I’m so happy to have Lisa Kumar as a guest blogger. With a new series out this month, she has agreed to talk about her philosophy on writing dark fantasy romance
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Writing Dark Fantasy
The “Darkness” in The Fae Lord’s Mistress: A Dark Fantasy Romance by Lisa Kumar (Book 1 in the New Earth Chronicles)
I’ve always been fascinated by dark romances, especially by dark fantasy romances. Although I love light stories—even fluffy stories—sometimes I want a read that can wring me out and hang me to dry. After reading countless dark stories over the years, I finally decided to attempt one myself.
Oh, what a journey it’s been! The reader response from Tapas, where I first serialized the story in their Premium program, went a little something like this: “I love it! You made me cry from all the emotion!” to “I hate this story and how it makes me feel. It’s like a trainwreck I can’t look away from.”
Well, job done! I wanted the reader to experience a range of emotions, and, boy, did they ever seem to.
I knew I wanted the tale to be about a future world where the fae (I also call them the Sidhe) rule over humanity with a harsh fist. Of course, this gave me the perfect setup for a human heroine and a not-so-hero fae “hero.” Yep, in other words, he’s sort of dark. I say “sort of” because I’ve seen “heroes” that were so dark; it was nearly impossible to redeem them in any concrete way and have them reluctantly earn the title of hero.
My fae hero, Gabreon, starts out as more of an anti-hero who definitely needs to earn some hard-won redemption. Even then, he’s not without his own brand of honor nor is he helplessly evil. He does have people he greatly cares about, though they’re far and few in-between.
Lina, the heroine, is one such person. Since she’s human, though, and he does have some baggage, he fights against his attraction to her and denies any deeper feelings. Given he’s from a fae race, nothing is ever straightforward, and his denial only makes matters worse for both Lina and him. All right, I’ll come out and say it. His refusal to see the truth turns him into an obsessive A-hole, thanks to his personality and a little (nah, not really little) fae soul magic that backfires on him quite spectacularly.
Gabreon pushes Lina about as far as she can go. When she breaks, the explosion threatens to take Gabreon’s life with it. This is truly a turning point for both of them. Does he let her go? If he does, will she take that chance and run?
Ahh, so much emotion! Yes, not all of it is pleasant by any means but the promise of redemption does steadily leak into the story. To me, that is what keeps me turning the pages of a dark romance. That push and pull between the light and dark that one of the main characters experiences.
When it’s well done (believable within the framework of the tale), it’s a story I’ll never forget. These tales take me from the dredges of humanity (or whatever fantasy creature we’re dealing with that) to the greatest of heights of what we can accomplish with nobility and selflessness. Of course, while still being utterly flawed. I love that disparity right there. It’s a beautiful paradox.
When the redemption is not convincing—or not even there… Well, let’s just say there is often some internal yelling, and I vow to never pick of the book again. Though I know my story won’t please everyone (definitely not the more sensitive reader who avoids triggers), I hope I handle these—and other—heavy themes with the justice they deserve.
Have I lost you yet? No? Great!
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The Fae Lord’s Mistress
By Lisa Kumar
Ever since the day a fae raid stole away my parents, poverty and scavenging have been two constants in my life. Home is the human slums of Chimra, though it was once known as the great city of Chicago. The fae rule over New Earth and humanity with a neglectful and ruthless fist. But everything changes when Gabreon, the fae lord who led that raid six years ago, finds me in the forbidden dumping grounds and claims me as his own. Which leads to anger, confusion, and heartache—on my side and his.
Lina. The human Gabreon couldn’t forget. When he sees her in the dumping grounds, he no longer can ignore the pull between them. Though claiming her goes against everything he was brought up to believe, he takes her as his companion. During the day, she holds herself away from him, but at night, she sparks to life in his arms. As a human revolution ferments and his growing relationship with Lina becomes even more perilous, he discovers that he and his society have much to make amends for. Earning her forgiveness will be hard, but keeping both of them alive in the meantime might prove impossible.
~~This story pulls you in with its passion and adventure and doesn’t let go. Lina and Gabreon’s tale spans several books. Though this story can function as a standalone, it is better read as part of a series~~
~~The Fae Lord’s Mistress is a dark fantasy romance that deals with sensitive issues (initial dark hero, violence, and slavery-like conditions for the general human population, plus more). Steamy sex scene(s) are also inside. If you dislike any of these, then this epic fantasy romance likely isn’t for you~~