Thursday, July 19, 2012

Genre Bending

Here it is, my new cover to my latest release, Temptation and Tights! Back in January I made a bunch of resolutions; one of them was to double my backlist and have 10 stories available by the end of the year. Most of the resolutions fizzled by the end of January, but this one’s working. This is my second release this year, plus I subbed a fantasy story to another publisher yesterday. We’ll see if anything comes of that. Meanwhile, I’ve got another M/M simmering, and I’m fiddling around with a paranormal YA, of all things. Three more acceptances to go!

Okay, back to the topic at hand. Temptation and Tights is the story of a supervillain who falls in love with the superhero pursuing him. It’s not that far-fetched a plot for the genre. Stan Lee introduced romance tropes and soap opera plots to cape-and-cowl books in the 1960s and revolutionized the industry. Rewrite the Superman saga from Lois’s perspective and bang, you’ve got a romance. Heroes and villains in love? I give you Batman and Catwoman. She tries so hard to reform, but c’mon. She is who she is and she knows who she is, and she’s not going to change, not even for him. Half the fun is getting the Bat to chase her, and she knows it. Half the fun for us is watching the pursuit.

Sitting next to me right now is a copy of Night Shadow by Nora Roberts, published in 1991. It’s the story of a man who develops superpowers in a lab accident, dresses in black and fights crime. The feisty by-the-book DA trying to bring this vigilante to justice falls in love with him instead. It’s a superhero story in prose, proof it can be done. There hasn’t exactly been a slew of these things, though, not like with vampires and shapeshifters. Yeah, well. I had fun writing it, and that’s the important thing.

The hardest part of writing the book? Coming up with character names that haven’t already been copyrighted. I wanted to call my bad guy “Captain Chaos” but they used that name on South Park. I changed “Icarus” to “Icarius” just to be on the safe side. There are dozens of winged heroes out there already (Hawkman and Angel come to mind right off the bat), so on the powers end I might get a pass. Like plots, there are only so many powers out there. It’s what you do with them that makes them stand out.

In spite of the financial success of The Avengers, and the expected success of The Dark Knight Rises, I don’t expect superhero romances to become the Next Big Thing. If you want to write one, M/F or M/M, go right ahead. Give at least one of your characters powers beyond those of mortal beings, then give them problems to match. Then send them out on a date with the one person in the world who leaves them tongue-tied. Or who wants them arrested. Or dead. Then sit back and watch the fun.

Okay, enough of the capes. I think I’ll go back to the story about the fashion designer. That should be fun. I have no fashion sense and don’t know how to sew. Project Runway, help me out!


Savanna Kougar said...

I'm so glad you wrote this, Pat. Adore your title and your cover art. I think superheroes/superheroines romances are finding a niche of their own.

The ones I've encountered these past several years have been all over the map within the romance/erotic genre.

I know I had a great time writing my superheroine/superheroes menage, HER INSATIABLE DARK HEROES, and wish I had time to write the next story. 'Course, Wendy didn't fall in love with supervillains. Nope, she helped destroy them.

Best of luck with your projects, and keep building up that backlist.

Pat C. said...

Owen "destroys" his nemesis by reforming him. They become a hero team by the end of the book. I imagine they have matching T-shirts with an arrow and the message, "He's the sidekick."

Savanna Kougar said...

I love that ~ "matching T-shirts with an arrow and the message, "He's the sidekick."

Pat, I posted your blog at ROMANCE WRITERS BEHAVING BADLY ~

Willa Edwards said...

I made the new years resolution to get to 10 releases this year too. I have out six, one contract and another submitted so I'm getting close. I hope you're as successful with your releases and your work. Tights certainly sounds like fun.

Pat C. said...

Savanna - thanks once again for the free publicity!

Willa - I'm a really slow writer so I'm betting you'll beat me. Go for it!