Jaye: Okay, let’s jump right into this, Reno. Why do you like writing paranormal characters? Vampires, demons, therianthropes?
Reno: You took the easy route asking me first!
Jaye: I have to edit afterward. Cut me a break here! 😆
Reno: Touché. I think the major part of why I like writing paranormal stories is that these creatures allow me to dig into my darker side. The characters are allowed, even encouraged, to say and do things not accepted as being socially or politically correct.
Jaye: Makes me kind of afraid to go to sleep next to you now. :help: But I have to agree. Writing paranormal characters that have different or no moral standards allows me to play around with my darker side. Does this bother you, given that I do all the cooking? :eating:
Reno: Is that why my pizza tasted a little extra spicy tonight? cough We’re getting off track here. I’ll admit, I have to blame Anne Rice for my love of vampires. I was twelve years old when I read The Vampire Lestat.
Hooked. What was your first experience with the paranormal, writing or otherwise?
Jaye: Anne Rice is way too wordy and much too paragraph-less for my reading tastes. The first literary vampire that made me have dirty thoughts was Henry from Tanya Huff’s Blood books.
The unfortunately short-lived television series based on those books, Blood Ties, got him totally right. Too bad the show was on the LifeTime Channel and only lasted two seasons. I think if they brought it back today on a cable station that isn’t quite so niche, the show would do well.
Reno: I missed out on that one, but I did watch every episode of Forever Knight. Now that we write our own stories, I prefer writing vampires who like being what they are instead of angsting over their situation. Demons are probably my favorite paranormal species to write, though. It gives me a chance to pick your brain regarding your experiences with Roman Catholicism. Having grown up without any religion at all, the way religion and supernatural lore intersect fascinates me.
Jaye: I enjoy taking what I like from the established lore and tweaking that a little, but without changing it too much.
Reno: Yeah, I like to stick to the original lore as much as possible. Were-beasts have changed quite a bit through the last few decades. They’re certainly sexier than the black-and-white 1950s versions.
Jaye: One of the things I like most about how we tweaked therianthrope lore in our StarCrossed series is how shape-shifting is a painful and lengthy process for creatures who are intrinsically evil, whereas the metamorphosis for creatures who are inherently good is rapid, seamless, and painless. I kind of like the older movies in that regard, like An American Werewolf in London and The Howling, rather than newer movies where the shifting is instantaneous in all cases.
Reno: I like some of the old film trickery of using sound and leaving some things to the imagination. Although I guess Jace can get pretty gruesome on the page.
Jaye: Jace. Rawr. I’m sorry, you were saying?
Reno: I thought I was easily distracted. 🙂 Jace is probably my favorite character to write. He’s so unapologetic about everything. Sometimes I feel bad for Konnor. One of the other reasons I like to write demons and shifters is because I really enjoy the animal instincts and traits of those creatures. Konnor and Jace are extremely pack-minded in their relationship. I love playing with that concept.
Jaye: I like playing with that aspect of Jace and Konnor also. For those not acquainted with these two characters, Jace and Konnor Barton are mirror-image twins who are demons. They had a very bad start in life as hostages of a religious cult that used them to control the human population.
Even though they were rescued from that life and given a chance to better themselves, they still bear the scars of those experiences in their own ways. It’s fascinating to play with broken yet ultimately strong characters like them, exploring our manifold human frailties and themes of other-ness through them.
Reno: It’s another way of showing how nothing is black and white. Looking forward at our books-to-be-written list, we have plenty of paranormal in store. In 2012, we’ll introduce ghosts to the mix, although Jace has already had a few brushes with phantoms. I think living in a paranormally active house has certainly given us inspiration!
Jaye: Nice segue to Monday’s post! 😈 Seriously, that’s the fulcrum of most of our work, isn’t it? That there is no black and white, but only shades of gray. In my former life, when I designed programming for computers, there was one particular term that fascinated me—a concept called “fuzzy logic,” which defines reasoning that is not fixed or exact, but rather approximate. Most of our characters fall into that category, both the ones who may appear outwardly good and those who appear outwardly evil.
Reno: It’s the not knowing that keeps a character interesting to me as a writer. I find our characters grow and develop as we write them. Their traits and personal quirks aren’t from a checklist, but evolve organically as we write, some of which are hellacious faults that would be too far over the top for mortal humans. That’s a lot of fun to mess around with. But I have to admit, that ultimately the reason I love writing paranormal stories is because I wish those creatures were real. If the only way I can make them be so is through constructing that world myself and sharing those adventures, then that is how I’ll do it.
Jaye: Without thinking too hard, give me three words that immediately come to your mind when I say “vampire.”
Reno: Ironically, “sun” is the first word that comes to mind. Then “coffin” and “biting.”
Jaye: Same question for “shape-shifter.”
Reno: Fallon. 🙂 Strength. Raw sex. Maybe that’s why shifter books are so popular these days. The fantasy of being animalistic and a servant to your baser instincts can be sexy.
Jaye: I guess we’d better get back to that new story we recently started, huh?
Reno: Speaking of vampires . . . . :diablogrin:
All commenters to our three posts this weekend will be entered into two drawings for a complete set of our entire paranormal backlist (PDF format). Have a safe and happy Halloween weekend, everyone!
–Jaye & Reno