I’m thrilled to have my friend and super talented writer, Janice Gable Bashman, on today talking about writing romance amid high stakes and high action. Janice’s debut young adult novel, Predator, just released to high praise! New York Times bestselling author Nancy Holder says “Predator is a fast-paced, creepy page-turner!” and Suspense Magazine says “Every twist and fascinating revelation fell into place smoothly, with an ending that will leave readers wanting more.” For a unique werewolf tale with a scientific twist check it out!
Romance Amid High Stakes and High Action
By Janice Gable Bashman
It seems difficult to imagine that romance can occur in a novel among high stakes and high action. If a protagonist is busy running around trying to save others or the world from disaster, how could she possibly have time for romance? Where would she meet someone? How would they have time to get to know one another? How would the distraction interfere with her goals? If she falls for someone, does saving that person become more important than saving others? How can she judge, keep an impartial view, let her feelings take a back burner to the greater stakes at hand?
Romance happens at the most unlikely times and in the most unlikely places, especially when it comes to our heroines. So what’s an author to do? If we look at the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss Everdeen is in a fight for her life. She must face insurmountable odds to survive every second of every day while participating in the Hunger Games where twenty-four teens are pitted against one another and only one will survive. At first she bonds with Peeta, another teen who is fighting for his life, as a means for survival and rebellion, but ultimately it becomes something more. Their relationship develops during their struggle to survive.
In the initial drafts of my young adult novel Predator, my protagonist’s love interest was often in scenes unrelated to the plot that simply served to show his relationship with the protagonist. He was a mysterious young man who my protagonist saw here and there. But it soon became clear there was a problem. My protagonist’s love interest wasn’t really part of the story. So, like Suzanne Collins did in the Hunger Games, I brought my protagonist’s love interest into my protagonist’s fight. I made him stand side-by-side with her as she struggled to overcome the odds and save not only herself but the world. This enabled their romance to grow and advance within the plot as it moved forward.
Many other young adult novels seamlessly blend high stakes and high action with romance, making the books one heck of a ride: Jonathan Maberry’s Rot and Ruin series, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, and James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series, just to name a few. In each, the author creates stakes that matter to both the protagonist and the love interest and makes them fight together to accomplish their goals and stand up for their beliefs and ideals. By creating this pairing, romance exists among action instead of in the background. It helps propel the story forward and ups the stakes for the protagonist. It gives us more than one person to root for and care about. It also gives us hope that no matter what goes wrong in the world or in our lives there is always the possibility of love.
The hunt is on! Sixteen-year-old Bree Sunderland must inject herself with an untested version of her father’s gene therapy to become a werewolf in order to stop a corrupt group of mercenaries from creating a team of unstoppable lycanthrope soldiers.
When Bree went with her scientist father to Ireland, she thought it would be a vacation to study bog bodies. She never expected to fall in love with a mysterious young Irishman and certainly never expected to become the kind of monster her father said only existed in nightmares.
Dr. Sunderland discovers that lycanthropy was not a supernatural curse but rather a genetic mutation. When they return home, her dad continues his research, but the military wants to turn that research into a bio weapons program and rogue soldiers want to steal the research to turn themselves into unstoppable killing machines. Bree’s boyfriend Liam surprises her with a visit to the United States, but there are darker surprises in store for both of them.
As evil forces hunt those she loves, Bree must become an even more dangerous hunter to save them all. Predator gives the werewolf legend a couple of new spins by introducing the Benandanti (an actual folkloric belief that certain families of Italy and Livonia were werewolves who fought against evil), as well as a modern scientific approach to mutation and the science of transgenics.
She will become the thing she hates, to protect those she loves!
Janice Gable Bashman is the Bram Stoker nominated author of PREDATOR, a young adult novel (Month9Books 2014), and WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE (w/NEW YORK TIMES bestseller Jonathan Maberry) (Citadel Press 2010). She is editor of THE BIG THRILL (International Thriller Writers’ magazine). Her short fiction has been published in various anthologies and magazines. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Mystery Writers of America, Horror Writers Association, and the International Thriller Writers, where she serves on the board of directors as Vice President, Technology.
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