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Whistling in the Dark – Guest Blog by Renee Bernard
I’ve been writing Historical Romances for a while now and recently added Romantic Comedies into the mix. But since I can never do anything in a straight line, I decided to sprinkle mine with my very own brand of Paranormal. My paranormal has no blood splatter, no secret societies hunting other secret paranormal societies, no fur, no fangs and an apparent shocking lack of mystical weaponry. The Eternity Gambit Series kicked off with DEVIL TO PAY and was recently joined by DEVIL MAY CARE…and in my world, Hades Enterprises, LLC (H.E.LLc) is just another corporation trying to survive a recent merger (with Heaven, Inc.), trying to hit their quarterly targets and trying to hang on for dear life. Hell doesn’t manufacture evil, brimstone or any products you’d find in a catalog. They simply track evil, write up reports, patent new trends in how things go wrong and enjoy casual Fridays in the office. (No souls are tortured or collected. Souls are not baseball cards. Someone should have sent out a memo.)
In DEVIL TO PAY, when Lucifer (the seventh unlucky guy to have that title, by the way) meets the mortal woman of his dreams, it’s a romantic chase like no other. Because angels don’t lie and telling a girl that your desk’s name plate reads “Lord of Darkness” can really make that first date awkward…Then I made my heroine sane, funny, smart, employed and completely healthy (as in not emotionally broken or scarred in any way). Why? Because no one else seems to be writing those women into books and I knew no sane, funny, smart, employed and completely healthy woman was going to flippantly date Satan. It’s a non-starter a.k.a. the “perfect conflict” for a romance.
Or at least, it is in my humble opinion. Because I didn’t want Armageddon in the room. And I seriously think when everything is over the top, it’s easy to lose your emotional connection to characters, to a story, to any essential questions you’re trying to ask. Even in a comedy–or maybe especially in comedy. Lately there seems to be a sharp edge to humor that I don’t remember running into as often. Less wit and more snark, less finesse and more slapstick carpet-bombing.
The challenge for me was restraint. To take a scenario that could be ridiculous but then try grounding it with very real emotional contexts. As in: what if you fall in love with the Absolute Most Impossible Person? What if Being Good means Accepting the Worst? What if Death isn’t just something you fear, but a guy you take out to play putt-putt?
Is it silly? Sure. But then again, did I miss the train when Paranormal Romances became too serious? Was there a memo? Isn’t there ultimately something to smile about when we get into these grim, scholarly discussions of who would survive in a zombie apocalypse or why one fictional world’s take on fictional beings CANNOT contradict the fictional world of another fictional being?
So, here I am. Whistling in the dark and writing paranormal romantic comedies that don’t look like anyone else’s… But if push comes to shove, I’m happy to stand on funny, on romance and best of all, on the solid truth beneath my feet: In my world, the scariest things on the planet are Human Beings. And I don’t see how anyone can disagree with that! 😉
About Renee Bernard
Renee Bernard is an award winning and USA Today bestselling author of historical romance and recently, contemporary romantic comedy. She won RT’s Reviewer’s Choice award for “Best Debut Historical” in 2006 and never slowed down (she missed the memo). By the end of 2014, she will have fifteen books out there in the world. She has published with Simon & Schuster and Berkley as well as branching out into independent publishing, audio books and comic books. For over four years she has been the host of “The Romance Bookmark” (formerly “Canned Laughter and Coffee”), a weekly internet radio show with between 80-100K registered listeners via Readers Entertainment. From wine wrangling—to stand-up comedy and public speaking, there’s nothing off the table. (No really. Nothing. Except anything involving dancing and a pole. She’s past that now.)
Renee lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains with her husband and daughters, and an adequate number of cats to qualify as a romance writer.