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It is my honor and privilege to introduce, for her first visit to The Revenge (and if we have our way, certainly not her last) Historical Romance author and the creative genius behind The Legend of the Werestag (which is AWESOME!), rising star Tessa Dare.
Arrrh, wenches! Avast, me hearties!
All right, that’s all the pirate-speak I’ve got in me. But it is my extreme pleasure to be welcomed aboard this fine ship. Many thanks to Terri for inviting me!
When I began writing historical romance a few years ago, the word amongst industry folk was that Historicals were DEAD. Paranormals were the hot subgenre, and it seemed like every author was jumping on the “paranormal bandwagon.”
Well, if paranormals were all that would sell, then I figured my ship was sunk. I don’t have anything against the subgenre, and I enjoy some paranormal authors immensely, but overall it’s just not my favorite. I find it more difficult to suspend my disbelief when vamps, shifters, demons, and the like are involved, and I have a harder time sinking into the story and enjoying the romance. And if it’s harder for me to enjoy it, I figured it would be impossible for me to write it well.
So I went ahead writing GODDESS OF THE HUNT, a Regency-set historical, anyway—and fortunately the market started to shift just as I found an agent, and I was able to sell it. Along the way, however, I found that there were certain elements of the paranormal subgenre that I really envied. The high stakes, for instance—in a Regency, it’s REALLY hard to devise a situation where the future of the known universe could hang in the balance. The potential for life-or-death immediacy, for another. Sure, Regencies see their share of duels and carriage accidents, but they’re known more for card parties and masquerade balls than thrill-a-minute action.
And then those half-human heroes…rrwowr! Whether they’ve got fangs, claws, or fur…there’s something so irresistible about those heroes who put the real “beast” in the “Beauty and the Beast” trope.
I started wondering if there wasn’t a way I could steal some of those paranormal conventions and use them in a historical. Not just jump on the bandwagon, but hijack it and steer it in my own direction. Like any good pirate would, eh?
And that’s how my novella THE LEGEND OF THE WERESTAG was born. Since I knew I couldn’t just ignore all my own skepticisms, I decided to embrace them instead—I put those skepticisms into the mouths of my characters and let them debate the believability of a shifting man-beast. And because the world has seen enough heroes with fangs and claws, I decided mine would have prongs. :)
I still couldn’t quite manage to make the future of the universe hang in the balance, but I was able to work in some hair-raising action in the darkened forest. And for my “man-beast” hero, I created Luke Trenton—a soldier just returned from war who feels he’s lost a part of his humanity. His youthful sweetheart, Cecily Hale, has waited for him for four long years. Luke still wants her, but he doesn’t think innocent Cecily could handle his inner beast. But when their house-party group forges into the forest on the hunt for a local legend…it’s the Werestag who forces the issue.
So that’s how I wrote my un-paranormal paranormal and had a blast in the process. And to my delight, Samhain was willing to publish it! If only it could achieve the success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies! Hm, what’s next? A Regency space opera? The not-so-secret secret baby? Who knows…
How about you? Ever contemplated hijacking the bandwagon? Do you like writing or reading cross-genre tales? What wacky crossover would you really like to see? And…read any good beasts lately? ;)
Thanks so much for having me!
Tessa has been sweet enough to offer up one free download of her Samhain e-novella THE LEGEND OF THE WERESTAG as well as a signed coverflat of her debut full-length Regency Historical from Ballantine, GODDESS OF THE HUNT, hitting shelves in July. Just join in the fun for your chance to win. (To order the novella or pre-order Tessa's debut novel, click on the book covers.)