Welcome to the Examiner, Belinda McBride. First of all, please tell our readers a little about yourself.
Hi Teri, and thank you! I'm an erotic romance writer based in far Northern California. I write speculative fiction, which is an umbrella term for science fiction, fantasy, paranormal and other similar genres. I write both m/m and m/f romances for Loose Id, Changeling Press, Passion in Print and Dreamspinner Press. I have two daughters, six Siberian Huskies and I stay at home full time care giving my severely disabled niece. When I'm not working or writing, I'm usually off at a dog show with one of the dogs.
It sounds as if you are one busy woman. What prompted you to start writing paranormal romance?
I started writing futuristic/fantasy and science fiction romance, mostly because there were sooo many authors already dominating the paranormal romance genre. Anyhow, I do have this whole pack of wild wolves...er...Siberian Huskies running around. Late one night I was outside with the dogs tending a little emergency, and noticed how the dogs interacted with the dog that had been injured. One or two picked on it, while the more dominant dogs comforted and protected her. At that point in time, some werewolf scenarios came to me, and I realized that my Siberians are a unique source of resource on pack behavior. Based on that evening, I wrote Belle Starr, which oddly enough, is a science fiction romance about...werewolves in space.
What a great inspiration for a story. But surely your background in paranormal goes further back than that. Who was the first paranormal romance author you remember reading?
I grew up on Bram Stoker's Dracula and other classics, but as far as paranormal romance, I remember being in an airport and picking up a Christine Feehan novel. I loved her Carpathians, and quickly moved on to other paranormal/urban fantasy authors such as Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton and Marjorie Liu. Then I discovered erotic romance authors such as Emma Holly and Morgan Hawke and pretty much found my niche.
How long have you been writing in this sub-genre?
I've been writing paranormal romance for about 3 or 4 years.
So, are your stories more character-based or plot-based?
It’s really a balance for me. I believe that a strong character can drive a story into having a strong plot. If you take a character like Belle Oakley from Belle Starr, she's not going to be content in some lame story-line. She drove the plot in her book. If you have weak, undeveloped characters, no amount of plot will make the story interesting.
Very true. How about humor: is there much of that in your books, or are they fairly serious?
I don't write comedy, but yes, there is humor, just as there is humor in daily life. Sometimes a character has the potential to be very dark, but you don't want the reader to be dragged down by the story. I wrote a space opera romance about a king who is sold into slavery. He has no memory of who he is and his life really is horrible, but he maintains a sense of humor throughout. That's his survival mechanism. Also, I write a lot of erotica in my romances, and in all honesty, sex can be pretty dang funny. I've had characters fall out of bed, make funny sounds and just giggle right through the whole thing.
It sounds like you have a lot of fun with your stories. What are your favorite types of paranormal characters to write about?
My favorites are canine shapeshifters. I love werewolves, but I've also got a series with Siberian Husky shapeshifters. My upcoming release Blacque/Bleu is about a werewolf who falls in love with a vampire. The men have to overcome the fact that they are both dominant predators with very different lifestyles and cultural needs.
What are the most important ingredients of a compelling paranormal romance?
Believe it or not, I believe there has to be a strong sense of realism and humanity to the characters. I really don't like magical fixes or characters that are so powerful that they are invulnerable. There's this balance between creating a fantastical, mythical creature and giving him or her a rich storyline that will touch the reader and allow them to suspend disbelief.
Please tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is Blacque/Bleu, which is a m/m romance about a vampire who is dying of insomnia and a closeted werewolf who might be his last hope of survival. It’s part of Loose Id's series celebrating Coming Out day.
What was your favorite scene to write in this book?
Well, there were a lot because all of the characters revealed so much of themselves in this book. There was a very small, brief scene between the werewolf Blacque and his father Dane that touched me. Dane revealed something to Blacque that he'd never, ever shared with anyone before. It took that character from being a plot element to being very real and human to me. When that sentence showed up on my screen, his pain and shame hit me so hard I paused for a tissue break. Needless to say, Dane is slated for his own book.
Which character was your favorite to create?
Bleu was fun to create. He was a bit of a mystery...why did he have insomnia and why was it killing him? What was the great mystery of his past? He really isn't the most formidable vampire of all time, and has so many romantic elements to his character. He's also not perfect, a push in one direction or another and he could have been a villainous character.
And that’s one of the surprises that even writers can experience when they’re working. Finally, where can readers find you and your books on the internet?