Thursday, May 5, 2011

Friday Friend Cynthia Justlin

Today, I welcome my fellow Ruby-Slippered sister, Cynthia Justlin who just published her novel 'HER OWN BEST ENEMY'. I'm in the middle of reading this story and it is very good. Please welcome her as she shares what she learned about writing romantic suspense from watching 'Romanicng The Stone'.

I write action adventure romantic suspense. A dangerous quest, insurmountable obstacles, lots of gunfire, explosions, and overwhelming raging hormones. It’s my thing, and has been ever since I first watched ‘Romancing the Stone’. I recently had the fun of catching it again on AMC. So I bring you my Romancing the Stone words of wisdom:

Everything I wanted to know about writing Romantic Suspense I learned from “Romancing the Stone”:

10. The shinier the treasure, the better. Who wasn’t enamored of El Corazon? I would’ve tromped through jungles and done battle with snakes to get my hands on that shiny, ginormous emerald too.

9. When in doubt, throw in some crocodiles. Seriously, without the crocodiles, Joan and Jack never would’ve made it out of Colombia alive.

8. A villain with a private army, is a man with a lot of guns. Even if he doesn’t have very good aim. Just how many rounds of ammo did Colonel Zolo’s men go through? And yet, Jack and Joan manage to come out with barely a scratch every time.

7. It always pays to have a drug lord in your pocket who reads romance novels. “Joan Wilder? The Joan Wilder?” I admit, that’s my favorite line. And the way Juan helps them escape is just priceless. And very, very handy.

6. Danger unleashes the feisty heroine hidden inside those old lady clothes. One of my favorite parts of this movie is the way Joan is transformed from this lonely, repressed woman to this fiery, adventurous creature. You can see it in the way her hair starts out in a severe bun, but is loose and luxurious by the end.

5. Only a real hero can pull off an all white outfit. Okay, so I really don’t find Michael Douglas at all sexy in this movie, but the white get-up he wears during their ‘dinner date’ cracks me up every time.

4. Dancing is a sure-fire way for the hero to get into the heroine’s panties. I don’t know how well this one works in real life, but make a hero and heroine do the samba, and they’ll be tearing up the sheets in no time.

3. A cocky hero is never altruistic. Jack couldn’t wait to get his hands on the map and that treasure. If you really want to see the sparks fly, give your hero an ulterior motive.

2. Pit your characters against each other and give them tough choices. I love when Jack and Joan end up on opposite sides of the river (she with the map, he with the emerald). You just have to keep watching to find out whether Jack’s going to take the emerald and skip town, or make good on his promise to Joan.

1. Not every story needs a sequel. Know when to stop. Can we say ‘Jewel of the Nile’ anyone? *shudder*

What movie has inspired your writing? Or, if you aren't a writer, what movie never gets old for you?


  1. LOL! Great post. I loved that movie too -- and equally hated the sequel. :)
    Since I write western I was influenced (growing up) by Clint Eastwood movies and the Lonesome Dove series, but I also like a little suspense like Charade w/ Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant.
    Very fun topic!

  2. I love this post!!! I am a huge Romancing the Stone fan (and completely agree with all 10 of your points!)

    I think that movie also does a great job showing her transformation internally and externally.

    And my favorite line...."In my first book, TREASURES OF LUST...."


  3. Great post. I’ve also looked at this movie as a teaching device. Sex after a dangerous situation comes from our lizard brain instinct. Survival of the fittest need to pro create. Sex is also life reaffirming. I absolutely love her character arc. It is so easy to follow. Everything, including her writing, changes. Even his arc is great. He is still a scoundrel but a scoundrel with a heart.
    Am currently reading Her Own Best Enemy and loving it.

  4. Enjoyed the post, Cynthia. I'm going to have to go back and watch Romancing The Stone. All the elements are there, right! Just started reading Her Own Best Enemy and loving it! (RTS taught you well- congratulations!)

  5. Great post, Cynthia!

    "Dancing is a sure-fire way for the hero to get into the heroine’s panties. I don’t know how well this one works in real life, but make a hero and heroine do the samba, and they’ll be tearing up the sheets in no time."

    It's probably no secret that I wholeheartedly agree with this one. LOL And I think it applies equally well to real life. I always laugh when I think about all the guys who refuse to learn how to dance because it's "gay."

    Um, actually, a straight guy who can dance is a MAJOR chick magnet. Trust me.

  6. Great interview. I love, love, love Romancing the Stone! Such a fun movie! I can't say there's one movie that's influenced my writing because there are so many great ones out there. I can tell you I believe there is one movie that is close to perfection. It's Gladiator. I can watch that movie over and over and over again and not get tired of it. It's complex and compelling and the characters have great arcs and the plot is exciting and meaningful. Love it.

    Good luck with you book, Cynthia, and I hope you have many sales!

  7. Awesome post! I'm probably really dating myself but one of my ALL TIME FAVOURITE movies is THE QUIET MAN with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. Set in Ireland. Troubled hero. Hard-headed heroine. What's not to love?

  8. I, too, am a huge fan of The Quiet Man. Watch it at least once a year. ;-)

    RTS is another fave. Romeo, the cat, makes her such a sad person in the beginning. And the whole litany of things her heroine suffered makes the last item on the list, "and shot my dog', LOL funny.

    Great post, ladies!

  9. Hi, Cynthia, love Romancing the Stone. Like Shea, I think there are so many great movies to inspire us! but I'm a huge Star Wars fan (episodes 4, 5 and 6). Ultimate good v. evil and a loves story thrown in. No, I don't write space operas but Star Wars makes me wish I could!

  10. I love Romancing the Stone! You would not believe how many times I use that movie as a reference point when I'm explaining to my dad the difference between Old Skool and newer romance. (Old Skool being the book she reads aloud - "And stole my bible!" - and new school being the movie itself - sex, laughs, and gunfire.)

    As for inspiration, I fully intend to go see Thor and be inspired. :) I love a superhero flick.

    Congrats on your release, Cynthia!

  11. @Jennifer -- Yay! So glad you agree with me on the Jewel of the Nile trainwreck. LOL. My husband and I just finished watching all the old Clint Eastwood westerns. Love them!

    @Addison -- Treasures of Lust. LOL. Total bodice ripper era! :)

    @Rita -- Yep, it's the perfect movie for romantic suspense writers to dissect. And thanks for reading (and enjoying!) my book!

  12. @Bev -- Thank you! So glad you're liking the book! :)

    @Amanda -- Great point about dancing being a chick magnet. The only kind of dancing my husband will do, though, is not fit for the public. LOL

    @Shea -- Gladiator is a fabulous movie! Lots of complex layers and interesting characters.

  13. @Maeve -- I LOVE The Quiet Man! This was my mom and dad's favorite movie, so it's very special to me.

    @Gwynlyn -- Romeo is the perfect pet name for a romance writer. ;)

    @Diana -- Star Wars is another one of those perfect movies. My boys have just been watching them all in order this past week.

    @Vivi -- Thor looks really good! :) And yes, Joan Wilder writes total Old Skool books. LOL.

  14. What a fantastic post, Cynthia!!!!

  15. LOVE Romancing the Stone. Must see it again now. I do think that movie went a long way towards inspiring my love of romance...but I'll never forget the look on my mom's face when I asked why Jack had the map hidden under the mattress and why he put it back after he got her naked (I was ten at the time)(and she didn't answer).

  16. @Darynda -- Thanks!

    @Kat -- Inquiring minds want to know! LOL. The funny thing is, I can totally see you saying something like this. *G*

  17. Hi, Autumn and Cynthia! My apologies for dropping in so late. I absolutely adore Romancing the Stone. I've been talking about Dirty Dancing all weekend (and for the last 25 years, really). It never gets old!

    Great post!