Guest Post: When Love Meets Monsters
When Love Meets Monsters – Paranormal Romance!
By Kelli A. Wilkins
October is my favorite month, and I’m writing about what happens when horror meets romance –paranormal romance!
Although I create hot and spicy romances, I actually started out writing horror stories. For some, that might seem like an odd combination, but it works for me. One half of my brain writes the horror, and the other half writes the romance.
I like writing horror fiction because I get to explore different settings, plots, and characters that I couldn’t develop in romance. Sometimes after working on several romances, I’ll switch moods and write a horror story to give my writing muscles a change of pace.
My horror short stories are more psychological/spooky than gory, and it’s fun to add something scary (or strange!) to a romance. Sometimes it’s hard to keep a paranormal romance within bounds – you have to blend just enough horror elements into the love story without grossing out (or turning off) the heroine or hero… or readers!
Other times, the challenge to writing a good paranormal romance is creating a believable plot or finding a way to make a “monster” attractive, romantic, or sexy. If one of your characters is a monster (of the non-human variety) you must believe your creature is real, whether he’s a vampire, a werewolf, or something else entirely.
If you don’t write the creature believably, readers won’t buy into it, and there certainly won’t be any sparks flying in your romance. As a writer, you need to make your monster as real as any other human character and flesh him out completely with a backstory, goals, motivation, and conflicts. (What kind of monster is he? How did he get that way? What is life like for him?)
My contemporary paranormal, Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover started out with the premise “What if a vampire went to the beach and fell in love with a surfer?” The book is extra “unique” in that it’s told in first person from the male character’s point of view.
I made Anya (the vampire) sympathetic and sexy, and not overtly terrifying – yet she still flexed her vampire muscles when she needed to. This story could have easily gone down the horror road and become a full-fledged vampire story, but I wanted to show a softer, kinder side to the Anya and embrace her once-human side.
My gay paranormal, Killer in Wolf’s Clothing is not your usual werewolf love story. Readers should know that Deke, the “werewolf” character, doesn’t actually turn into a “wolf-man” – he’s more of a shifter who transforms into a super-aggressive Alpha male during the full moon. As I say in the book, “It’s more Incredible Hulk than American Werewolf in London.”
I almost had a problem writing Killer in Wolf’s Clothing because I’m “old-school” when it comes to creatures of the night. I expect my werewolves to be violent and vicious, and anything but cuddly. In my opinion, if a person is going to turn into a werewolf/wolf-man, he should look like the werewolves in Dog Soldiers. (A horror movie I highly recommend.)
My latest paranormal, Beauty & the Bigfoot (yes, you read that right!) blends the world of paranormal romance with comedy. (Because, really, how can you not?) From page one, the book doesn’t take itself seriously, and neither should readers. It’s called a paranormal comedy for a reason.
Beauty & the Bigfoot started out with the premise: “What if a cryptozoologist’s daughter fell in love with a captured Bigfoot?” I liked the idea, but I wasn’t sure where I could take it.
When I created the character of Bigfoot/Joe, I had to make sure he wasn’t too scary or too intimidating to Tara, the heroine. To her, he looked like a really hairy guy. She initially blames her attraction to him “on hormones or pheromones or the fact that she really needs a date” but later realizes that Joe is her soulmate. I humanized Joe in several scenes, letting readers see that he’s really not at all the monster everyone thinks he is – without giving too much away.
The book was a lot of fun to write and I had a great time creating the characters. Through Tara and her eccentric father, Charlie, I was able to turn up the camp level and add in many wacky references and asides.
The Viking’s Witch is a historical romance with paranormal elements set in Scotland. The heroine, Odaria, is what they called a witch back then – nowadays we’d call her a psychic and a healer. Odaria’s “magic” is the catalyst that sets the story in motion. When the book opens, Odaria is about to be burned alive for being a witch. She calls down a spell and curses the villagers while unknowingly invoking a Viking raid. Or so it seems…
Odaria uses her abilities for self-preservation and to get revenge on the people who hurt her. Rothgar (the hero) doesn’t believe in her magic and thinks she’s merely pretending to be a witch to frighten people. But after a highly-charged interaction with Brennan (the villain), Rothgar gets a taste of what Odaria could really do if she set her mind to it.
I loved showing readers (and Rothgar) Odaria’s powers of clairvoyance, telekinesis, and psychometry. The scenes that included the “magic” elements were a lot of fun to write. I’ve always been interested in psychic phenomena and other New Age/paranormal subjects, so it was easy for me to incorporate what I know into Odaria’s character.
Vampires, shapeshifters, witches… no matter what subgenre of paranormal romance you write, readers need to be swept into the story and buy into the premise that you’ve created. Your job as a writer is to make the reader believe in the paranormal character and take the reader on a journey with the main characters as they fall in love. The situations in the story need to be plausible and told in a way that grips the reader, even if the premise seems a bit far-fetched (at first).
When writing paranormal romance, don’t be afraid to break patterns, make your characters different, or have them go against stereotype. Give readers something unexpected, turn a cliché on its ear, or use a different point of view – it’ll make your work stand out. Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover takes place at the beach – and that’s not a place you expect to find a vampire.
Here are the book summaries and links to Beauty & the Bigfoot and Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover.
Beauty & the Bigfoot
Can true love exist between the species?
Tara’s world is anything but normal. Her father is known as the resident crackpot – just because he’s on a personal mission to catch a Sasquatch. Despite all of the “Bigfoot evidence” cluttering their house, Tara never really believed in Bigfoot – until the day her father brought him home.
She affectionately names her father’s prized catch ‘Joe’ and discovers there’s something oddly familiar – and erotic – about him. With a media circus descending on her father’s ranch and a showdown brewing with the local sheriff, Tara risks her life to save Joe.
When Tara finally succumbs to her animalistic urges, she learns that Joe is not exactly who – or what – he seems. Joe is more than a Sasquatch – he’s her soul mate!
Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover
The moment Brian spotted Anya sitting on the moonlit beach, he was hooked. Beautiful, smart, and sexy, Anya was the girl of his dreams. She didn’t mind that he spent the hot summer days riding the ocean waves, because once the sun set, he belonged to her—all night long! Everything is perfect between them—until Brian discovers Anya’s shocking secret. Can Brian give up the sun, sand, and surf to be with the woman he loves? Read Brian’s first-hand account of their unusual love story in… Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at paranormal romances. I welcome comments and questions from readers and other authors. Feel free to contact me via the email address on the News page of my site or on social media. Follow my blog and/or sign up for my newsletter to learn more about me and my books.
Kelli A. Wilkins
About the Author
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels.
Her paranormal-comedy, Beauty & the Bigfoot, was published in September 2017.
Kelli released Trust with Hearts, a contemporary romance, in July 2017. Her third gay romance, Four Days with Jack, was released in June 2017. Kelli’s trilogy of erotic romance novellas, Midsummer Night’s Delights, Midwinter Night’s Delights, and Ultimate Night’s Delights was published in spring 2017.
Loving a Wild Stranger was published in January 2017. This historical/pioneer romance is set in the wilds of the Michigan Territory and blends tender romance with adventure.
Kelli's third Medallion Press romance, Lies, Love & Redemption is a spicy historical western set on the Nebraska prairie in 1877.
Her horror short fiction has appeared in several anthologies. If you like to be scared, don’t miss Dead Til Dawn and Kropsy’s Curse.
Kelli’s writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative guide filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.
She also writes a weekly blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/.
Visit her website, www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings, read book excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter here.
Here are a few links to find Kelli & her writings on the web
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins
Facebook Contemporary Romances: https://www.facebook.com/Contemporary-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1965702023664339/
Facebook Gay Romances: https://www.facebook.com/GayRomancesbyKelliAWilkins/
Facebook Historical Romances: https://www.facebook.com/Historical-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1703805359922371/
Medallion Press Author Page: http://medallionpress.com/author/kelli-wilkins/