Please join us in welcoming author Vivien Dean to TNA today. She’s here to chat with us about her just released The Charlatan’s Conquest, the second book published in the new Dreamspinner Press house line, Dreamspun Beyond.
The Heart of Paranormal Romance
It’s no secret that, of all the flavors of romance, paranormal is my favorite. More than half of the stories I write have some sort of paranormal angle. Almost two-thirds of my romance TBR pile is the same. I love the idea of supernatural powers being a part of an everyday world, as well as the conflict that comes from paranormal characters grappling with human morality, whether it’s internal or external.
But no paranormal romance would be worth my time if I didn’t care about the characters. I want to get lost in the emotions of a story, feelings that ultimately lead to their happy ever after (or sometimes their happy for now). It’s not enough for two protagonists to fall in love. I need to believe in them as people, to empathize with their ups and downs, because they are the real heart of what drives a successful romance, regardless of genre.
That’s one reason why I try to add other types of relationships, other than the primary romance, to my paranormal stories. We can learn a lot about someone based on how he/she interacts with others. How do they behave with a parent? With a sibling? At work? In front of a stranger? Because it can vary from person to person, from relationship to relationship. Every detail matters.
In The Charlatan’s Conquest, non-romantic relationships are at the very core of both heroes’ motivations. Cruz is the oldest of five children, the product of a loving, lower-middle-class family. He grew up as a caretaker, as firstborn tend to be when they have working parents who can’t afford other childcare. As soon as he started making money of his own, he contributed financially to the household. Then, his youngest sister was diagnosed with cancer, and the bills started piling up. Of course, he had to help. He learned that’s what family does, and he did so both willingly and eagerly. At the beginning of the story when he gets approached with the possibility of making $20,000 for what he’s told is a babysitting job, he’s conflicted. He needs the money, but he also feels like he has to earn it.
On the other hand, Brody—the skeptic—has a very distant relationship with his father. Ever since his mother died when he was nine, he and his father have danced around each other. This lack of a relationship is what’s significant for Brody. While they butt heads constantly, Brody still does what he can to keep his father in his life, including fighting for him when he thinks it’s necessary. It’s this drive that crashes Cruz and Brody’s lives together.
These and more—like Cruz’s relationship with his ghost hunter best friend—brought Cruz and Brody to life for me. I understood where these men were coming from, so when they hit the inevitable rough patches, their reactions made sense even if I didn’t necessarily agree with them. I look for interactions like these in every paranormal romance I read or write. Having a ghost or a vampire or a dragon is fascinating and fun, but it’s the people within and around them that make the story worth it.
About the Book
With love and ghosts, the challenge is figuring out what’s real.
Software engineer Cruz Guthrie needs money for his sister’s cancer treatments. He needs it so badly he’s willing to stand in for a ghost hunter friend and investigate a millionaire’s supposed specters. It should be an easy gig—after all, nobody thinks the haunting is real.
Neurological researcher Brody Weber is furious that Cruz would take advantage of Brody’s father. But his mind changes when spirits manifest—and he realizes Cruz genuinely wants to help. When they learn the paranormal activity centers on Brody, Cruz is willing to fight to free Brody from the entities determined to make his life miserable. With a little help from friends and family—both living and dead—they must figure out why Brody is attracting spirits and how to banish them. Only then can they pursue a future together.
About the Author
VIVIEN DEAN is a firm believer that love doesn’t care about gender. That’s why her titles encompass both GLBT and het, erotic and sweet, as well as a wide variety of genres. After growing up in the snowy and isolated Midwest, she went off in search of her creative muse. She performed on stage, wrote and directed indie films in Orlando, then met her British soulmate online. One wedding, two children, and ten addresses later, she resides in the Bay Area where it’s easy to indulge in her favorite pastimes—good theater, great movies, and amazing food.
Vivien is a four-time EPIC eBook Award winner and collaborated with Pepper Espinoza to write as Jamie Craig for five years.