First of all, thank you to Paranormal Haven for inviting me here today, and to the readers who stop by to learn a little bit about Fire Kissed, book one in my new Shadow Kissed series. As a thank you, I’m giving away a copy of Fire Kissed to a reader who tells me who is their favorite romantic couple (movies, TV, books are all good).
Chemistry within the pages of a book is as delicate as any potion concocted in a lab (or witches brew). While there might be an instant sizzle at an idea of getting a couple together or in a suddenly inspired scene (especially if it’s a hot one), the ensuing romance has a lot of (fun) things to do in 350 pages. Meaning, any ol’ couple won’t do.
Of course, every author has their own process. Some discover their stories and characters on the page as they write. This occasionally happens to me. But at the start of every book I have some work to do; good thing it’s called day dreaming.
Here’s the one thing I keep in mind: The hero and heroine can only be right for each other. No one else will do. It’s this man for her; this woman for him. There’s something within each that is perfectly suited for the other. Okay, I think I’ve restated the point enough times. But really, think of your favorite romance, and think of the characters. My bet is that there is something very individual about their love to make them right for each other.
I’ve got to tell you, it’s a tricky business. That romance has to arc (a writer word, meaning develop, change, grow). Beyond the heat of sexual attraction, they actually have to fall for each other.
At first the couple is a study in opposites. This is surface stuff, really, and only can drive the first fifty pages. He’s an angel, all about control. She’s a fire mage, chaotic and passionate. Even my back cover blurb references fire and ice. She is hedonistic; he’s about duty. He plans carefully; she disregards the plan because she doesn’t like plans and because it gets a rise out of him.
Then comes the next layer: How are Kaye and Jack the same? This is where the romance starts to have teeth, because this is what they come to trust (even begrudgingly) in each other. Courage. Loyalty. Truth. Neither of them are liars. Neither will let someone else get hurt to save themselves. And they each say and do what they promise, even if it seems that they’ve switched sides.
Does that do it? Nope. Not even close. Those are all the good things, but we all know it can’t be real, can’t be tested, until they see the worst in each other. Since I don’t want to give spoilers, I’m going to talk about the rest in general. The Black Moment is a writer’s term that occurs in most genre stories, not just romance. It’s the point when the hero and/or heroine is about to die or be caught by the bad guy or the world is about to end. (See your summer blockbusters.) But in a romance, where the relationship is a major storyline, there has to be a moment when it seems like true love just isn’t going to work out. Maybe one is going to die. More likely though, the hero/heroine reconsiders whether or not they should really be with the other. There are infinite reasons for this. The ones in Fire Kissed are doozies. Shockers. Will knock your socks off. :-)
And the end? Well, romances promise a happily-ever-after. How that is achieved takes careful planning as well, because all ingredients have to come together, have to work, to arrive at a satisfying ending. Fair warning: my stories are dark, shadowy, and dangerous. So are my main characters, especially my good ones, at the end. And before I can begin (this is not the same for all authors), I have to have an idea of how dark my characters can and will go before they emerge victorious.
Okay, who are your favorite couples? Extra points for why. :-)
It is Kaye Brand's power to wield. But outcast from her kind, she's been selling herself to the highest bidder - money for her survival in exchange for a magic glimpse into the flames of the future.
One of the angelic Order, Jack Bastian has no use for a female like Kaye, as provocative and unexpected as her blazing beauty. Yet he has no choice but to hire her to uncover the secrets of his sworn enemy and her former fiance, Ferrol Grey.
War is inevitable between the defenders of the Order and the mage Houses who threaten to engulf the world in Shadow. For Jack, mage-born Kaye is off limits, no matter how hot the impossible attraction between them. But in the coming darkness, beset by danger and desire, everything is about to change...
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Erin’s website: http://www.erinkellison.com/
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