naomi_jay: (by the sea)
[personal profile] naomi_jay
One thing all the adult paranormal romance novels I've ever read have had in common is sex. Whether the heroine is a virgin or experienced, young or old, short or tall or whatever, somewhere over the course of the book, she'll have sex. It's a romance after all, and sex is the culmination of the romantic journey the heroine and hero go on throughout the novel. It's natural, it's expected, it's fun.

And it doesn't happen in THE NECROMANCER'S APPRENTICE. Evanthe and Morrow never have sex.

Oh, they did in the first draft. But it felt misplaced and a little seedy. Evanthe had just fought off a zombie. She'd been badly bitten. She needed stitches and medical attention. And yet I decided in the first draft this would be the perfect time for her and Morrow to get hot and heavy. *shudders* Nothing says "romance" like a zombie attack.

The other problem with that original sex scene is the characters themselves. Evanthe is young (twenty). Morrow is...not. He's pretty resistant to the idea of them entering a relationship for that reason alone (although when you read the novella you'll see there are other reasons). For him to suddenly decide that right then and there was the moment he went from mentor to lover felt...skeevy. When I read back on the sex scene, it felt inappropriate for these characters. Yes, Evanthe wants to be with Morrow, but she's young, inexperienced, and vulnerable. And yes, Morrow wants to be with Evanthe, but he knows she's young, inexperienced and vulnerable and he knows he's...not. On a second take, the scene felt dirty in the wrong way.

So I cut it out. I wanted to show two characters discovering and admitting their true feelings in the NECROMANCER'S APPRENTICE, but I wanted that discovery to be natural and unhurried. And frankly, admist everything else going on - forbidden spells, rogue zombies, idiot demonologists with horrible cars - a sex scene would have been ridiculous. In a novella there isn't the time for anything that doesn't move the plot along, and Evanthe and Morrow stopping to have sex wouldn't have contributed to the plot.

That's not to see I don't think this is a romantic book with a romantic journey. But I feel I owe it to the characters and the readers to let events unfold naturally and with the sweetness and...well...old-fashioned sensibility I feel Evanthe and Morrow have at their hearts. Morrow doesn't want to rush things. He wants to court Evanthe. And Evanthe is just happy Morrow's finally admitted his feelings for her.

So I guess THE NECROMANCER'S APPRENTICE isn't a typical paranormal romance. But it's actually more reflective of me than a lot of my other books. Like Evanthe, I was a late-bloomer when it came to romance. I was shy and awkward, and desperate to demand what I wanted but terrified of being rejected. Like Evanthe, I eventually got what I wanted. Unlike Evanthe, I didn't have to fight off zombies to get it. So this is a story for anyone who loves zombies, grave-robbing, necromancy, and black magic. It's also a story for anyone who ever despaired of getting that first kiss, let alone anything else. And maybe if you think all these paranormal girls just move too damn fast nowadays, well, then this is a story for you too ;)
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Dirty Little Whirlwind

December 2011

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