Guest Blogger: Elisabeth Naughton
The winner of Elisabeth's book is: flchen1. Congratulations, flchen1! Send me your contact information and I'll pass it along to Elisabeth. Thanks to everyone who participated.
If you read any of my previous books you know that I’m a romantic suspense author.
I’ll be the first to admit that in some ways, I see the whole soul mate element as a cop out. I mean, when the soul mate concept is in play, it’s a foregone conclusion that the two lead characters will end up together, and the author doesn’t have to work so hard to show that burning attraction or challenging courtship. Granted, in a romance it’s always a foregone conclusion the two main characters will end up together, but it just seems like the soul mate element makes the happily-ever-after that much easier.
On the flip side, however, part of me loves the soul mate concept. The idea that there is one person you are destined to be with forever? That’s deep. The knowledge that when these two characters hook up, no matter what curve balls life may throw them down the line, they will never part? That’s even deeper. We live in a world where more than 50% of marriages end in divorce, and the reality of “love for a lifetime” is a dwindling prospect. So in a fantasy, in a romance novel, it kind of makes sense that there’s an element that guarantees these two characters, which the reader has invested 300+ pages in and has grown to love, will always be together. No matter what.
When I was writing MARKED, I really struggled with the soul mate idea. I saw the benefit, and yet I couldn’t help viewing it as a cop out in some ways. Certain readers love the idea of a soul mate, others hate it. What’s a writer to do?
In the end, I decided to put my own spin on the soul mate concept, similar to the way I view it: A blessing, and yet at the same time, a curse. In my Eternal Guardians series, which is centered on seven guardians descended from the greatest heroes in all of Ancient Greece, I gave each guy a soul mate. But I didn’t make it easy. You see, Hercules is considered the greatest hero in Greek mythology, and yet, he was despised by the goddess Hera from the time he was born because he was an in-your-face reminder that her husband, Zeus, was never faithful. So in my books, Hera cursed Hercules, and all the Argonauts, by giving them a soul mate. One woman they are eternally drawn to. And she made sure that woman was the worst possible match for the hero in question. Someone they can’t live without, and yet someone they can’t live with.
In book one – MARKED – the hero, Theron—Hercules’s descendent—finds his soul mate in the human woman marked to complete a prophecy that will protect his world from a vengeful god and her band of seething demons. The catch, of course, is that his finding her and taking her to his world to complete the prophecy and save his world guarantees his soul mate’s death. And for a hero, whose whole life is centered on honor and duty, that puts Theron in a pretty tight conundrum.
I’ve actually had a lot of fun with this soul mate concept. Because it’s a curse and not a blessing, I’ve been able to play with it and mold it into a major headache for my guys. Does it preclude the romance and the attraction? No, but it is one-sided. My guys recognize the soul mate element, but the women in the equation don’t. They aren’t cursed. They’re free to choose who they want, when they want. And that adds in a whole extra layer of conflict my guys definitely don’t like. Imagine if you knew that this other person was yours—your one single soul mate for life—and that after finding them you were ruined for anyone else, forever. And now imagine if that other person didn’t give a rip?
Conflict. Struggle. Angst. Fuuuuuuuuun.
How do you feel about the whole soul mate element? Do you enjoy books that have soul mates? Or do you see them as a cop out? I’ve got a copy of MARKED to give away to one lucky commenter today, so be sure to tell me what you think!
A previous junior-high science teacher, Elisabeth Naughton now writes sexy romantic adventure and paranormal novels full time from her home in western Oregon where she lives with her husband and three children. Her debut release, Stolen Fury, heralded by Publisher’s Weekly as “A rock-solid debut,” was recently nominated for two prestigious RITA® awards by Romance Writers of America in the Best First Book category and the Best Romantic Suspense category. When not writing, Elisabeth can be found running, hanging out at the ball park or dreaming up new and exciting adventures. Learn more about Elisabeth and her books at http://www.elisabethnaughton.com/.