About three years ago, I was talking to someone about trends in romance novels. Vampires were hot, of course, and demons and shapeshifters were starting to get really popular as well, but this person said, “I think there’s going to be a trend toward post-apocalyptic romances.”
Huh, I thought. Wow. Then I immediately discarded the thought. I was writing the Gardella Vampire Chronicles at that time, and post-apocalyptic zombies were about as far from historical vampire slayers as you can get.
But then, one day, I was chatting with one of my critique partners, and she said, “I think you should write a post-apocalyptic romance.”
And I started to think about it. The more I thought, the more fascinated I became with the idea…or, more accurately, the challenge, of writing a romance set in such a dark time. I loved the idea of having a world that had all of our knowledge in technology and science, our pop culture and fashion…but without the infrastructure and civilization that we are used to today.
But, yet, the problem of dealing with the devastation of the earth and civilization and all these people dying bothered me. So I decided to start my series fifty years after the horrible events that ruined the world and destroyed the human race.
I knew I wanted there to be a strong connection between our world (in 2010) and the new world (of 2060), so I decided to build the series around a group of guys who somehow “miss” the catastrophe and suddenly find themselves in this strange new world. And those men became The Awakening Heroes.
Making the decision to set the series fifty years after the end of the world helped that. I did keep some of the flavor by including journal and diary entries (and in one case, a blog) at the beginning of chapters in order to fill in the reader on what had happened fifty years earlier…but by setting the stories a generation or two after the Change made it a lot easier.
The first book in the series, Beyond the Night, introduces readers to Dr. Elliot Drake who was an ER physician in Chicago before he somehow got himself catapulted into the future…or whatever happened.
He was the kind of guy looking for a woman to settle down with and have a family—he grew up in a family with lots of female cousins, living with his aunt and his father—and he wanted that for himself.
But when he finds out that everything has been destroyed, he has inconceivable adjustments to make. And he has to figure out how to live in this new world, how to carve out a life of normalcy for himself. He’s a doctor, too, which means he has all of the knowledge of a physician…but none of the drugs and equipment or facilities he’s used to having.
He also learns that during whatever happened to him that he survived the Change, he also acquired a paranormal skill to heal by his touch. Wow! What a thrill…until he learns the repercussions of that skill.
If you put yourself in the place of these characters, what would you miss most about our current times? Colleen will be giving away a copy of Beyond the Night to one lucky commenter today! (U.S. only, please.)