I’ve dealt with some of my issues of self doubt or lack of confidence that way. Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Hi Maria! Thanks for stopping by! That’s exactly how I feel when I read. I trade places with the characters. Which is what is so great about romance! I get to keep falling in love over and over again. And when I read a confident heroine, I feel confident too! Great to see you!

  8. Becky Palmer says:

    I love romantic suspense because it allows me to enjoy two things at once: mystery & romance. Besides, isn’t romance a mystery in itself? Congratulations. I definitely will be reading your book.

  9. CrystalGB says:

    I like romantic suspense because you get a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what is going to happen next and you get to follow the couple’s journey to their HEA. Makes a great combination. 🙂

  10. Thanks for commenting Crystal! An unbeatable combination, I’d say! More romantic suspense please!

  11. Angela C. says:

    Can’t wait to read your book and congrats on the book release! I really don’t know of a book that has feel empowered in some way, but I do love reading romantic suspense books. I love reading them because I love a good mystery that keeps you on edge until the end.

  12. Thanks Angela! The edge is an exciting place to be!

  13. Lena Diaz says:

    Congrats on your debut Carey! I of course love FIRST DO NO EVIL. Awesome combo of suspense and a wonderful love story. And I’m in love with your voice/writing style. Can’t wait to see what you do next. As for reading a book that makes me feel empowered or inspired in some way, I’d say pretty much any romance novel. And all suspense novels help me feel good really can triumph over evil.

    • Lena! Thanks for stopping by! I really appreciate your kind words about FIRST DO NO EVIL, and coming from the author of fabulous romance suspense, that means even more! I’ve heard so many readers say, as you do, that all romance is inspiring, and a triumph. And I agree with that!

  14. loisgreiman says:

    Thanks for joining us, Carey. Your book sounds wonderful. Yay! An exciting romantic suspense.
    I’ve read so many books that inspire me, but the one that sticks out is Gone With the Wind. I read it yearrrs ago when I was still in high school. Scarlet O’Hara was such a force of nature. So gritty and savvy. When I was done reading the book I broke up with my boyfriend because of her. 🙂 A very wise decision.

    • Uh oh! I know Margaret Mitchell would be proud! Sometimes we do need a wake up call 🙂 I know what you mean about this story being empowering. I pulled up one of my favorite quotes from Gone With the Wind. It’s Scarlett of course:
      “As God is my witness, they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”

      That just about sums up empowerment doesn’t it?
      Thanks Lois!

  15. Welcome, Carey! The book sounds wonderful–right up my alley, too. My sister is a breast cancer survivor, and she inspired my own THE LAST GOOD MAN.

    Don’t you find that writing is and always has been your way to explore and learn how you feel about things? Get it down on paper in some form–a letter, a journal entry, a story–and it helps you put yourself together. It feels good. It’s enlightening. It’s entertaining. And if you can bear to share the results, maybe you can do it for a living.

    You can’t write unless you’re a reader, and I’ve been inspired by so many wonderful books. Not long ago I got my granddaughters to watch TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD with me on TV. They loved it. Now we search out the book, I said. The older one informed me that the book would be even better because there’s be more to it. “Just like Harry Potter.”

  16. Hi Kathleen. Thanks! And you know it really does sound like we have a lot in common. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is one of my favorite books- maybe my favorite book- of all time. I love the quiet Atticus who can get the job done but doesn’t relish violence. I love Scout and Jem and Boo, Tom Robinson…and well the whole cast of characters. Just about every character in that novel has something to overcome. And somehow they do. I even worked the book, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, into the plot of FIRST DO NO EVIL.

    You may have caught on earlier than me about working things out through writing. But I’m glad I finally have. I just never knew I was working things out until I was done. I’d love to read THE LAST GOOD MAN. In fact, I think I’ll go download it now. I hope your sister is well. Sending you all my good wishes.

  17. superauntkx9 says:

    Congrats on your book Carey. I can relate in a way with Breast Cancer, I had a scare a few years back and I was very lucky that it was just a fibroid tumor… I am prown to them, but they have to check none the less. I am an advocate of breast cancer screening. It is maditory here to have woman over 50 get one every two years. I have mine more regulary though…
    I think one of the books that is a good romanctic thriller for me was The Wittness by Nora Roberts.. I am looking forward to reading your book…. Good luck and wishing you many many great sales…

    • Thanks so much for the good wishes! And thanks for bringing up the importance of screening mammograms. They save lives!! Go get one if you’re due.
      I haven’t read the Witness yet. I’m behind on reading because of…life. But I am dying to read it. So happy you got a good report and are following up!
      All the best,

  18. catslady says:

    What better way to get suspense in my life (safely) than by reading. And the romance is an added bonus that makes the story the most interesting for me. I have to care about the characters before the plot comes into play. And I really think every book I read brings something to my life! I look forward to your stories!

  19. Kirsten says:

    I don’t read a lot of romantic susupense but really liked Allison Brennan’s books. Your story sounds good too, I love books that deal with loss through cancer. It can be really helpful to “see” how others deal with it.

  20. Kylie Brant says:

    Yay, Carey! Congratulations on your new release! I’m jazzed for you!

  21. Blue Eyed Devil isn’t exactly a suspense, but it really opened my eyes to the plight of abused women. It empowered me with a sense of compassion and sisterhood that I did not previously hold.

    Congrats on your debut, Carey!

  22. Jane says:

    Congrats on the new release, Carey. I love romantic suspense because it engages me with its action and daring me to figure out who the villain is.

    • Thanks for sharing Jane! I also love the action and the mental challenge of mystery and suspense. In the case of my book, you’ll learn the identity of the villain quickly and then become privy to the dark workings of his mind. Hopefully there’s still a lot to figure out. Even though you know WHO, you don’t really know how and why he or she carries out their diabolic plan.

  23. bn100 says:

    Congratulations on the book! I like this genre of the mystery and action.

  24. MaryC says:

    Congratulations on your book release, Carey!
    For me it would be Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club.
    I just purchased FIRST DO NO EVIL and look forward to reading it!.

    • Oh, thank you Mary! I loved The Joy Luck Club for so many reasons but I especially loved the protagonist’s struggle to find her own place in the world. Good choice! Thanks again, and I hope you enjoy my story!

  25. leannebanks says:

    Congratulations Carey! And welcome to the vert! Your book sounds fabulous!!!!! I thin it’s so cool that you faced your fears in fiction.

    • Thank you Leanne! And thanks to all you topdown gals for having me. Sending you all many hugs and a final big Love You! to Cindy Gerard. Thanks to all your readers for the awesome conversation! Check back. Cindy will be announcing the gift card winner!

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