Tag Archive for: illegal dumping

What Influences a Book?

In many of my books, something from my past has influenced the story. The Past Came Hunting came from a police ridealong. Deadly Recall resulted from my memory of a piano lesson I greatly exaggerated and fictionalized.

On June 16 through June 30, my fourth single title romantic suspense goes on sale. I was actually living the idea behind Buried Agendas at the time and I’d like to share the story behind it.

Although my husband is happily retired these days, in his work life he was a chemical engineer who specialized in industrial water treatment. Over the years, I met his customers and clients. As a storyteller, I’d listen with rapt attention to the goings on of their businesses. Naturally, when I learned his company had been awarded a contract to help with the cleanup of the Rocky Flats Nuclear weapons plant rocky-flats-site-colorado-fact-sheet (energy.gov) I was intrigued but also concerned.

That project started me thinking about the dangers of environmental contamination, not only nuclear but chemical. I’d read and listened to broadcasts about states rightfully objecting to where nuclear waste should be stored. About drums of illegal chemicals buried in the desert.

Conversely, I learned about the stiff fines and penalties the Environmental Protection Agency inflicted on corporations should they not adhere to these regulations.

Such was my idea behind Buried Agendas and the book would not have been written without a wonderful resource of an EPA staffer in Denver. Not only did we have a long informative phone conversation, afterward, she sent me reams of information on superfund sites (by snail mail no less).

Neither would the book have been written without the help of chemists, plant managers, and an underground tank expert. And by the time I completed interviews and consumed an enormous amount of research material, I came up with what I thought might be a believable inciting incident.

What if a chemical was created that should never have been created?

All right. That seemed to work. But how to develop a romantic suspense plot around such a complicated subject? Here’s what I came up with.

A devastating secret drove her from her lover’s arms; will a secret equally as deadly lead her back to him?

Diana Reid is an investigative reporter skilled at uncovering other people’s secrets. It’s her own she works to keep buried. Eight years earlier, she promised to leave her fiancé and hometown of Diamond, Texas forever. That pledge vanishes when she receives a letter stating people are going to die, implicating her hometown’s largest employer, and making a veiled threat against her mother. With no other choice, Diana will return to Diamond, albeit in disguise, to discover the anonymous author.

Brad Jordan moved on with his life after Diana left him. Preferring to practice law rather than assume his birthright, Jordan Industries, he turns the chemical processing plant over to his brother. Later, Brad runs for office and is elected mayor on his promise to rebuild his struggling hometown. Those plans are jeopardized when he’s notified that the company is suspected of wrongdoing and may be sacrificing the public’s health.

Diana Reid is the last person Brad Jordan wants to see, personally or professionally. But, when he discovers her presence in Diamond, he’s forced to accept that a woman he vowed to forget may be his only avenue to get to the truth.


What readers have said:

“Buried Agendas is a well-written, well-plotted romantic suspense. It kept me reading late into the night to find out what happens to the star-crossed lovers. The story had enough technical detail to be realistic without coming across as a chemistry lesson–well done! I felt the heat of the Texas setting and enjoyed getting to know the characters. I’m looking forward to Ms. Bell’s next one.”


BURIED AGENDAS follows the romantic suspense plots that Bell is known for. A fast compelling read with hot topics in the news today– Chemical waste and the hazards of border crossing. The characters are well developed and carry the reader through an exciting pace to the finish. If you haven’t read her previous books, you’re missing out on great storytelling.


“This is a well written, suspenseful thriller with fully drawn characters and a fast paced plot. Diana, forced to return to her hometown, confronts the fact that she still has feelings for the man she betrayed eight years ago. And now she’s in town to investigate his family’s business and possibly destroy all that he holds dear. Donnell Bell’s character emotions ring true and her plot is all too believable.”


If you enjoy romantic suspense, I hope you’ll check out Buried Agendas, particularly when it goes on sale June 16-30 for $.99.

How about you? Has something in your past influenced you? For authors, did said influence inspire you to incorporate it in a book or to write an entire novel?

About the Author:  Donnell Ann Bell writes both romantic suspense and multi-jurisdictional task force plots, keeping close tabs on her theme SUSPENSE TOO CLOSE TO HOME. Her single-title romantic suspense novels, The Past Came Hunting, Deadly Recall, Betrayed, and Buried Agendas, have all been Amazon e-book best sellers.

Traditionally published with Belle Books/Bell Bridge Books, Black Pearl, a Cold Case Suspense was her first mainstream suspense and book one of a series, and a Colorado Book Award finalist. Her second book in the series, Until Dead, A Cold Case Suspense, released in May of 2022 was voted best thriller in 2023 at the Imaginarium Celebration Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.  Sign up for her newsletter or follow her blog at https://www.donnellannbell.com