Amelia Bishop on Character Flaws and Night Vision

My guest today is Amelia Bishop, here to talk about writing flawed characters in romance and her new release, Night Vision.

Hi! I’m Amelia Bishop, thank you, Shae, for having me here today.

I have a recent release to promote (Night Vision) but I think the topic I’d like to blog about here is more general.

I’ve been writing m/m Romance, mostly Paranormal, for several years now. I always had some trouble finding stories I really could relate to. I was so tired of the typical alpha-male heroes and beefcake super-lovers. So I started writing the kinds of stories I wanted to read. I didn’t think much about who’d like them, or what the standard Romance formula is, or what reviewers would think or say. That might have been dumb… but anyway, I just jumped right in and wrote my stories, blissfully ignorant of the expectations I was failing to meet.

Along the way, I have learned that the kinds of things I like are not the kinds of things most people like. I guess the reason I was having so much trouble finding stories and characters I enjoyed reading is that those types of plots and main characters are not very popular. Huh. Oh well, I still love them!

I write characters who have real flaws. Sure, most Romance MCs have flaws, but generally they are not real flaws. They are just decoration. Like the orphaned MC who clings to his partner out of a fear of abandonment. Sweet. Or the slightly OCD character who really needs to have everything nice and neat. Adorkable. Or even more serious flaws that, once they have served their purpose in the plot, kind of fade away and never really interfere with the main Romance or the character’s lives at all.

I also write more ordinary (boring?) situations and circumstances. No hostage rescues, no daring leaps off a burning building, no crazed obsessive ex-lovers holding the MCs at gunpoint. Just fairly believable situations and reactions, even if the characters are sometimes supernatural.

And to make it even worse, I write human-quality sex. I mean, my characters really enjoy it, but it isn’t the mind-blowing, hair-trigger orgasm, sex-god sex of most Romance novels. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Sometimes it’s pretty close to reality.

The end result is that while I am usually happy with my stories, some (many?) Romance readers are not. I feel kind of bad about that, honestly. But I’m not sure I’m going to change.

So I’m wondering, is there a place for Romance that does not follow the formula? Is there a difference between a “Romance” and a “love story”? And if so, which do you prefer?

What kinds of things are deal breakers for you, as a Romance reader? Are there any flaws or circumstances which would make you dislike an otherwise engaging MC?

And…If by some chance you are interested in reading a story about a socially awkward emotional-empath and a quiet systems-administrator, check out my paranormal romance (or love story?) Night Vision.

Thanks so much Shae Connor for having me here!

NightVisionFS_smallTheron Antonopolis, a strige, feeds on human emotion. In a tranquil suburban neighborhood, his best meals come from a quiet systems administrator who’s become more than a source of nourishment for Theron—Alex Rowler is an obsession. Theron can no longer remain in the shadows. When they meet, any attraction Alex feels toward the sexy monster is overshadowed by his anxiety and distrust of Theron’s supernatural powers. But sensing the underlying arousal, Theron begins courting his human.

As months pass, Theron falls deeply in love, and the need to complete the strige bonding ceremony with his human lover becomes overwhelming. But a permanent commitment is too much, too soon for Alex, and he delays the joining, despite Theron’s insistence they are running out of time. As an unbonded pair, however, Theron and Alex draw the attention of the Midnight Parliament, and the lovers are brought to trial to determine their fate.

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