Relationships in paranormal fiction take on a whole new meaning when you step away from a world where interpersonal and romantic relationships within your sphere of awareness are single species.
It’s really a lot of fun. It isn’t just the interspecies interactions it’s the almost endless viewpoints from which to explore them.
It’s more than just sex. Not all interspecies relationships are intimate. Friendships between species play an integral role in my fiction, perhaps more so because it’s character driven more often than not.
I do have plenty of action driving the stories. I just think it’s important to show how characters change and grow through experience. It goes to my desire to write characters readers can relate to, even if and when they are of a different walk of life (i.e. different species).
In Metatron’s Army, non-intimate relationships include friendships and alliances.
Because Christine was raised on Earth her responses to and interactions with other species are different than the other characters’ most of whom were born and raised on a variety of planets in another star system altogether (Vetria). Her role demands that she embrace the challenges – not of accepting these differences herself – but getting other species to accept each other, something that evolves as the series progresses. To that end I spent a lot of effort considering where she – as well as those of the different species – were coming from at any point throughout the series.
Relatability is big for me.
In Metatron’s Legacy, we have the friendships and alliances that are important to the story along with the addition of chance interactions with other species.
In one scene, Corinna’s experience with a local from a planet she is visiting becomes confrontational in a manner that underscores she is not just another species but one that is not understood by the locals.
Stranger in a strange land.
In Dragon Core, each story deals with interspecies relationships from a different vantage point.
I take the time to really consider what it would be like to learn someone you knew was a shape shifter, how that would affect your life.
Each book in the series takes into account the shifter species, the age of the characters (which can be centuries), their occupations, cultural background and upbringing, and of course, whether they are male or female.
Though I wrote Cauldron of the Gods with this in mind, with Shadow of the Gods, I took it a step further and explored what it was like to be a shifter not from an objective point of view (what they are trying to accomplish) but what it’s like to be them, what they go through because they are living among a different species.
Sometimes it IS sex. In both the Metatron’s Army and Dragon Core series I needed to consider the social norms of an alien species when it came to sex and intimacy. Just as with different cultures on Earth, not every species will view intimate relationships the same way.
What is taboo to one culture or species will not be in another.
This was occasionally tricky since I wanted to be considerate of readers and – to a degree – where they fall on that spectrum. Since I cannot account for everyone’s cultural backgrounds and any social influences, I fell back on my belief that writing characters readers can relate to is key.
In other words, I felt if I provided enough detail to explain/illustrate where they are coming from, how they feel, etc a reader could say, “I can imagine…”
In the Metatron’s Army series I explored sexual intimacy between differing species in pretty explicit detail.
I wrote from multiple species’ point of view and was pretty detailed in that I considered what each character might be concerned about (or not).
In the Dragon Core series I step back and examine the same concepts from multiple points of view.
Some from shapeshifters, some from humans. I focused more on age and gender and what human sexuality is typically like through those filters and relative to what it is I’m trying to accomplish.
No Really, It’s About Sex. At the end of the day it’s about equalizing. Sex and reproduction through sex is more or less a universal concept.
Even if science and technology have had an impact.
Depending on where you are in your life, whether you are male or female, your occupation, your goals, any number of factors will dictate how you view and experience sexual intimacy. I wove all of this into the stories and used these nuances to enhance character development as well as use it as an opportunity for a character to tell part of the story.
I had a blast with this during a wedding event in Shadow of the Gods as one “new” adult talks to an adolescent. It was really fun.
Not all my stories allow the freedom to explore from this unique vantage point but the challenges of intimacy in a paranormal world are always addressed.
This really comes up with Clint in Soothsayer when he has to “fish or cut bait” when it comes to accepting what it means to be in an intimate relationship touched by the paranormal.
I look forward to more adventures with inter-species relationships as I continue to branch out in paranormal fiction.
Cauldron of the Gods is due for an end of February 2020 release.