Twenty-five years ago, after reading Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor and being taken away to another world, I knew instantly that I wanted to write a romance novel and provide readers with that same wonderful sense of escapism I had experienced. My first novel, Return of the Rose, a time-travel romance, took me five years to write. I got the attention of an agent and I thought I was on my way. Not even close. I wrote my second time-travel romance and it wasn’t long before I was told that time travels were a dying breed. Next came contemporary romance and then romantic suspense. 

I finaled in Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart contest six times, signed with two agents and wrote more than a dozen novels, but I couldn’t get published. I came close a few times, but no contract. It was time to make another change. Although I had been writing for twenty years by then and had devoured novels by Tami Hoag, Laura Lippman and Lisa Gardner, it never occurred to me to try my hand at writing a thriller. Not until my frustration with being unable to get my foot in the door grabbed me by the throat and squeezed. It was time to kill off any character who dared walk through the door of my imagination and failed to perform. Boring dialogue — off with his or her head. No personality — shoot him dead. Need tension — bring in a serial killer. 

The first thing that struck me as I set out to write my first thriller was that researching real-life serial killers was a far cry from the research I did for my romance novels. The second thing I noticed was that the villains of my imagination didn’t come close to the real-life heinous monsters hiding behind thick shrubs on a starless night. Those killers mutilated and tortured. So I set out to do the same. No more stumbling into the arms of a broad-shouldered hunk. It was time to dismember and devour. Time to go deep into the minds of some of the worst criminals who ever lived. Time to go for the jugular. 

And that’s what I did. Every day, I slipped into my villain’s mind and plotted and planned new ways to kill and destroy. I also made sure my protagonist did everything in her power to survive, despite the incredible odds. 

I titled my first thriller Abducted and when I finished that book, I knew I had something special. Tired of waiting for the industry to decide whether I would make it or break it as a writer, I self-published Abducted in May 2011. The second time my book hit the top five on Amazon, more than one publisher contacted me. After all these years, I finally had their attention. 

In 2012, I sold the first three books in the Lizzy Gardner series to Thomas and Mercer and since that time, I have sold over three million books. I am currently writing my sixteenth thriller for Thomas and Mercer and I hope to have readers locking their doors and turning on the lights. 

Do I regret not writing a thriller over a decade ago? No way. I traveled through time, I fell in love over and over again, and now I get to make sure that good conquers evil at every turn. Everything happens in its own good time. 

T.R. Ragan has sold more than three million books since her debut novel appeared in 2011. Her latest, Don’t Make a Sound, is being published by Thomas & Mercer on June 1, 2020. Preorder at your favorite bookseller below.

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About T.R. Ragan:

T.R. Ragan (Theresa Ragan) is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her books have sold over three million copies and include the Sawyer Brooks, Jessie Cole, Lizzy Gardner and Faith McMann thriller series. Before devoting herself to writing fiction, she worked as a legal secretary for a large corporation. Theresa and her husband Joe have four children and live in Sacramento, California.