Friday, July 20, 2012

Genre Bending ~ Temptation and Tights by Pat Cunningham

This blog was originally posted at TITLE MAGIC.

Here it is, my new cover to my latest release, Temptation and Tights! Back in January I made a bunch of resolutions; one of them was to double my backlist and have 10 stories available by the end of the year. Most of the resolutions fizzled by the end of January, but this one’s working. This is my second release this year, plus I subbed a fantasy story to another publisher yesterday. We’ll see if anything comes of that. Meanwhile, I’ve got another M/M simmering, and I’m fiddling around with a paranormal YA, of all things. Three more acceptances to go!

Okay, back to the topic at hand. Temptation and Tights is the story of a supervillain who falls in love with the superhero pursuing him. It’s not that far-fetched a plot for the genre. Stan Lee introduced romance tropes and soap opera plots to cape-and-cowl books in the 1960s and revolutionized the industry. Rewrite the Superman saga from Lois’s perspective and bang, you’ve got a romance. Heroes and villains in love? I give you Batman and Catwoman. She tries so hard to reform, but c’mon. She is who she is and she knows who she is, and she’s not going to change, not even for him. Half the fun is getting the Bat to chase her, and she knows it. Half the fun for us is watching the pursuit.

Sitting next to me right now is a copy of Night Shadow by Nora Roberts, published in 1991. It’s the story of a man who develops superpowers in a lab accident, dresses in black and fights crime. The feisty by-the-book DA trying to bring this vigilante in falls in love with him instead. It’s a superhero story in prose, proof it can be done. There hasn’t exactly been a slew of these things, though, not like with vampires and shapeshifters. Yeah, well. I had fun writing it, and that’s the important thing.

The hardest part of writing the book? Coming up with character names that haven’t already been copyrighted. I wanted to call my bad guy “Captain Chaos” but they used that name on South Park. I changed “Icarus” to “Icarius” just to be on the safe side. There are dozens of winged heroes out there already (Hawkman and Angel come to mind right off the bat), so on the powers end I might get a pass. Like plots, there are only so many powers out there. It’s what you do with them that makes them stand out.

In spite of the financial success of The Avengers, and the expected success of The Dark Knight Rises, I don’t expect superhero romances to become the Next Big Thing. If you want to write one, M/F or M/M, go right ahead. Give at least one of your characters powers beyond those of mortal beings, then give them problems to match. Then send them out on a date with the one person in the world who leaves them tongue-tied. Or who wants them arrested. Or dead. Then sit back and watch the fun.

Okay, enough of the capes. I think I’ll go back to the story about the fashion designer. That should be fun. I have no fashion sense and don’t know how to sew. Project Runway, help me out!

Author Pat Cunningham can be found hanging out at the SHAPESHIFTER SEDUCTIONS and TITLE MAGIC blogs.

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