Do you ever stop to wonder at some of the reasons you are the way you are? Like what sort of things influenced you, made you like a certain movie but hate others, or only want to read one sort of book?
It's not just me, right?
In less than two months, I'm going to turn...well, a year older. Maybe that's why I've been thinking about this stuff so much lately. I mean, I'm pretty clear on why I only read romance books: I need my HEA, people. You have no idea. Between The Time Traveler's Wife, the ending of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and The Song of Ice and Fire Series, I cannot lose any more characters I've grown emotionally attached to.
Then there's my love of Star Wars that started before I was old enough to even understand what it was or why it was so important to not just me, my life, and my creativity, but to the entire world.
Wait. Why am I talking about Star Wars on a paranormal romance blog, that clearly states in the title of the post that it's supposed to be about Beauty and the Beast? Because I'm here to talk about what Han Solo and the Beast have in common as characters, and how that commonality influenced not just my life, but my entire career as well.
First off, let's just establish what we know of Eden's favorite things in the world, shall we? (I originally wrote favorite things in romance books, but then I thought about it, and it really applies to all aspects of my life.)
1. Grumpy heroes/antiheroes.
3. Bigger than average (size, personality, ego)
4. Soft spot for a woman in danger.
7. Big, scary, grumpy hero and sweet, feisty heroine.
8. Fantasy worlds.
Do you see now, where I'm going with this?
I think it all started with Star Wars. Then the first book I ever remember reading, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe introduced a love of fantasy. Follow that with movies like The Neverending Story, The Princess Bride, Willow...and throw in some of Disney's Beauty and the Beast and I was never going to be the same. Not that I realized it at the time.
I didn't even realize until a few months ago that almost all of my reading choices were affected by my early love of fantasy and Beauty and the Beast. I couldn't read enough grumpy, larger-than-life heroes and the smaller (usually much smaller) heroine who comes out of nowhere to knock him on his backside.
When I realized how much Han Solo and the Beast had influenced me, I started to look at my writing and my characters from a critical standpoint. Someone had asked me once why all my heroines are so small compared the the giant (usually literally) sized heroes I write. I answered that because I'm only 5', and my husband is a full foot taller than me, which was one of the things I was first attracted to with him, it was what I knew. But that answer wasn't satisfying enough for me. Maybe it was because of where I was at in my life at the time, I let it go, but I wanted a better answer. So I did what I normally do when I'm stressed out and wanting to write a blog post about it, but not sure where to start.
I went to Facebook, asking for books with the Beauty and the Beast trope. And there, I had the absolute best conversation with a new-to-me author that I could remember having in...ever:
*side note: Emma gave me permission to share our conversation. So make sure you go like her page or follow her on Amazon as a thank you.
Eden: **ROMANCE AUTHORS/ ROMANCE READERS** I need a few romance books (any subgenre as long as it has a HEA) that have a Beauty and the Beast theme.
Eden: Emma! Thank you! Would you mind telling me why you chose that theme for this book?
EH: Batb was the very first story that made me want to write! When I was suuuper little (probably 6 or 7) I used to run up the stairs after watching it to "act out" how it should have gone in my room. I used to get so frustrated with BATB! I wanted to make a beast who was actually ugly, cursed for a reason that wasn't under his control, and a beauty who wasn't was a ballbuster.
I also think Batb is such an open ended fairytale at this point! It's influenced so many people that smart can be beautiful. That kindness isn't a weakness. And that what's on the outside doesn't define a person.
Eden: OMG, YOU'RE IN MY HEAD. This is exactly why I started writing dragons. I wanted to write about the terrifying "bad" guys who were actually the heroes of the world. And heroines who could be sweet and kind and nerdy, without having to be bitchy, and who would go to war for their men because they deserve to be fought for, too.
EH: YES. JEN. YES. That last bit ESPECIALLY. Men deserve to be fought for too. I've been trying to pull that apart a bit in my books, cause honestly, that's something that is so overlooked in romance novels.
We keep writing these awesome, strong women (and should) but in that process I think a lot of people have lost sight of fighting for our men too. They don't have to do all the fighting, and if we keep writing that, then that's what people in their real lives expect
Eden: EXACTLY. These might be larger-than-life heroes and sometimes immortal, but I love getting them to a point where they're done. The world's crushing them, they've been fighting for so long they're just exhausted, then putting these tiny, adorable women in their path who not only need them, but would tear the world apart to save them, too.
EH: Love it. yas queen, do that all the time and give me all the stories to read *grabby hands*
(We then went on to discuss New Girl for a minute after she posted a gif of Prince in an episode.)