The blog of author Harper Alexander

Inspiration for ‘Breathtaker’

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I thought I’d write a little bit about what inspired me to write this month’s project, Breathtaker.

For a long time I’ve been wanting to try my hand at writing modern (or contemporary) fantasy, and/or paranormal romance, because those are two things that are hot on the market and it’s what agents have advised me to do.  So I finally decided to just go ahead and do it, even though it’s not necessarily my thing.

Coincidentally, I’ve also been wanting to try writing novellas for awhile, because they’re shorter and easier to finish and it would be nice to be finishing more stuff and getting it out there at a faster rate.  So, what better way to try my hand at contemporary fantasy and paranormal romance than to combine these projects?

Not only would it be a less daunting task as a novella, but since it’s also not my favorite thing in the world, it seems the perfect way to write it and be done with it.  And if it gave me difficulties along the way, I would be less likely to give up on the commitment because…well…because it’s not that much of a commitment.

So that details the initial/general inspiration for the book.  As far as the ideas and plot itself…

I wanted to try paranormal romance, but I really have no interest in spewing another vampire/werewolf story into the pool, and faeries and ghosts and angels have all been done as well (although I do have another novel that kind of does the angel thing).  Also, the pattern of pursuing immortality or an immortal being therein in the name of hopelessly smitten/blind love is becoming rather tiresome as well.  (Don’t get me wrong; I’m a hopeless romantic.  I’ll probably actually read most books like that.  I just…I just can’t bring myself to add to the pot without questioning my creativity and authenticity, and whether or not I’m a writer or a groan-worthy wave-rider.)  What happened to good ol’ down-to-earth storylines found in such works as Tuck, Everlasting?

(As you can see, this is why I don’t try to write paranormal romance to begin with.  They’re not supposed to be down-to-earth.)  In any case, if it wasn’t so overdone I would probably be all for it, but because it is, I felt very compelled to write a paranormal romance that differed a bit from the usual pattern.  Thus were born the ‘Breathtakers’, (hence the title of the book) who are not vampires, or werewolves, or faeries, or angels, or ghosts or what-have-you.  They are their own thing.  A new creation.  As can probably be surmised from the sound of it, they…breathe the life out of people, conveniently (for the genre) via kiss.  Then again, how else would you breathe the life out of someone?  Through their feet?  Not likely.  So that sets the stage for a nice ‘I-love-you-but-I-can’t-kiss-you-or-else-I’ll-die’ scenario (or as may be the case instead ‘I-love-you-but-you-can’t-kiss-me-or-YOU’LL-die’).

So, that detail is less than mainstream, but still follows the whole ‘immortal’ theme, as these beings are basically immortal because they can feed their lifespans with the life of others any time they so please.

And I didn’t want to write a story about someone who falls madly in love with one of these creatures and blindly follows them into their murderous life without thinking anything of it, determined to beat the odds, so I decided to write from the perspective of one who wishes to give up immortality, to be done with it, to get away from it (perhaps for the sake of love in the opposite extreme).  But of course that’s easier said than done and all that good stuff, so we have a nice little premise of conflict on our hands.

And there you have it!  I wrote a paranormal romance.  I just turned the pattern upside-down to do so.  That either makes me a complete failure (oh well) or…a genius? (ha – not that this is in fact any kind of masterpiece.)

Whatever.  It was fun, and I like it, and now I know I can do it, and I’m proud that I did it without conforming to any vampire craze.  We’ll see how it goes over with readers.

(I’ll post the cover and blurb on here probably tomorrow.)


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