Rewriting the Paranormal Rules – a Message from Wonder Author Erik Clarke
As a fan of paranormal shows and stories, I’ve been all but raised on the mythos of supernatural creatures. Vampires fry in the sun, werewolves can’t survive silver, and all the others. I’d never really planned on writing a paranormal story, so up until the moment that I sat down and went to actually put fingers to the keyboard, I hadn’t really considered what parts of each type of supernatural I would want to hold true. But that’s the best part about writing a paranormal series, like Spellbound: when it comes to creatures that don’t actually exist, you can give them as much or as little power as you want, come up with any history for them that you see fit. My only goal going into it was to keep enough of the old standards for the races to feel familiar, but I had plenty ideas of my own when it came to the details.
First and foremost, I wanted there to be a logic to the changes I was making, wherever that was applicable. I never really understood why Vampires and Werewolves seem to hate each other so much in everyone else’s interpretations, but I also knew that I wanted my Vampires to have powers that were based very fundamentally in sex and the pursuit thereof. I’ve also always been a fan of big, rich worlds, with lots of different types of beings in it, just like our own having so many different types of humans in it, so I wanted to make sure that there was more on the table than just Vamps and Weres. The history of Incubi and Succubae in mythology has always fascinated me, so they were a natural shoe-in. For me, what with Incubi having powers literally borne of sex, that would logically lead to a natural conflict if they were in the same region as a group of Vamps, and that formed one of the major points of contention for the entire Spellbound series.
The one other rule I tried to keep in mind for myself was to keep an open mind about the changes that I wanted to make to the races. I’m a firm believer in creating a story organically, change and grow as you develop rather than holding unflinchingly to a pre-made outline. In keeping with that, rather than setting out every single detail of the rules for my races, I let them adapt through the course of the story. It wasn’t until I was half way through my first book, Night, that I realized it would be great for the plot if the antagonist, an Incubus, could enter the dream realm in order to create a conflict with one of the protagonists, who was a Dreamwalker. Even though I hadn’t originally planned it or mentioned in the initial introduction to Incubi in the books, I made it so that they could create and control sex dreams. To me, it just makes sense to show new powers that the characters weren’t aware of as the story evolves anyway, because the likelihood of being told everything about a race when it is first introduced would be low in a realistic situation.
While it can be a little daunting at first to create the history and abilities of an entire array of supernatural races, it is a unique opportunity to stretch your creative muscles on a large scale. For me, it was one of the main draws to writing a paranormal book, getting to build this entire world from the ground up where I chose the rules, and it’s what keeps me coming back to the genre.
Penny’s Review of Wonder
~Penny’s Rating: B ~
I like Clarke’s take on the paranormal in this series. It’s different, and I enjoyed it. I’m not always a huge fan of paranormal stories involving vampires, because they tend to stagnate into stale overused tropes. I was very pleased to discover that Wonder is not one of those. I enjoyed Wonder so much that I ended up ordering Monster, one of the other books in the Spellbound series and reading it right after I finished Wonder. I really enjoyed it as well. The series is probably best read in order, but given that I started backwards with book three in the series and then read book two, you’ll probably mange if you don’t read them in order. I didn’t feel like I was missing huge gaps of the story as I read.
This book is steamy, the sex is hot, the MC’s are relate-able and I love the voice of Blake, who narrates the story. The magic in the Spellbound world is vivid. It’s almost another character in the story a visual and tactile thing when it manifests. The only thing that frustrated me (in an angst-ridden, tortured sort of way), was that Blake is somewhat horrible at communicating with Adam, especially when crazy things (I don’t want to give anything away but – like reliving horrible memories that aren’t his own) and he doesn’t tell Adam what is going on! Drove me nuts!
Anyway this was my first Erik Clarke read and there are sure to be more in the future. Thanks to Totally Bound for providing the copy of Wonder for this review!
Wonder Book Blurb and Links
This is book three in the Spellbound series, see the full series listing here
To find out the truth and join with his Vampire mate, Blake may have to pay a steep price—his sanity.
It’s not that Blake Hollister doesn’t want to be the mate of the town’s resident hottie Vampire, Adam Harkin—just the opposite. With everything else in his life going to hell, that’s the one thing that Blake wants more than anything. But fate has other ideas. Blake is Dormant, meaning his magical powers never manifested when he came of age, leaving him doomed to be forever connected with magic, but never able to access it. Sex between magical beings and non-magics is risky at first and becomes exponentially more dangerous, and Adam isn’t willing to harm his mate, effectively pausing their relationship until some solution can be found.
At the same time, darker things are manifesting in Kelvin. Secrets buried in the ruins of the town’s old amusement park, Wonderworld, threaten to destroy the fragile peace. And when Blake finally convinces Adam to give sex a shot despite the risk, the destructive effects on his mind that he tries to hide threaten to drive him insane. Blake’s once structured life begins to shatter—days turn into fractured memories of events he can’t be sure really occurred, a broken slideshow of nightclubs, theme parks, and torrid sex. Dreams and reality, past and present, betrayal and loyalty are all on a collision course, and at the center stands the mercury-eyed fantasy whom Blake is beginning to think he might love—if the long-forgotten truth about Adam’s brutal change from human to Vampire doesn’t turn the entire town against each other first…
Like the sound of Wonder? Buy it here: https://www.totallybound.com/wonder?utm_source=pennyreadsromance&utm_medium=blogtour&utm_campaign=wonderblogtour
About the Author
Erik Clarke is still trying to figure out how to balance work, school, writing, and the ever—elusive “social life”. He’s also still trying to figure out when the outlandish plots and crazy characters he’d scribbled into the margins of his notebooks for years somehow coalesced into an actual novel.
Born in Ohio and now struggling through the constant love/hate relationship that is living in the beautiful but sweltering Arizona landscape, Erik is thankful every day for the incredible, supportive family and friends that surround him—and for the sheer joy that writing two characters to their happily ever can bring.
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