Today I thought I would step out of my editor and CEO role and write as my alter ego erotic romance author Alyssa Aaron. One of the things authors are often asked in interviews is why they write in the genre they write in and if they have any aspirations to move outside that genre.
In short, I think I write romance because love isn’t easy. It’s a challenge. I’ve always loved challenges.
I also get bored easily so I need work that changes. The path to love is varied with a virtually endless number of variations that can be explored within a virtually unlimited number of scenarios. Change one thing on the path to love and a whole new array of possibilities rises to the fore.
I’m also fascinated with what motivates people…what makes them tick…and why they tick in the particular cadence they tick in. Nowhere is this more important than in the romance genre where two divergent personalities with all their accompanying thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and backstories are pushed into the same orbit and forced into frequent collisions.
I’m also fascinated by small unconnected bits of trivia and knowledge. I like the fact that as a writer of romance any stray bit of knowledge or trivia has the potential to at some point inspire a story or be worked into one. Nothing goes to waste in the life of a romance author. EVERYTHING is fodder for a story.
Those are my principle reasons for writing romance. But what really does it for me in terms of writing romance is the challenge of creating two distinctly different people who have very different backgrounds, beliefs, interests, goals, and desires and thrusting them together. Often an idea starts out as more of a challenge…can these two people who are this radically different forge a romantic relationship? If so how?
With His Perfect Submissive the story involves a heroine with some truly heavy baggage. She was kidnapped and raped when she was seven. Because of those events and the aftermath of them she’s built up a strong distaste for people in the mental health community, counselors, psychologists and the like. She’s internalized her bad experiences with a counselor and has attached it to all counselors. Because she distrusts counselors as a group she has never participated in therapy…which she sees as wallowing in the past and its misery when all she wants to do is leave it behind. Also because she abhors the idea of therapy she keeps her past to herself not wanting to see pity on people’s faces and not wanting to be asked whether she’s had counseling and not wanting to be told she should seek some.
A lot of authors would have made the hero a psychologist or a counselor because that would have made him essentially everything she hates and distrusts… Though I see potential mileage in that scenario I didn’t go that way. Instead I gave her Slade…a hero who supports her…who nurtures her…who teaches her to trust…all before he knows of her aversion to mental health professionals. In all honesty, I knew he would want her to get counseling…and I knew it would be a bone of contention between them…but I didn’t know how it would shake out in the end. Would the dominant Slade force the issue…insist she get counseling because he sees it as something that would benefit her? Would she eventually comply and realize not all experiences with mental health professionals are as bad as those she experienced as a child? Or would he trust her judgment, her reasons for the feelings she has and honor them? In all honesty I saw mileage in both directions. Most of us in this culture see counseling as the path to cure for mental health issues. But what if someone doesn’t see that as the path for them. What if they have good reasons for their beliefs and decisions. Does someone else have the right or responsibility to intercede and force them to do something they are conscientiously opposed to? To be honest, I didn’t know how it would shake out myself till the end of the book.
Dominant’s Regret my current work in progress (albeit very slow progress) is a different kind of story. The hero and heroine in this story also have heavy baggage…yet most of the baggage they labor under is of their own making. They are married but they have been estranged for a number of years – mostly because the hero had a somewhat flawed view of dominance and submission. He used his position of dominance to bully the heroine into compliance about things she felt strongly about. He did this without considering the heroine’s feelings enough. The result is that she left him.
The easy way to write this story would have been to make him resentful of the fact that she left him…but that’s not what I did. Instead, the hero fully understands why she left (or thinks he does). He believes she was justified. He recognizes the error of his ways, regrets his earlier behavior and wants another chance to make a relationship work with her. Though she is drawn to the BDSM lifestyle she doesn’t trust the concept of a power exchange relationship. She doesn’t trust him as a dom. She’s been once bitten and is now twice shy. So the question in this story is can they forge a relationship that works? What will the parameters of it be? Will they give up the BDSM aspects of their previous relationship in spite of the fact that power exchange, and kinky sex really does it for both of them – or will they forge new parameters of a new relationship? How will they go about that?
At this point I’m pretty sure they will forge a new relationship – somehow. But how remains to be seen. My heroine has just asked my stunned hero for a divorce. I’m not sure exactly how my hero is going to respond. At this point he’s stunned. He’s looked at her return as a second chance. She’s pulled that rug right out from under him. How will he respond? What will he do to convince her to give him a second chance? Will she – and at what cost to her?
These are the kinds of details and questions I love playing with. They are why I write romance.
What draws you to the romance genre?
You see…what I like about writing romance is the twists and turns on the way to falling in love (or sometimes staying in love) in spite of the many challenges along the way. I like that I don’t know exactly HOW it will come to pass. I like figuring that out alongside my characters. It is a bit like being immersed in a really good book…one of those ones that keeps you thinking about it constantly during the times you can’t actively be reading it.
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