I am privileged to be joined today by Tara Lain to talk about the challenges of writing paranormal versus contemporary romance.
(Tales of the Harker Pack #3)
Winter Thane was raised on the two cardinal rules of werewolf existence: don’t reveal yourself to humans under penalty of death, and there’s no such thing as a gay werewolf. It’s no surprise when his father drags him from his wild life in remote Canada back to Connecticut to meet his old pack in hopes it will persuade Winter to abandon his love of sex with human males. Of course Dad’s hopes are dashed when they come face-to-face with the gay werewolves in the Harker pack.
Winter takes one look at FBI agent, Matt Partridge, and decides bird is his favorite food. Partridge is embroiled in an investigation into drug dealing and the death of a fellow agent. He can’t let himself get distracted by the young, platinum-haired beast, but then Winter proves invaluable in the search for clues, a move that winds them both up in chains and facing imminent death. Winter quickly learns his father’s motives are questionable, the pack alphas are a bunch of pussies, humans aren’t quite what they seem, and nothing in the forests of Connecticut is pure except love.
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Writing Paranormal vs Contemporary Romance: What’s the Challenge?
Hi, I’m Tara Lain and I write the Beautiful Boys of Romance. I’m so happy to be here to help launch my new novel, WINTER’S WOLF, a MM paranormal romance. You may know that I also write contemporary romance and I’ve been asked about the differences in writing the two genres. There are a bunch – fur being one! LOL.
Probably the main difference I notice in writing paranormal is plot. In paranormal, there’s simply more of it. It makes sense. If an author is striving to do a deep character study in a novel, she’s likely not going to choose a werewolf or a vampire to express that character. Not that paranormal characters don’t have and shouldn’t have deep and subtle expressions, but probably for deep psychological and emotional studies, an author will choose contemporary characters – or perhaps historical. Generally, if you’re going to go to the trouble of creating a mythical creature, you probably want a story through which you express that myth. So paranormal romances need more complex plot and storyline. Why write a witch if all he’s going to do is agonize over his relationship with his mother? So when I write my paranormal books – I have two paranormal series currently – I’m faced with developing a fairly complicated storyline. In Winter’s Wolf, for example, there are all kinds of layers of bad guys and plots going on, lots of hidden agendas, and guns are drawn! In the contemporary story that comes after Winter’s Wolf, called Knight of Ocean Avenue (releases May 1st) the most complex plot point is the fact that the hero is 25 and doesn’t know he’s gay and yet I wrote over 80,000 words about the subtle coming to himself of this character.
Of course, paranormal also has worldbuilding. Since I set all my paranormals in contemporary reality (so far), I don’t do nearly as much building of worlds as many authors who write scifi or more elaborate paranormal that takes place in largely mythical worlds. Still, it is both exhilarating and scary to sit at your computer and know you have total power over – power! You can make anything possible as long as you explain it logically and maintain all your plot points consistently. That, in itself, is a challenge. For example, I have a series in which my hero is “the most powerful male witch in 10 generations”, but just how powerful is that? All-powerful creatures are boring, so what are his flaws and vulnerabilities?
Paranormal stories are often wonderful metaphors for life which gives them an added dimension. Who is more of a minority group in contemporary society than someone who turns furry at the full moon? Who has more to hide than a superhero?
The biggest challenge in writing paranormal, however, is making it so believable that the reader cries and empathizes and sympathizes with your characters as if they’re everyday humans. This means the author has to believe the story totally before the reader will. Probably not all authors are set up to relate to fuzzy or fang-ridden offspring – but I find I love the variety and balance of creating both paranormal and contemporary romance.
Walk slowly. Look casual. Matt left the way he’d come—out the back door. When his feet hit dirt, he jogged away from the club and ducked behind the shed that had been built on the edge of the forest.
Going to die. Heart can’t beat this hard and survive.
He leaned against the shed and gasped for breath, but his cock had grown to the size of a monster, stealing all his oxygen. Think. What the fuck are you doing? No reasonable human being could believe that Winter Thane wanted Matt Partridge, so there had to be an ulterior motive. The dude had asked the marshal about him. For all Matt knew, Winter could be involved in the disappearance of the agent. Maybe he wanted to discredit Matt or—maybe he had something to do with the weird wolf stories. Jesus, the only man he’d ever seen who looked more like a wolf than Cole Harker had to be Winter Thane. Those eyes. Even his teeth were sharp. All the better to eat you with. He closed his eyes and banged his head against the metal siding. Those teeth scraping his cock—
“Dreaming of me?”
Matt’s eyes flew open. “Shit! How did you get here?”
He looked over his shoulder. “Like you said. Out the front, around the side.”
“But I didn’t hear you.”
He grinned. Oh yes, those teeth glistened. “I’m sneaky.”
Matt took a breath, pushed away from the shed, and walked a couple of steps toward the trees. Need distance. “Look. I don’t mean to lead you on, but I’m with the FBI and this isn’t a good idea—”
The hand that gripped his shoulder must have been iron. In one move, Winter grabbed him, pulled him against a body so hard and hot it penetrated Matt’s jacket on contact, hauled Matt’s head back, and covered his mouth in a devouring kiss.
Tongue. Teeth. Perfection.
Winter held Matt’s head both hard and gentle, like he wanted to control him but didn’t want to hurt him. Oh God, so nice. He tasted like beer and smelled like—what? Musky and clean at the same time, like Matt’s dog Buster when he was freshly washed. Man, he wanted to bury his nose in Winter’s neck like he did with Buster.
Winter reduced the speed and intensity of the kiss from fast food to a gourmet meal. He licked and nibbled, tasted and savored, his tongue a finely tuned instrument exploring every cranny of Matt’s mouth. He’d never been so completely kissed. So much so that even the screaming pressure of his cock couldn’t make him want Winter to move on. Matt twined his arms around Winter’s neck. Standing only six feet, he couldn’t get his cock to meet Winter’s, but the prod of that big rod against his belly made him want to beg. He pulled his mouth away an inch. “I should arrest you for carrying a lethal weapon.”
Tales of the Harker Pack Series
About the Author
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her bestselling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.
She lives with her soulmate husband and her soulmate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!