Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dangerous Heroes

A couple of weeks ago, I gave a talk on the horror genre at the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation Conference in Oklahoma City. As I researched the topic, I realized something interesting. The roots of paranormal romantic suspense reach all the way back to the dawn of time. One of the ways the shaman of an ancient tribe maintained power over his people was to protect them from the scary beings that who roamed the night. And in those ancient spectral creatures, we can see the roots of today’s literary vampires, werewolves, demons, ghosts, and all the other beasts who fill the paranormal universe.

In paranormal romantic suspense, the villains may come from the ranks of these fearsome creatures. But at the same time, the vampires, demons and shape-shifters have also morphed into the heroes of many books. In my Berkley Moon series, for example, I’m writing about a family of very sexy alpha males–who happen to be werewolves. My first werewolf was Ross Marshall in KILLING MOON. He saw himself as an aberration in the modern world, yet he desperately wanted to be part of humanity. And the right woman helped him make peace with the wolf side of his being.

Now Ross Marshall is the linchpin of the family, guiding his younger brothers and cousins into a life they never could have imagined.. In my May book, GHOST MOON, he’s the one who organizes the family to fight a terrorist threat against the U.S. government. And he’s also the wolf who’s secure enough to reach out to my hero, Caleb Marshall, a ghost who was killed by Ross’s great-grandfather.

Intrigue is famous for sexy alpha males heroes. And that’s one of the things I love about writing for the line. For me, the paranormal element takes it even farther. My werewolves may be the heroes of my books, but you never know when their savage side will emerge. In GHOST MOON, Caleb wants to rip out the throat of the man who killed him. Since he’s seventy-five years too late to do that, he’ll go after the guy’s grandsons instead.

How far do you like to take the danger in your romantic suspense? Do you like dangerous, unpredictable heroes? Do you like heroes who live outside the bounds of civilization? Who is your ideal Intrigue hero? Or romantic suspense hero?


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