Since I am taking part in a blog tour of Hunting Human by Amanda E. Alvarez, I asked her to prepare a guest post for all of you and since its April Fools today… well, let’s just see what she has to say. So, I’m going to let her takeover. Please give it up for Amanda!
The Importance of Levity – Or How a Good Laugh Can Save Your Sanity
A good book is one that keeps me up at night, huddled under the covers, flipping pages or tapping screens (in the case of my iPad) well into the wee hours of the morning. Generally, this means that I read a lot of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. What can I say? I want to have vicarious adventures through my characters. So it wasn’t a big surprise to me that when my brain started meandering down a novel writing path it skipped right past the pretty green pasture and dove straight toward the dark, thorny, fog ridden path that generally screams, ‘not that way you moron!’ And the truth is I loved every minute of that dark, thorny, fog ridden path.
My first book, Hunting Human, is a dark paranormal romance. I enjoyed writing the villain. I enjoyed putting my characters through obstacle strew terrain. I enjoyed dangling hope and light and soft, flower strewn paths in front of them only to snatch them back onto the aforementioned dark, thorny, fog ridden road. I guess I’m just mean like that. J
But you know what I enjoyed almost as much? The unexpected bits of levity that found their way into my book. The little bits that surprised even me, the tiny (very tiny, because I don’t particularly consider myself a funny person or a funny writer – at least not intentionally) pieces that always come to mind when I think of my favorite lines or my favorite exchanges. This exchange, for example, will always hold a special place in my heart:
It was always the damn job with Chase. There had to be a special level of hell reserved for annoying younger siblings. “Your health comes first, dammit.” Anticipating the response, Braden cut him off, “Yes, even over the job.”
“Would you stop hitting the damn potholes already!”
Braden pulled to a stop at a light and turned to his brother, anger vibrating through every muscle. But the words poised on the tip of his tongue slid back, thick and choking, to lodge in his throat. Chase sat hunched over on himself in the passenger seat, what little color he’d gained in the warmth of the car draining from his face. Braden sighed. The only thing worse than arguing with Chase, was arguing with him when he was tired or hurt. And right now he’s both.
“Is it so much to ask that you take care of yourself? Do you have any idea what it would do to Mom and Dad if you had died out here?” It was a low blow, but this was an old argument he was determined to win, no matter what it took.
“I know what I’m doing.” The protest came out tired and halfhearted.
“I know. And I’m not asking you to go back to school if that’s not what you want.” Braden wished with every fiber of his being that Chase would go back to school. His life could be so much more. “I’m just asking you to take better care of yourself.”
No reaction. No indication his brother was even listening. Chase just turned his face to the window and stared listlessly out the glass.
“I don’t want to have to go home someday and tell Lucy you aren’t coming back.”
Chase didn’t turn to face him but Braden saw him squeeze his eyes shut in the reflection on the window, and then jerk his head once.
Impatient honking behind him snapped Braden back into traffic in time to pull through what was left of a yellow light and straight into another rain-filled pothole.
“You’re aiming for them, aren’t you?” Chase asked through clenched teeth.
“You bleeding on my leather?”
Chase leaned back into the seat and closed his eyes. “Nope.”
“Then I’m not aiming for the potholes.”
Most of the exchange, like the rest of my book, is dealing with a serious issue. But those last few lines were the first I ever wrote that just felt right, because to me, that’s how families and friends deal with tough situations (at least mine do.) There’s always a grin around the corner or an inside joke to be had. The pothole exchange, as it came to be known amongst my critique group, saved the characters sanity because it broke a bit of the tension, gave them a bit of room to breathe and be brothers. And it saved my sanity too; because it gave me the confidence that maybe I could balance the dark themes I was exploring with a bit of natural human levity.
A lot of other funny scenes and exchanges managed to interject their way into my otherwise dark paranormal romance. Some of them I planned and some of them surprised me. Some of them came in single line bursts as if to remind me that even characters facing their deepest fears couldn’t be serious all the time, and some of them came in pages long exchanges between family members. But they were all sanity savers. They all appeared when characters needed a moment to laugh, breathe and feel normal. And occasionally, just occasionally, they occurred when I needed a moment to laugh, breathe and step off the dark, thorny, fog ridden path I was walking with my characters and take a moment to bask in the sun.
About the Author:
Amanda was born and raised in Texas – and due to an unfortunate three year stint in Michigan – doesn’t plan to ever live anywhere where flip-flops and sweatshirts don’t constitute winter attire. Often audacious and adventurous, she tends to find herself in a slew of dangerous (and hilarious!) predicaments (law school and fighting raccoons in dumpsters) and thankfully has many friends ready to lend aid (while they laugh.)
When not lawyering, writing, or thinking about going to the gym Amanda is often caught sampling local cupcake offerings and planning to someday co-open an evil bakery and sell dastardly desserts. She currently lives in Dallas, Texas with one regular-sized cat and one jumbo-sized cat, and can be seen writing in public places frequented by hot guys (strictly for research purposes, of course!) with her friends and fellow writers Cupcake-Killer and Alter-Ego (names omitted to protect the not-so-innocent). You can find her on The Web, on Facebook, or on Twitter.
For two years, Beth Williams has run from the past, and the beast that dwells inside her. She is haunted by memories of being kidnapped and the savage attack that killed her best friend. Now Beth finally thinks she’s ready to move on…with Braden Edwards, a charming, irresistibly sexy man who tempts Beth to embrace the present.
But the past lurks closer than Beth realizes. Markko Bolvek, one of the werewolves who kidnapped her, has tracked her to Portland, Oregon, his pursuit fueled by a hunger for vengeance. Only Braden, a werewolf himself, senses the danger shadowing her steps. The Edwards and Bolveks have been enemies for centuries and despite the instant connection he feels with Beth, Braden isn’t sure which side of the war she’s on.
With suspicion at odds with their attraction, Beth and Braden must learn to trust one another to stop Markko for good. Can Beth accept the wolf within and love a man who embodies everything she fears?
Amanda will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky reviewer. So in order to win leave as many comments as you want as long as they constitute as either questions for the author or anything just as long as it makes sense. Also there are many other blogs taking part in this tour so comment there as well so that you have a better chance at winning. 😀
Next Stop: My Odd Little World