28 May 2008

Turning the Devil into the Dream Date

Years earlier, the paranormal entity in a story was always the bad guy, the villain, someone no sane woman would want as her lover. Romance writers may have written a vampire as a mysterious and charismatic figure in their books, but they didn’t have the heroine falling in love with him. At least, not before he worked his magic on her to place her under his spell, thus eliminating her responsibility for hooking up with the evil-doer.

Now, however, one of the best-selling genres of romance book is the paranormal romance. Heroines no longer have to be hypnotized to hop into bed with the debonair, yet evil Dracula. Instead, they fall in love with the vamp just like they would any other hero─with compassion, emotional connections and, of course, plain old physical chemistry. They offer up not only their bodies, but their blood to the man they adore.

But have we gone too far? Have we turned the Devil into the Dream Date?

Some people would say we have. After all, in a society where the real-life homosexual relationship is often still considered abnormal and, in other circles, outright demonized, the idea of a heroine making love to a man who transforms into a wolf is not only revolting, but sinful. They view these stories as jumping from the frying pan (gay partnerships) into the fire (bestiality). How can anyone fall in love with a being that is part creature and part human?

If asked this question, I reply that it is the part that is human that keeps the heroine by his side. Very often the hero is a victim. Although some heroes in these books freely choose to step over the edge and enter the realm of the supernatural, many are thrust into their new lives unwillingly. It is this distinction that causes the heroine to fall for the hero. Why? Because heroes who are part vamp, shifter or alien are the ultimate bad boys. And we all know how women love to love the bad boys.

Think about it. Women’s fascination with bad boys runs throughout our history. From the old west bank robber to the motorcycle hoodlum of the fifties to the rebels of the seventies, women have flocked to read about the men who live on the shadowy side of society. These bad boys don’t behave the way their women would like them to behave─except in the recesses of their fantasies. Each woman is always positive she will be the one who will tame her bad boy’s wild ways. Her love will be the catalyst to save him from his own private hell, bringing the real him, the good side of him, to the forefront. In the end, no matter how bad the bad boy was, the heroine never gives up the idea of a picket-fence future with him. As long as she keeps her goal in mind, she can accept any problem he has─even if it means sleeping with a stake under her pillow.

The question lies within all of us. If given the choice, would you change the Devil into the Dream Date?

Beverly Rae – http://www.beverlyrae.com/
Giggle, Gasp & Sigh with a Beverly Rae Romance


Sela Carsen said...

Absolutely. In our real lives, things like security and steadiness and coming home for dinner every night mean a lot, but in fiction, we get to play! And what better "out there" fantasy is there than living on the edge of danger. Great post!

Beverly Rae said...

Thanks, Sela.

I agree. If I didn't write about "bad boys" and supernatural studs, I think I'd go crazy!