Thursday, August 30, 2007

My what a gorgeous brain you have, vampire

Sure, I know what you're thinking. You were just here yesterday and we talked vampires, and now today it's bloodsuckers again? What, has the convertible been carjacked by bloodsucking fiends?

Don't worry. I switched days to blog with another rider, so didn't plan on two vamps in a row. But you can handle it. And I'm all about promoting my latest release! But we're going to talk something even better than vampires. Today, I'm all about brains. :-) [mwahaaaaa ha ha!]

So I have a confession to make. My first published book was about vampires. And KISS ME DEADLY is the third book I've published featuring a vampire. Believe me, I get some weird looks from some of my friends. And strangers.

So how much do I subscribe to the whole fangs and blood and undead devotion stuff?

Not so much.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE paranormal romance. And vampires. On the written page. But I don't particularly care to meet one in a dark alley, if you can dig that.

So why write about them? And how can I write about something that doesn't appeal to me in real life?

Well, the why is because I enjoy fantasy and paranormal stories. I like that little something extra beyond a straight romance that would normally have no supernatural element to it. I like the idea that there are things out there we can't explain, and never will be able to explain. And yeah, i can totally get behind the image of a sexy, brooding vampire who lures women in with promises of undying love. Just as long as he doesn't bite ME.

And as for the how, well, that's easy. I think all writers tend to fall in love with their characters, or at the very least, their heroes and heroines. So how do I fall in love with a vampire on paper? Easy. It's because my vampires are more than creatures. There's a real person behind the fangs. There is a man who may have lived a life as a mortal before he was changed. He had adventures, love affairs, and emotions that connect him to the human experience.

I have a tendency to give my heroes and heroines a part of myself. Some hobby or interest or fascination that is mine. That's how I really connect to the words on the page. If there's something that means a lot to me woven into the history and very soul of my hero, then I can fall in love. Because I understand him. We relate on a certain level.

So, to the brains! I love brains. Well, the brain. I think it's a gorgeous hunk of gray matter. It's fascinating. It's intricate. It is us. And we'll never in our lifetimes, or a gajillion lifetimes to follow, ever completely figure the brain out. Cool, huh? My favorite part of the brain is the medulla oblongata. Don't you just love that term? Say it with me: medulla oblongata. I love the way my tongue has to dance to pronounce it. It acts as sort of a bridge from the spinal column to the brain, and you can find it at the back of the brain. It rocks. One of my favorite Xmas presents last year was a poster of the brain, given to me by my daughter. I laminated it. :-)

So brains and vampires? Well that's where the fun part of writing KISS ME DEADLY came in. I made my hero, Nikolaus Drake, a brain surgeon so I could incorporate my love for the brain into the story. And it made me fall in love with Nikolaus because we were both interested in the same thing. When researching brain surgeons I realized that I'd chosen the perfect profession for a vampire, too. Intelligence, arrogance (a bit of a God-like complex) and the ability to work around lots of blood are just a few of the qualities that would fit either to a T. Of course, my hero isn't a practicing surgeon now. He was forced to abandon his practice after an operation to remove a brain tumor from him left him with a tremor in his hands. Which led him on a downward spiral, and eventually put him in a position to be attacked by vampires one night, and well...the rest should make for a fascinating read. Or so I hope you'll want to pick up my latest, and give it a try.

'Twas brains that made me love that vampire!

All right, corniness aside, what was one of your favorite romance heroes? Did you fall in love with him because there were things about him you could relate to? Who or what is one of the most surprising heroes you've fallen for? (Someone you never expected to like.)

I'm feeling like I need to give away an autographed copy of KISS ME DEADLY! I'll draw one commentor's name and post the winner here on Friday morning.


Betina Krahn said...

Strangely, I love Alpha heroes. That may be a "duh" for most of you, but it came as a surprise to me. Because I'm a major Beta gal in real life. I like gentle, thoughtful, brainy guys who are competent in the milieu of modern life. I've even written a few of them. . . like Remington Carr in THE LAST BACHELOR and Hartford Goodnight in THE BOOK OF TRUE DESIRES. . . hey, I even made my viking hero a sensitive guy, a "woman-heart" in THE ENCHANTMENT.

But I occasionally do get into a barbarian or a vampire or a brute-force take-no-prisoners lawman. It's fun to give them free rein in the imagination I wouldn't give them in real life. I think that's why I LOVE historicals!

CrystalG said...

One of my favorite romance heroes is Lisa Kleypas' Derek Craven. He is an alpha male from the wrong side of the tracks whose love for his lady makes me sigh.

lois greiman said...

Do you remember the movie "The Full Monty?" The dad. I can't remember his name. He was a scrawny, smoking, unemployed loser. And I loooooooooooved him... and his friend, the overweight, smoking, unemployed loser.

Ktzmom said...

I have fallen for two heroes. The very first one was Cal Morrisey from "Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie, down to earth, handsome, smart, but not perfect, he suffered from dyslexia (sp?) but managed to make it work for him. Gotta love it.

I also fell for Rhage from "Eternal Lover" by JR Ward. *sigh* He's dreamy. He's handsome and strong and came across as a ladies man, but once you read further into the book you got to know the reasons behind what motivated him and well, you'll just have to read it to understand. :)

Helen Brenna said...

I like all types of heroes, but the ones who really grip me are the alphas, as long as they fall and fall hard for the heroine. That's the key for me. They can be arrogant and powerful at the beginning of the book, but by the end of the story, I need to believe that their love for the heroine is all that matters. They're stripped bare.

Does that make me a ball buster?

Michele Hauf said...

Robert Carlyle is the dude from The Full Monty, Lois. He is a scrawny bit of bloke. I do love me some scrawny bloke. I'll take scrawn over brawn any day. Now what's wrong with that picture?


MsHellion said...

I love Remington Carr from The Last Bachelor. *swoons*

I adore alpha males--though not so much in real life. That whole "stalking" in-high-pursuit thing gets exhausting about three days when you're like, "Dude, you need to give me some space, you know, like without you in it..."

Betas tend to irk me after a time...but they are far more easier to get along with. I think what I want is a Beta who can give the impression of being an Alpha every once in a while. A sort of combo. A virgin-whore sort of fantasy, I suppose.

Favorite hero I never expected...probably Kryian from Night Pleasures (The Dark-Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon). I wasn't a big vampire fan (it's okay, but not my favorite gig)--and he was blonde (I don't do blonde). And the book before Fantasy Lover was good, but...

Anyway, I read Kryian's story--and it was instant and total love. I love broken, hurt alpha heroes who are healed by the love of one great woman. My favorite fantasy.

MsHellion said...

I love scrawn over brawn myself. *LOL*

Meljprincess said...

One of the most surprising heroes I've fallen for? Dexter. Have ya seen the show? It's on Showtime.

Kathleen Eagle said...

My heroes have always been Indian cowboys, alpha but sensitive. Wounded is good, too. Private and mysterious is nice.

But at the other end of the spectrum I can see why women go for Tony Soprano. He's an SOB, but he's the boss, and he has a sensitive side. Saw a rare interview with Gandolfini (one of my favorite actors) who said he didn't get it when fans (female) said he was sexy, especially in his boxers. "I'm fat and bald!" he said. But his character was enigmatic, tortured, and protective of his family. And he was the boss.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Michele, I love the premise of KISS ME DEADLY. Reminds me of another of my favorite characters, the hero from Laura Kinsale's FLOWERS FROM THE STORM. The brain injury part. He doesn't understand what happened to him, and neither does anyone else.

Debra Dixon said...

Michele-- I'm such a fickle girl. I tend to fall the hero of the moment. Especially in my own work. :)

Michele Hauf said...

Blonde heroes have never done it for me, either. I'll have to look into that Sherrilyn Kenyon book. But that would mean admitting I've never read any of her vampires. Or Feehan's vampires. Or Hamilton's vampire slayer. I am such a bad vampire writer! :-)

Ah, Flowers From The Storm. I re-read that one just a few months back. I do love a tortured hero who doesn't understand himself. And when no one else does, either? That was such a good read.

I once did a hero with synesthesia (a crossing of the senses) and fell in love with him. He didn't understand why he saw voices and could touch sounds, but he truly did enchant me.


Sugar Britches Knits! said...

Oh what a question! Hamilton's Jean Claude is absolutely it. Why? Let's see...vampire, French (accents = yum!), the long curly hair, his obsession with Anita and the sacrifices he's made for her, He isn't nearly as evil as everyone things and oddly enough how practical he is. Did I mention the French accent?

Yes indeedy! All in one tasty package
; )

tetewa said...

One of my favorite heroes would have to be Jack on Lost (Matthew Fox) Got to love me a good doctor even though he wasn't around as much this season. The bad boy would have to go to Sawyer (Josh Halloway) Can't wait for January for the show to resume. I also agree with Mel about the show Dexter!

flip said...

I loved the hero in Laura Kinsale's The Shadow and the Star. The book also features one of my favorite heroines. Another favorite hero is Rory Frost from M.M. Kaye's Trade Winds. Both men are strong, yet there is a vulnerability to both men.

Laurie said...

I liked the tormented Gage in Joann Ross' "Blaze". He's a widowed ATF agent who feels guilty after the arsonist he's pursuing kills his wife. He's brought back on the case and works with Tess a fire investigater. He's got a lot of conflict over his job, his wife's loss and his new sexual interest in Tess.
I also like Karen Robard's Steve in "Walking After Midnight". He's an excop on the run with a hostage in Tennessee. After he takes a hostage you're not sure if he's a good or bad guy but I was rooting for him...will he avenge his girlfriend's death? and will he fall in love again?