It’s that spooky time of year again. With Halloween just around the corner, I’ve been thinking about fear. Every time I sit down to write a book, one of the first things I figure out is what the hero and heroine each fear. Fear drives us and shapes our choices, so it’s a handy thing to know about characters. Usually, the heroines in Dragonfire (who are human) fear something similar to what we do. Some of us are afraid of the dark, of being alone, of snakes, of losing control, of getting on an airplane, of spiders or - you can fill in your terror of choice right here.
But what would you fear if you were a dragon shapeshifter? These guys can become ferocious dragons at will and breathe fire. They’re pretty good at defending themselves, which makes it a little bit more tricky for them to be plausibly afraid of anything or anyone. Because they are dragon shapeshifters, they’re often more wary than fearful.
Quinn, the hero of KISS OF FIRE, the first Dragonfire novel, was wary of other dragon shape shifters. He didn’t trust his own kind and it made sense that he didn’t want to be around them lest he be outnumbered. Donovan in KISS OF FURY was leery of commitment to one woman - being a dragon shape shifter didn’t protect him from the potential pain of losing his heart. Erik in KISS OF FATE was concerned with balancing his responsibilities, and failing either the Pyr he was trying to lead to victory over the Slayers or his partner. This, too, is a challenge than many humans face and the ability to become a dragon doesn’t help. Erik still couldn’t be in two places at once and he’d managed this choice incorrectly in the past. Delaney in WINTER KISS feared becoming part of the problem instead of key to the solution - he was losing control over himself and didn’t want his dragon power utilized by the Slayers. Niall in WHISPER KISS feared that his involvement with the Pyr could cost him Rox and her love. Rafferty in DARKFIRE KISS feared that his past would jeopardize the future of everyone on the planet. Lorenzo in FLASHFIRE disliked and distrusted his own dragon nature and feared that it might slip out of his control one day, so he was resolved to become a normal mortal man and ditch the dragon within.
Brandon in EMBER’S KISS is the first of my dragon shape shifters to actually fear his inner dragon. I thought this was interesting. Part of the issue is that Brandon doesn’t really know or understand his own nature - he’d rather it just went away, like his father did. After all, he inherited it from his father, and he wants nothing in common with that man. The problem is that Brandon’s ignorance of his own truth has made him the perfect target for the evil Slayer Chen. Chen is using his own dark magic to enslave Brandon to his will - as the spell becomes more powerful, Brandon’s dragon begins to answer to Chen and not to Brandon. Brandon is becoming desperate over this lack of control because he doesn’t understand it - being estranged from his father and the Pyr means that he has no one to ask for advice. Chen is within a talon - or maybe a scale - of claiming Brandon forever when Liz arrives on the scene. With her own magical background, Liz recognizes the spell right away, and she knows the questions to ask to break its power over Brandon. But is it too late to turn back Chen’s power and save Brandon?
The fact that Liz and Brandon work together to overcome both his fear and the threat that could destroy him forever is just perfect for a paranormal romance. I loved how these two complemented each other’s strengths and weaknesses and how they became a powerful team. Liz is the first heroine in Dragonfire to have paranormal powers of her own, but she’s inspired me for the future.
So, what are you afraid of? Is your fear worse at Halloween (I do think the spiders are bigger at this time of year) or the same all year around?
Deborah Cooke has always been fascinated with dragons, although she has never understood why they have to be the bad guys. She has an honours degree in history, with a focus on medieval studies. She is an avid reader of medieval vernacular literature, fairy tales and fantasy novels, and has written over forty romance novels and novellas. She has also been published under the names Claire Cross and Claire Delacroix.
Deborah makes her home in Canada with her husband. When she isn't writing, she can be found knitting, sewing or hunting for vintage patterns.
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