Going Evil: Keeping Romance Alive in Series Writing

By Nell Stark

Trinity Tam and I knew what would happen in Book 3 of the everafter series before we finished Book 1 (everafter) and began Book 2 (nevermore). It was always clear to us that in Book 3 (nightrise, released this month) Valentine the vampire would have to “go evil,” and her lover Alexa’s quest would focus on bringing her back from the metaphorical abyss.

Structurally, the loss of Val’s soul functions as a way to keep the romance story line alive in a series that begins, unorthodoxly, with the protagonists already together. Most romances start with the protagonists apart, and in many cases, they’ve not yet even met. But in the everafter series, Trin and I wanted to explore what happens when an established couple encounters life-altering circumstances. For the first two books, Val and Alexa fought to remain together despite the upheaval occurring both in their own lives and in the world around them. They endured every crucible in which they found themselves. In most romances, the main characters must overcome hurdle after hurdle in order to be together. In our romance, the heroines had to fight tooth and nail and claw to stay together.

But sometimes, life throws a curveball that can’t be dodged or hit out of the park. Sometimes, two people split up even when they’re perfect for each other. nightrise allows Valentine and Alexa to have a “traditional” romance—to find their way (back) to each other—even though they are paranormal characters in an urban fantasy setting.

If I’m being truly honest with myself, though, there’s another reason for why it was necessary for Val to “go evil.” Since the first chapter of everafter, Valentine has fought against her own nature. As the daughter of a wealthy Republican politician and as someone who was made a vampire against her will, she embraces neither her blood-family nor her blood-cravings. Instead of seeking to integrate all pieces of herself into a healthy whole, she repeatedly attempts to deny both her heritage and her intrinsic needs. When she “goes evil,” she finally stops fighting herself and becomes “free” in the purest sense of the word.

But in so doing, of course, she loses Alexa, the person who matters most in her life. So the question becomes: is there a future in which Valentine can acknowledge who she is and what she needs without being “evil?” And if so, what are the conditions necessary to make that future into a reality?

To learn more, we invite you to read the newly-released nightrise. If you do, please let us know what you think at nell.stark@gmail.com and 333tam@gmail.com, or find us on Facebook or Twitter. For more information about the everafter series, visit http://www.everafterseries.com/.

Thanks as always to Kathi Isserman and the exceptional cast at BSB (Radclyffe, Cindy Cresap, Sandy Lowe, Connie Ward, Lori Anderson, et al.) who do so much to make each Bold Strokes book a success!

2 Responses to “Going Evil: Keeping Romance Alive in Series Writing”

  1. 1 Carsen Taite August 23, 2011 at 11:03 PM

    Thought provoking blog. I like how this series has developed, especially the romance. You two have done an outstanding job of showcasing some of the stages all couples in love face. Thanks for another great read.


  1. 1 Weekly…ish (who am I kidding) Link Round Up! « The Lesbrary Trackback on September 12, 2011 at 12:27 AM

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