Part of the Virtual Book Tour for Surviving Eden, organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Comments on this post, in addition to having the chance to win an autographed copy of Michelle's first book in the series, Ruling Eden, will also be entered into the tour contest for a special gardening set consisting of a hummingbird feeder, nectar concentrate food for the feeder, and several packets of garden flowers. The other tour stops can be seen here. Remember, the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.
Fantasy and paranormal writers frequently try to put a fresh spin on old themes, pulling out the proverbial rabbit from their magician’s hat to find that new take on vampires or shapeshifters or demons or witches or…you get the picture. Since I fit roughly into this genre category, it struck me how easy it had been to create my own perspective on the paranormal characters in Ruling Eden, my first novel. I didn’t try to over think the issue. I simply tried to have fun. The pressure was off because the story wasn’t about any one of these races, but the complex dance between these peoples and the quirky, kick-ass woman who was destined to lead them all.
So yes I had to decide if my vampires could walk in daylight (they can), eat garlic (yes again), drink human blood (yes), be seen in mirrors (yep), were born or made (born from vamp parents) and if they can enthrall with their vampiric powers (uh huh). That part was easy. But what set my vampires apart came directly from my exploration of character. Christian is the vampire brother of the story heroine, Rachel. I knew he had a tortured past. I knew he was a good guy who loved his family. I knew he’d had tragic experiences with love. It was when I allowed his character to drive me that I discovered the twist to his race. In the world of Ruling Eden and Surviving Eden, vampires cannot kill humans. They need them to feed upon, but they are genetically programmed to find it abhorrent to kill mortals. And, most tragically, they can only fall in love with humans and not with their own vampire kind with whom they procreate. Since humans cannot be “turned” and live much shorter lives this generally leads to heartbreak.
Aside from just having fun, and letting my characters drive their own species particulars, another key to letting loose my imagination is sliding my focus sideways. Sideways, away from development of specific races based on typical mythologies and instead toward a common creation myth uniting multiple species. That’s what I love. Not creating the sexiest shapeshifters, but creating yummy complex messy interrelations between multiple species. This shift in focus leads to many new ideas. For instance, my angels and demons, arch enemies, yes, but because they used to be one race involved in a civil war, split into two by a pissed off magic leader sick of their infighting.
Many paranormal romances do not do justice to explaining the origin of species. And that’s okay. There’s something to be said for a murky, mysterious past. Life’s like that, full of missing explanations. But when I write I want to write about the meat of what fascinates me most in life—how people are similar, are connected, despite their differences, despite how they struggle in conflict with one another. Why are we in this mess together and what does it mean? So I dig around my mind for new mythologies, enjoy myself in the process, and end with the boon of new, fresh ideas.
If you care to check out my world of Eden and my new look at old faces--vampires, shapeshifters, dragons, faeries, witches, angels, demons—stop by www.MichellePicard.com.