Gabrielle Bisset

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Changes #amwriting #urbanfantasy #paranormal

Recently, I've been mentioning that the Sons of Navarus would be going through some changes. I haven't really discussed them completely anywhere because I just don't do that. I don't announce everything that's going on with me. It's not my style. However, since I've had a number of people ask me, I figured I'd explain.

In some stories of mine, I've struggled with the need for a HEA. Yes, I know that's a requirement in the romance genre (no matter how much I think it's unnecessary). My book Destiny Redeemed has a HEA, despite the fact that it was a chore to finish the book that way. Amon simply isn't a man who would get a happy ending. I adore the character, but he just wouldn't. Fate has a nasty way of making you pay, and after years of being a bad man (no matter how sexy he is), he just wouldn't be given a free pass with a woman like Thea.

But because it's a paranormal romance, that's the way it has to be.

That was the first time as an author I chafed at the restrictions of the romance genre. In many ways, romance writing makes things easy for me. In stories such as Masquerade, I feel justified in giving the characters a happy ending. Nikolai and Annelisa deserve to be happy with one another. The story didn't reveal any true reason why they shouldn't, so an HEA fits well.

Then I began writing the Sons of Navarus series and that issue with the HEA came back again. From the first book, the constraints of the genre were pressing down on me. I adore Vasilije (almost as much as I adore Amon who came before him), but it was a stretch to create an HEA at the end of Blood Avenged. And it isn't because Sasa isn't the kind of woman he'd go for. No. She's exactly the type he'd want. Despite the belief that strength means mouthiness or aggressiveness, Sasa is strong. A male like Vasilije brings that strength out in a female like her. And she brings out the Alpha in him. The reason an HEA is a difficult fit for them is because as a dominant male, he'd likely do things that would put a strain on the relationship.

You see, the Sons refused to just live happily ever after. They keep living and inevitably the traits that make them who they are complicate things.

The story of the Sons has never been just romantic. I knew that when I began writing the series. By the second book, the Prophecy of Idolas and the civil war with the Archons began encroaching on the romantic storyline. Blood Betrayed worked well because the story of Saint and Solenne wasn't just a love story but one about the dynamic between two brothers and the woman who came between them. The reference to betrayal in the title is as much about what Teagan did to Saint as what Solenne did.

But then came Blood Spirit.  I love that book, but for all the reasons that reviewers sometimes struggle with it. It's got a ton of non-romantic storyline in it. The Archons are on the rise, Ramiel and Thane (along with Kali) are figuring out more about the Prophecy of Idolas, and Vasilije is dealing with a trauma that isn't easily soothed with just romance and sex. Running alongside that is the romance between Terek and Ilona. Terek is a complicated male--a warrior for his kind, a monk in his human life, a vampire sire who has worked hard to turn as many vampires as possible to ensure the continuation of his race. But he has some complicated issues that I only got to dance around because the book was technically considered romance.

And that's the crux of the problem. Romance requires me to simplify things I want to explore. This became all too clear as I began to write Blood Prophecy and make decisions on the series arc for the rest of the books. By the middle of Ramiel's book, I was stuck. What I had planned for the story wasn't going to work with the expectations of romance readers.

So I began to flesh out some things for future stories in the series, hoping that this would fix the logjam in my mind, but that only made it more obvious that it was time to leave paranormal romance behind. By the time I'd decided what Sion's background was, I'd already closed the door to paranormal romance for this series.

But I didn't know what to do. I considered discontinuing the series entirely, but you know what? This is a damn good story and I enjoy writing it. That meant I was going to have to restructure the series to work differently.

It's been a labor of love doing just that. Because I'm not constrained by the need for an HEA, I can do things that work more organically. Vasilije and Sasa will still begin the series, and Saint and Solenne's story will still figure prominently (and will again be important because of events that are about to occur with the Archon, Marc Verrater). Will there be romance and sex? Yes, but they won't be the focus. The focus will be the Sons and a new character coming in soon and their fight against the Archons for control of the vampire world.

For fans of the series who wonder about Ramiel's story, I am still writing it but that will appear in a different way than I first intended. Will he still have a love interest? Yes, he will. It's always been an integral part of the series storyline, but it won't be the only focus of his storyline. He's much more than just a sexy male vampire, and now I can let him be himself in the story.

I hope readers will continue to follow the Sons series. While I do write a pretty hot sex scene (and will continue to do so), the romance and sex were never all there was to love about the Sons and their books. In the end, it's always been the story that's the great part--the story of eight warriors descended from the gods who must defend their world from those who seek to enslave all vampires. I don't know how it will be characterized. A few fellow authors tell me it has always been more urban fantasy/paranormal fiction than paranormal romance because there's so much non-romance storyline, so maybe that's what the Sons series will be. I don't know. What I do know is that as an author, I need to be true to myself and true to the story I want to write. So that's what I'm doing, and I've never been happier.


Lori Cameron said...

I am sure and it sounds like I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE NEXT BOOK. I am sure Gabrielle that you will get it done and for those of us that have gotten involved with the Sons will love the road that you choose for them. I know I will. And have fun and follow your heart.

Anonymous said...

Gabriele...No matter where you take the Sons series it will be amazing. I for one will be along for the whole ride with you. Some characters don't get their HEA story, and you know what, that's ok. If anything sometimes it's better. Anyone who has read The Game of Thrones knows that. Just follow your heart and take the Sons on the awesome journey that I know you will.

Sharon Stogner said...

sounds like you need to label your series as Dark Urban Fantasy. Which is my most favorite genre of all!!! PNR starts to get on my nerves after a while UF readers don't expect a happy ending, they expect world building and great characters that struggle. Once you separate yourself from the PNR you will pick up UF fans!

julie beasley said...

i love my HEA but i think lovers of your sons series wont be surprised that you want to take them in a different direction, what ever you do please finish off we are in love with them all, good or bad we want to know what happens,ive got quite wrapped up in the story lines so i really want to know. so youve got to invent a new genre for it. the love story will just be more icing

Margie subia said...

i for one don't really read paranormal romance just for the romance but for the story. i have read the sons and love them and will continue to read them i love the story you tell. and im looking forward to the rest of them.

Gabrielle Bisset said...

I can't tell you how much it means to me that you've all stopped by and commented your support. Thank you so much!

kazza16 said...

I'm sure those of us who love what you've written so far will continue to be entralled by the Sons. Gabrielle, you write it, we will read it!! xoxox

sin said...

Can not wait to read the rest of the series. I enjoy the story very much. xx