It’s a new year and a new round of our blog tour! I’m very excited about this round because we’re embracing Valentine’s month and going ROMANCE… So, dive into that heart-shaped box of chocolates with me as I welcome K Bird Lincoln.
Q: What’s the UF romance trope you wish would just go away: fated mates a la shifter romance or December/May a la vampire?
Go to your kitchen sink right now. Take all those insta-love fated to be mates stories and stick them down the drain. Run the garbage disposal.
I’m serious. I am a proud Romance Junkie (Smart Bitches, Trashy Books is my go-to site for new eBooks) who started reading Harlequin and Johanna Lindsey/Kathleen Woodiwiss in grade school. Old Skool romance populated with Alpha heroes just this side of stalker who fell in love with the heroine when he first laid eyes on her and girls in layers of petticoats who couldn’t tear their eyes away from muscled calves was my first introduction to LURVE. I swooned as a pre-teen over Cutter and Leetah’s fated love in Elfquest.
Then I grew up. Insta-love, which can be compelling when you’re a hormone-ridden teen, is not as compelling to me as an adult. And there’s nothing worse than Urban Fantasy where two powerful people come together against their will and are bonded with insta-love (not to be confused with insta-attraction which is totally fine) with no room at all for the lovely dance of courtship and anticipation of that first kiss.
One of the reasons I love Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson world so much is because her werewolves and shifters have to court each other under highly constrained rules. There are places where females are acknowledged dominant and roles within the pack they can play. This makes for courting with a slice of danger and excitement. And because Fate doesn’t force Mercy and Adam together, there’s a believable frisson of doubt about them getting together in the first place. There’s room for that relationship to mature, ebb and flow, and become something that encompasses the rest of the cast as well.
So, I’d be happy to say goodbye to insta-love fated mates. Now, if the mates hated each other from the first a la Pride and Prejudice, and then had to battle their own shifter hot blood and instincts to come to a relationship compromise—that would be lovely. Does that exist? Shifter Pride and Prejudice with smexy times? I’d read that…..
Q: What’s the most difficult aspect of writing romance?
I do have a couple romantic subplots in my Urban Fantasy Portland Hafu Trilogy. The first book, Dream Eater, introduces you to Koi Pierce, a college student struggling with a father suffering from Alzheimer’s and a secret that has kept her isolated from the rest of the world for years.
A mysterious stranger comes into her life that speaks the same Northern dialect of Japanese as her father just as she begins to suspect one of her professors is hiding a deadly secret.
Koi and the mysterious stranger definitely are interested in each other. The hardest thing for me in writing a believable romance is the lack of time Koi and Ken (aforementioned mysterious stranger) spend together. Dangerous and emotionally intense times do make humans bond with each other, but in action-focused Urban Fantasy its sometimes difficult to portray how a deeply introverted person like Koi would allow herself to trust a stranger. Or jump into physical contact so quickly with someone she literally met the prior day without resorting to fate or insta-love, or all that stuff I just finished complaining about in the prior question!
Every time I start to write a kissing scene, I hear all the dialogue in Tim Meadow’s voice from his SNL skit as The Ladies’ Man, wearing a silk shirt open at the neck, cradling a wine glass of Courvoisier. I burst out laughing and have to bite my tongue before I can keep writing the scene. Because the mechanics of lips and tongue and smooching are a bit ridiculous to actually type onto a computer screen. The tricky part is using those mechanics to convey the complicated emotions without defaulting to the smooth-talking seductive blathering of Tim Meadows.
Or resorting to all the alpha-male introducing innocent ingenue to her first kiss scenes I devoured in Old Skool Historical Romance books as an adolescent. It’s a tricky balancing act trying to create the circumstances where a social hermit (Koi) and a beta male (Ken) would actually come together. He can’t just sweep her off her feet. She can’t handle simple touching without totally freaking out. Ken has to be persistent, but also give her space to get accustomed to being close. It’s a tall order for a story that happens within a handful of days.
Writing believable romance is a tough job, but someone has to do it!
Last Dream of Her Mortal Soul, the stunning conclusion to K. Bird Lincoln’s The Portland Hafu Trilogy releases March 19th, but the pre-order links are all live now!
Even a dream eater can’t escape the final sleep…
After her trip to Japan, the Head of Portland Kind calls Koi home to help solve a murder. The body of a powerful magical being was found in the witch’s hut in Forest Park, along with a strange, haunting quotation about dreams and death written in blood. Can Koi discover who seems to be calling out a Baku before others from her new-found family die?
You can also get a free taste of Ken the mysterious stranger in the free prequel Novelette, Bringer-of-Death downloadable from Bookfunnel. (You can opt in to my newsletter when you download and make sure not to miss writing news, chances to win chocolate, and access to discounted eBooks. May your Kindle never be empty).
Will a Kitsune assassin have the courage to defy the Council and save a Baku?
Japan lost World War II, but the Tokyo Council still rules the magical Kind with an iron will. When the Council’s enforcer, Bringer-of-Death, receives orders to go after a veteran who happens to be a Baku—dream eater— he is caught between the threat of punishment and his desire to help the Baku escape. Can Bringer-of-Death find a way to both protect his family and the Baku? Or will he be trapped as the Council’s slave forever?
Download this novelette, Bringer-of-Death, to experience Fujiwara Ken’s very first meeting with the Baku Herai Akihito— way before he encounters Akihito’s daughter, Koi Pierce, at the start of Dream Eater, the first book of K. Bird Lincoln’s multi-cultural Portland Hafu Urban Fantasy Trilogy.
Bird Lincoln is an ESL professional and writer living on the windswept Minnesota Prairie with family and a huge addiction to frou-frou coffee. Also dark chocolate– without which, the world is a howling void. Originally from Cleveland, she has spent more years living on the edges of the Pacific Ocean than in the Midwest. Her speculative short stories are published in various online & paper publications such as Strange Horizons. Her medieval Japanese fantasy series, Tiger Lily, is available from Amazon. World Weaver Press released Dream Eater, the first novel in an exciting, multi-cultural Urban Fantasy trilogy set in Portland and Japan, in 2017. She also writes tasty speculative fiction reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Check her out on Facebook, join her newsletter for chocolate and free stories, or stalk her online at her What I Should Have Said blog.
Thank you to K for stopping by!
I’m super excited to be hosting the following authors on these dates:
February 4: K Bird Lincoln
February 11: Janet Walden-West
February 18: Ken Schrader
February 25: Don’t miss the recap of all my answers across the series, plus a bonus pair.
Stayed tuned for all the interviews! And check out the rest of our series on these fantastic blogs:
K Bird Lincoln’s What I Should Have Said
Janet Walden-West’s Blog
Ken Schrader’s It’s All In My Head