Today, I’m pleased to bring you a special treat on my blog with my good friend and fellow author. C. Desert Rose. Together, we’ve teamed up to discuss the differences between the paranormal and contemporary romance genres.
In the first part of our series, we talk about heroes and villains.
Now, sit back, relax, and enjoy Para-Con with Rose & Carol.
Today my writing colleague, Carol Cassada, and I are getting together to discuss a bit about our passions … writing.
Oh, but it isn’t just writing we are going to talk about. It is about the variation of writing within our individually preferred genres. Mine being Paranormal Romance, and Carol’s being Contemporary Romance.
Carol, would you like to say hello to everyone?
I’m Carol Cassada. As Rose mentioned, I’m a romance writer. Throughout the course of the article, I’ll be offering my take on the contemporary romance genre and giving you a glimpse into my books.
At any rate, let’s get started, shall we?
Yes, let’s get started. We have a lot of topics to discuss.
I’ve realize that there is an enormous difference between the construction of a Hero and a SUPER Hero.
Yes, 2 words in this instance, not one. Let’s do the math.
Hero = Main Character
Not to be confused with Superhero, which is the likes of Batman, Superman, Antman. Well, you get it.
In my opinion, when creating a Super Hero, one must make him akin to a Superhero. He must be amazing AND powerful. But, that’s not all. He must also be every ladies dream man. Yes, the whole enchilada, if you will. Easy on the eyes, physically speaking–a given, of course–but also transcendent in personality, form and abilities.
Let’s take Azriel, the main character of “If Death Should Love Me”. He is the Angel of Death, yet, he is much more than just that, although he doesn’t quite know it.
In the character of Azriel we see a man who is much more than. While still a human, he had no bigger abilities than all men do. He was bound the by limitations of the human form. Yet, when he passed away and consequently became Azriel, his human form no longer confined him to these limitation. It was then, that I, as the author, had to decide what his skills would be.
There were a series of questions I had to ask myself.
- If God had to endow a man with super human powers so as it fit his calling, what would they be and why?
- As a superior being, what types of things should the character be able to accomplish that would sound feasible?
- What is believable and how do I make is so?
- What types of struggles, if any, would this present the character with?
- And, most importantly, what would attract the reader?
You see, the thing about people who enjoy paranormal romance is that fact that they pick it up BECAUSE it’s more than. Period.
So how does an author execute a story with a Hero who is ethereal, unparalleled, attractive AND believable, but also GOOD? That’s the main struggle with writing Paranormal Romance. Because the main character, the hero of the story, MUST encompass ALL OF THESE THINGS.
Carol, if you please, can you tell us a bit about the differences between my main character and yours?
Rose, I agree with you about the dream man part for romance heroes. When writing a hero, he’s got to ooze that appeal that drives readers wild. Of course the looks are important, but a big part of making a memorable hero is his personality.
With most contemporary romance books, the hero is portrayed as rugged. A strong hero is the type to make readers swoon because he’ll do anything to for the woman that he loves. By showing his devotion to the heroine, readers are going to root for him.
However, with strong heroes, you have to be careful not to make them look like jerks. I’ve read a couple of books, where the guy was macho and came across as egotistical. I was thinking to myself “Am I supposed to love him?”
With my heroes, I like them to be strong, yet have a softer side. A good example is Cole Ashton in Going Home Again. He’s a mechanic, loves to work with his hands, and drives a truck. The epitome of a manly man. Yet, you also see his nice side as he helps Rachel and her family. Reading about his good deeds and his past with Rachel, you can’t help but fall in love with him. At the end, you want him to find the happiness he deserves.
Some readers may think heroes with a soft side are weak, but in my opinion that’s what makes them stand out. Having your strong hero with a sensitive side is showing that it’s okay not to be tough all the time. It shows that they’re human like the rest of us.
When creating a hero, one must then consider what elements his opposite must portray? What things would that character have that counterbalances his counterpart?
The thing is, when the Paranormal Romance author creates the SUPER Villain, he must be just as conglomerate of the hero. His makeup should be just as complex and layered. However, he must also be the opposite of the hero–evil in every way. Even if said evil is hidden behind a guise of goodness.
Such was the case for my Super villain in “If Death Should Love Me”.
Everyone who knows anything about angels, knows Archangel Gabriel. He is one of the primary angel figures that most of us recognize as a monumental source of good within the spirit realm.
Yet, I took what was known as good, and turned it into evil. It was in implementing this “twist” that I gave Gabriel many layers; one that most readers could understand and relate to. I also used the already renowned mythological history of Archangel Gabriel to establish his “more than” factor.
Hard! As! Hell!
For 2 reasons:
- He had to be accurate to mythology.
- He also had to be believable as a villain.
It is in the ability to play with these factors and make them persuasive, that us, the paranormal authors, find our biggest challenge. But, it’s also in the capacity to marry them that we find our greatest victory and win our largest feat.
Carol, what’s it like creating a believable villain for you?
When creating a villain, I want someone who’ll get the readers riled up.
To me, a villain has to be so bad that you as a reader can’t wait for them to get their comeuppance.
In Going Home Again, Rachel’s boyfriend, Jeremy is a villain. He’s the exact opposite of Cole, whereas he’s insensitive, selfish, and a cad. Seeing Rachel with him, readers are aghast to how he can be so heartless towards her in her time of need.
He’s one of the reasons why Rachel and Cole are kept apart. Even though, Rachel’s heart belongs with Cole, she feels a need to stay loyal to Jeremy. Yet, she slowly begins to realize her “perfect” boyfriend isn’t so great at all.
As I was re-reading the story, there were times I wanted to give Jeremy a kick in the butt or shout at Rachel to leave that jerk. In my opinion, that’s one of the things that make a great villain. For readers, I want them to feel like jumping through the pages and slapping the villain.
I find that it’s incredibly hard creating characters of any kind; normal or paranormal. Each element encounters its own challenges. If I were to be completely honest, it’s a wonder that we accomplish it at all. LOL
Rose, I agree with you about the characters. It can be tough creating them, yet that’s one of the tasks that comes along with being a writer.
Well, it was great chatting about this with Carol. Carol, thanks for it! And, dear reader, stay tuned for our next installment of “Para-Con with Rose & Carol”.