Wednesday, January 30, 2013

GUEST BLOG: Lois Gresh on Paranormal Romance

Lois Gresh's new novel, Nightfall, is a New Adult Paranormal Romance. Here she talk about her writing career and what she's learned about crafting good stories (oh, and a few words about Nightfall, too!)
When I first learned how to read, I instantly loved books.  I actually remember the moment.  I spent a lot of time at the library and reading an ancient (1930s!) set of encyclopedias that my mother kept in the hallway outside my bedroom. At 9, I wrote a 55-page science fiction story; at 12, a 220-page “report” about ancient Egypt; at 16, a 250-page book about poverty; at 22, a 500-page novel; at 23, a 400-page novel; and during college classes, I wrote horror stories featuring my professors. In my early twenties, I wrote two full-length mystery novels that twisted themselves into dark comedies. I switched to dark fiction, what's called weird fiction -- a blend of fantasy, paranormals, science fiction, and psychological horror -- and sold a bunch of stories. I ended up writing a thriller novel for Ballantine/Del Rey, then went on to write a fleet of pop culture books while continuing to work on my novels and short stories.

I usually have a pre-planned idea of how the story will end, but does it end that way? Very rarely. Typically, the characters take on lives of their own and twist my endings for me. I don’t get writer’s block (knock on wood, etc.) I always have too many stories floating in my mind that I want to tell for the amount of time I’m able to write. As for where I write, anything will distract me. So I write in a secluded environment, and I even blast a white noise machine to drown out household noises. 
The most important elements of good writing are the triad of character, plot, and theme. You need characters with real emotions and needs. Your characters require conflicts to overcome.  One or more themes -- such as “be good to other people” or “it’s not cool to lie to somebody who loves you” or “love can overcome anything” or “love is more important than where you live or what you have” -- provides your story with emotional impact.

With Nightfall, I'm shifting my fantasy-paranormal fiction into New Adult Paranormal Romance for the 18+ audience. I had a blast writing this book. It's got Romance, some 18+ scenes, a bit of mystery, and a touch of humor. I just enjoyed myself.

My heroine, a voodoo priestess as it turns out (much to her surprise!), recently graduated from college and is in transition, trying to find herself and what she wants to do with her life. She's sassy, kind, smart, and athletic. The book definitely has some humor (!) and a cast of unusual characters. I had a lot of fun writing it.

Forbidden love, yearning desire, and seduction in this breath-taking new adult vampire romance. Born from an ancient voodoo priestess clan, Alexandra Leveau falls in love with sexy vampire Vadim Blerinc. But these two are a dangerous match, and making love could literally kill them. 

And then local townies begin to die. Can Alexandra and Vadim save the people around them? Can they overcome the curse that has hung over their families for centuries? Can true love conquer bad blood?

When asked what advice I'd give to a new writer just starting out, I'd say, Write. It’s truly as simple as that. Don’t give up. If you love to write, just do it.

Lois H. Gresh is the New York Times Best-Selling Author (6 times), Publishers Weekly Best-Selling Paperback Author, Publishers Weekly Best-Selling Paperback Children's Author, and editor of 27 books and 50 short stories. Her books have been published in approximately 20 languages. Current books are ELDRITCH EVOLUTIONS, DARK FUSIONS (Oct 2013), NIGHTFALL, and THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS COMPANION. Look for upcoming stories in MARK OF THE BEAST, ELDRITCH CHROME, MOUNTAIN WALKED, DARK FUSIONS, BLACK WINGS III, MADNESS OF CTHULHU, SEARCHERS AFTER HORROR, etc. Lois has received Bram Stoker Award, Nebula Award, Theodore Sturgeon Award, and International Horror Guild Award nominations for her work.
For the print Nightfall.

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