A few weeks ago, I attended a bridal shower for a friend of mine. In the usual tradition, we played games, offered standard advice like “never go to bed angry,” and made the bride-to-be wear one of those ridiculous hats made out of ribbons, bows, and a paper plate. The maid-of-honor even distributed a list of Good Housekeeping guidelines, originally published in the early 1950s, for being a “good wife.”
“Make sure your children are clean and quiet when their father gets home. They are his little treasures and you want him to see them as such.”
“Don’t ask questions if your husband is out late or even all night. Remember he is the master of his domain.”
Seriously, we had a great laugh over those little gems.
As a modern woman and romance writer, it’s hard to imagine anyone ever coming up with that advice let alone believing it. In half a century, things have certainly changed; in my opinion, definitely for the better. Yet, beliefs and customs are different all over the world, within the United States, and even within neighborhoods. I’m sure there are people who even today would sing the praises of the same guidelines I laugh at. I would find it difficult to relate to such people, but I hope I’d be tolerant and open-minded enough to listen to their opinions while still keeping true to my own.
In Chosen By Blood, Book 1 in the Para-Ops series, I deal with themes such as cultural differences, opposing beliefs, tolerance, and change. The series opens in a post-war world and centers around a team comprised of different races that are trying to understand and accept one another. Of course, these races have different beliefs, customs, religions, etc, but they must unite in order to help the nation heal as a whole.
In my series, Otherborn are sick of hiding or taking second place. As FBI Director Kyle Mahone recognizes:
“The times had changed. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness no longer applied just to humans. Wraiths had the right to vote. A court had just ruled that a mage’s right to practice magic was akin to one’s right to worship. And vamps, both full vampires and dharmires alike, couldn’t be denied health coverage based on ‘malnourishment’ being a preexisting condition. The Others were demanding their due and making their presence known.”
In the midst of this complicated world, Book 1 opens with a controversial hero. In the world of this series, vampires are NOT monogamous and the males are duty bound to marry and procreate with vampires. Yet even though the hero, Knox Devereaux, feels genuine affection for his married-for-convenience wife, Knox loves a human, Special Agent Felicia Locke. Because of her strong human morals, she tries her best to stay away from Knox, and he lets her, until that is, they both join the FBI’s first Para-Ops team. At that time (which is Chapter 1 of the book), he’s widowed, but he still has plans to marry another vamp. Felicia’s bound and determined not to be his mistress on the side, however. So what will they do? The issue is really about how soul mates fight hard to do the right thing despite a powerful and constant pull to be with one another.
I didn’t set out to make Knox controversial; he simply developed that way. The difficult decision was whether to keep him true to character or change him (or his marital status) in order to play it safe. I kept him how he was. First, because I don’t want to be known as a writer who plays it safe. And second, because I like pushing boundaries, and exploring humanity and the complicated issues we face. I don’t want to be controversial for its own sake, but in order to challenge myself and others to think about what they really believe. Part of the reason I love writing is to create and explore worlds, characters, and issues that push the envelope. All I can hope is that readers will be interested enough to take the ride with me!
Virna DePaul is a former criminal prosecutor and now National Bestselling Author for Berkley (paranormal romantic suspense), HQN (single title romantic suspense) and HRS (category romantic suspense). Her recent and upcoming releases are Dangerous To Her (HRS, August 23, 2011) and Chosen By Fate (Para-Ops Novel 2, October 4, 2011). www.virnadepaul.com
United by fate. Bound by desire.
Five years after the Second Civil War ends, humans and Otherborn— humanlike creatures with superhuman DNA—still struggle for peace. To ensure the continued rights of both, the FBI forms a Para-Ops team with a unique set of skills.
CHOSEN BY BLOOD
Leader of an Otherborn clan, half-breed vampire Knox Devereaux would do anything to find a cure for the anti-vamp vaccine slowly starving his people into extinction. When the FBI contacts him about leading a team of hand-selected Others on a mission to reclaim the stolen antidote, Knox accepts. His new assignment places him in direct contact with Special Agent Felicia Locke, the beautiful human he’s craved since their very first meeting.
Virna is offering up a copy of Chosen by Blood (paperback) to one of my lucky followers.
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