People have asked me since I won the Presents contest how on earth I got from writing military romantic suspense to writing about a Spanish magnate bent on revenge. What could my special forces guys possibly have in common with tycoons?
Lots, in fact. First, yes, switching from suspense mode to Presents mode requires some mental adjustment. In a suspense, there’s an element of danger. In a Presents, the element of danger is typically that wonderful alpha male tycoon we love to read about. He’s sexy, thrilling, and about as untamed as a tiger.
Military guys are sexy, thrilling, and daring. They eat danger for breakfast. They are alpha males accustomed to taking care of themselves. They are commanding, authoritative, somewhat arrogant from time to time…..sound familiar? 🙂
Basically, I write alpha males, those sexy, irritating, arrogant men that not one of us modern ladies would put up with for a second. But we love to read about them because they are larger than life, they would kill to protect what is theirs, and all that passion gets turned onto our heroine — and becomes hers forever when she tames the tiger. He is only tame for her, though. The rest of the world he will still chew up and spit out if it messes with him.
In that respect, I think I could write about a medieval knight or a duke (and I have done both) and, except for era and research, it wouldn’t be a problem because my men are always warriors. Whether they wear silk and Armani, chain mail, a cravat, or BDUs and greasepaint, they are warriors. I love to write about warriors, men who are intense and extreme and who still have, somewhere inside, a core of vulnerability that only the heroine can find.
The lovely Jane Porter once gave a workshop where she talked about how we write to a myth, perhaps something that resonated with us as children. It could be Cinderella (ragamuffin woman becomes gorgeous woman who meets prince, leaves him, and he tears up the kingdom to find her again), or Snow White (virginal heroine, evil stepmother), etc. My myth is Beauty and the Beast. I think Presents novels are perfectly suited to B&B — nasty hero not quite what he seems, transforms into handsome prince with the heroine’s love, happy every after.
Yeah, gets me every time. 🙂 Whether it’s a military commando or an international tycoon, my beast is transformed by love. That’s it in a nutshell. The lay of the story may be different — military guy helps heroine escape from and find killer versus tycoon getting revenge on heroine for leaving him and almost ruining his business — but the man is, at his core, the mythical Beast in pain. The heroine helps him peel away those layers and find his true self.
If you’re a writer, what’s your myth? Can you look back over your work and spot one particular myth at work? Do you perhaps have two myths or more? Look for the core elements and think about it. It’s fascinating!