Blending the Normal with the Paranormal to Create a Flesh-and-Blood Character
with author Denise K. Rago
What makes being a paranormal romance writer, different, than say, a regular romance writer? How do you create characters that are simultaneously vulnerable, vain, and jealous, yet have the strength to rip doors off hinges, toss cars or move almost too fast to see and carry the power of life and death in their seductive hands? How do you create a sensual predator?
All writers look to create characters that are believable and not cardboard cutouts. Come on, we’ve all read novels filled with characters that skim the surface and, even if they’re human, leave us cold and bored, ready to move onto the next tale.
I constantly ask myself this question when writing about vampires….mortals that die young once, resurrect with incredible powers, never age and time travel while the world changes around them, and need blood to survive. How do I keep them real and believable?
If I had to choose one word, it would be empathy: the ability to identity oneself with the person on the page and therefore understand his or her feelings.
I am big on empathy and short on sympathy. Anyone can “feel” for a character. Their plight might make you sad and yet you stumble through the tale, none the wiser when it’s through because you could not connect with the character.
How can one connect with a vampire, you ask? Especially a beautiful, male monster?
Well, how do we connect with anyone? Shared experiences. My beautiful, solitary vampire, Christian Du Mauré harbors much guilt and regret over a lost love affair. Hundreds of years later, he still asks himself, how could I let her go? I could I be so blind? How many of us have asked ourselves the same question or blamed ourselves for a relationship that ended poorly, for whatever reason.
Christian impulsively follows his best friend Michel Baptiste into the warring world of the Parisian vampires, after a weak moment, but not before he thinks he might burn them both to death in his stable. He backs away from his friend while making the sign of the cross in horror. Then, in total contradiction, Christian not only follows Michel, but looks the other way when he finds Michel emerging from the boudoir of his mortal lover, Josette Delacore.
Through Christian and Michel I have tried to create a defective creature, flawed by the very nature that was supposed to be lost by immortality. Christian not only is unable to lose his mortality, his personality traits become more deeply ingrained, making him more conflicted and contradictory in nature.
His love of art, books and nature remain a part of his soul, despite his mortal death, and these very traits become a blanket he wraps around himself to keep the cruel realities of immortality at bay. He remains human in spite of himself. Through these contradictions, he mirrors us mere mortals with all our vulnerabilities, desires and defects.
Denise K. Rago is a paranormal romance author whose first novel, Immortal Obsession, was published in September of this year. You can reach Denise on her website, http://denisekrago.com, where you can also read an excerpt of her book – part love story, thriller, vampire romance and paranormal romp that takes place in Revolution-era Paris and modern-day New York.
Find Denise on the web:
Denise is giving away a signed copy of Immortal Obsession to one lucky reader who comments on this post
US shipping only please
Winner TBA next Wednesday