Wendy L Owens - Romance Amidst Rival Mafia Families

Wendy L Owens - Romance Amidst Rival Mafia Families
Wendy Crimson Ties Book cover

Wendy Owens was born in the small college town of Oxford, Ohio. She loves to paint and travel in her free time. She writes both romance and psychological thrillers. When she's not writing, this dog lover can be found spending time with her tech geek husband, their three amazing kids, and three pups. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Crimson Ties: A Dark Mafia Romance.

Please give us a short introduction to what Crimson Ties: A Dark Mafia Romance is about.

Crimson Ties is the first book in the Crimson Series, which tells the story of a different character. In Crimson Ties, we have a Romeo and Juliet-inspired tale in which the two main characters are children from two rival mafia families. Amelia and Alexei have an insta-love chemistry and as much as Amelia knows they probably shouldn't be together for the sake of her family, she can't seem to stay away. What she doesn't know is her relationship is exactly what dark forces in her life have been waiting for to make their move in an effort to seize power over her Father's empire.

What inspired you to write a romance amidst rival mafia families, and how did you approach developing the complexities of their relationship?

I love writing thrillers and will continue to do so, but after I read a couple of books from a friend's Southern mafia romance series, my brain was off to the races. I loved the idea of a Romeo and Juliet take on a mafia family, and from there, the series began to form. As silly as it sounds, my husband and I rewatched The Sopranos, and I did a lot of research on the structure of mafia families and the structure of power within.

The book has been described as a "Romeo and Juliet-type mafia romance." How did you balance the elements of romance and danger to create a compelling narrative that keeps readers engaged?

This wasn't an easy process, and beta readers were a huge help. Ultimately, with this being more of an insta-love chemistry, I was able to set the action and tension scenes up to be more of a situation of the main couple against the world. In the end, it was the danger that drew them even closer together.

Tell us more about Amelia. What makes her special?

Amelia's father likes to think he shielded her from a lot of the horrors of the mafia world, but in this book, we learn that while she may have not been immersed in the daily events of the family, she is a lot like him. When she makes the decision to lean into the role her father is considering her for there, it's an easy process. One of the things I love about Amelia is she has a balance to her of understanding where she comes from but also is confident in how she wants to be different than generations before her. While she can depend on Alexei, she is still a strong and capable woman.

"Crimson Ties" includes themes such as family loyalty, forbidden love, and navigating dangerous circumstances. Why did you find it important to include these themes in your story?

For me all of these themes are things that stand out in Romeo and Juliet. I knew I wanted to hold to that inspiration and create a modern and exciting take on it.


The book contains elements of suspense, action, and steamy romance. How do you approach balancing these different elements to create a cohesive and captivating story?

Suspense and action are part of my thriller stories and come easy for me. The steamy romance, however, was a new thing for me. I did struggle at first with how to include these scenes in my book. I ended up focusing on how they would contribute to the storyline, as I didn't want sex for just the sake of sex. Amelia and Alexei's first encounter, for example, is a scene all about Amelia taking control and flexing her strength and power in her new role in her family. In fact, they were strangers at that point, which is what made the steamy scene all the more powerful for Amelia. It was impulsive and something a male counterpart in her family would have done, but it was something she was expected to never do. Of course, that's exactly why she had to do it, haha.

Reviewers have praised the book for its fast-paced plot, suspenseful twists, and engaging characters. What strategies did you use to keep the story moving forward while still allowing for moments of character development and emotional depth?

The scenes that brought in all the danger to the book were done in a way where the characters had to rely on one another to make it through. When everything goes off the rails in life, it will either pull you closer to the person you are with or drive a wedge between you. I used those scenes to strengthen the relationship and show the character's vulnerabilities as well as similarities.

In your opinion, what sets "Crimson Ties" apart from other dark mafia romance novels in the genre?

In all honesty, I am a bit new to reading the genre and have only read a couple, which I think is probably why mine is so different. I am writing it less from a place of a deep understanding of the trope and more from simply what the story unfolds as in my head. One of my favorite reviews from a reader said she felt like she was reading a romantic thriller at times. I take this as a compliment because thrillers are what I do, and the fact I was able to add that mystery to the story excites me.

Your bio mentions that you have a background in the visual arts. How has your background influenced your writing style and storytelling techniques?

I majored in Art and minored in English. I always knew I wanted to be in a creative field. When I write, I can see the scene unfolding in front of me in my mind and I think it helps with not only my world-building but making my readers able to see the same things I do.

"Crimson Ties" is the first book in "The Crimson Series." Can you offer any hints or teasers about what readers can expect in future installments?

The steam gets cranked up in every installment. Book 2 is out and focuses on Amelia's brother. Book 3 is a reverse harem book about several characters and is the first book in the series that is from multiple POVs. And, book 4 I am keeping tight-lipped on it because it is changing from what it initially was going to be, but one hint is it's going to now be one of the reader's favorite characters.

What do you hope readers will take away from "Crimson Ties," both in terms of entertainment value and any deeper themes or messages explored in the story?

For me reading is an escape, and with any of my books, I just hope the same can happen for my readers who might be looking for that. I think it's powerful when you can step away from the stresses of life and simply get lost in a story.

Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?

I am not sure if I would consider them interesting, but I have habits that keep me on track. I have written over twenty books, and around book number six, I discovered that being a pantser wasn't working for me. I wrote an in-depth outline with a summary for each chapter. The result is that I rarely face writer's block. I try to always write 3k words on a writing day on the low end and 5k on the high end. Consistency is also key for me, as when I take breaks, it is harder for me to get back into the flow of things. When I am really struggling, I will get on Facetime with an author friend, and we will write in 30-minute sprints together, and that seems to help me push that word count a little further.

What are you working on right now?

I am currently writing Crimson Vows, book 3 in the Crimson Series. With the reverse harem aspect and multiple POVs, it has been an interesting ride so far.

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?

You can follow me on tik tok, Instagram, or Facebook @wendylowens or head over to my website https://shop.wendyowensbooks.com/