Keep On Keeping On…
One of the things I love most about romance is the fact characters “transition” throughout the story. They start off in their ordinary worlds, rarely aware that because of their flawed beliefs, something has to change in order for them to be truly happy.
The greatest challenge for a romance writer is delivering the expected HEA (happy ever after) at the end of the story while at various points in the story making the reader fear it might not actually happen. In other words, we make our characters work very hard to deserve true love. They are tested time and again—whether it’s by having to solve a crime, dealing with a family crisis, or, as in my latest release, being turned into something less (or more) than human. The tests or challenges or roadblocks characters experience are actually opportunities for characters to start fresh. To put the past aside and begin again…
When one door closes, another one opens, right?
In TURNED, book one in the Belladonna Agency series, the hero, FBI special agent Ty Duncan, has just experienced an enormous and unwanted transition—being forcibly turned into a vampire. The story starts six months after his brutal turning as he attempts to recruit the heroine, Ana Martin, to join the Belladonna Agency, a black ops organization that hunts vampire criminals. Although he still has an important job, he mourns the loss of his humanity, and despises his newly dark and edgy instincts. Ty’s most important transition in the story is not from human to vampire, however; it is from self-hatred to acceptance. This very much mirrors the heroine’s transition—Ana has a hard time believing she’s a good person because of the mistakes she’s made in the past, including being part of a gang and landing in prison. With Ana, Ty learns to move beyond the past, embrace his inner goodness, and fight for love and happiness.
TURNED takes place in the same world as my Para-Ops series, which began with CHOSEN BY BLOOD. In that story, approximately ten years after Ty is turned, the United States has experienced its own transition—vampires no longer hide in the dark but are part of society. So are various other creatures, including weres, mages, and wraiths, some of whom started out human and some who did not. As in TURNED, both human and paranormal creatures still struggle with a change in their life, and with putting aside their fear in order to accept themselves and others. It’s obvious by the link between these two series that this is an important theme to me.
Ty and the Para-Ops characters each deal with their transitions in different ways but one thing remains true for both: love is the key to my characters finding acceptance and moving forward to be the best they can be. I use my fictional characters to get this message across. My hope is that each time readers open one of my books, they relish the beginning and dread the end (because they love the story so much, of course) but that ultimately they are inspired to move towards their own brand of acceptance and happiness.