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Amnesia, Sex and the Alpha Male
I’m trying to think back to the original creative whims that were the seeds to my upcoming steamy romantic suspense, Explosive. Probably, the impetus came from the soap operas I used to watch like One Life to Live and the over-used theme of amnesia. But wait, before you roll your eyes and stop reading, let me say that after earning a doctorate degree in the behavioral sciences and working in ICU’s, traumatic brain injury units and emergency rooms, I felt like I wanted to write about the topic of memory loss from a different vantage point. Don’t get me wrong, Explosive isn’t a medical story, it’s a romance. But I did think I could contribute some realism to the much misunderstood and sensationalized topic of memory loss.
My hero in Explosive, Thomas Nicasio, is a classic alpha hero—an ex-Navy explosive specialist and high-powered businessman. I wanted him to experience a severe trauma and lose a period of time, but there was a challenge: how could he maintain his alpha-romance-hero qualities while being so vulnerable? What’s more, how does intense, raw eroticism factor into the scenario? I enjoy writing great sex scenes, but I want emotional intensity in them. I want the sensuality to make sense within the framework of the plot and characters.
First off, the memory loss/alpha male/vulnerability conundrum. I decided to write Thomas incurring a severe psychological trauma in addition to a physical trauma, and as a result, losing a period in his memory of about eighteen hours. Having a gap in memory during trauma is actually quite common. For instance, people in car wrecks often forget the period of time around the original impact, and that’s true for whether a head injury is sustained or not. If you ask several people, there will likely be one in a group that can tell you about a ‘missing time episode’ due to physical or psychological trauma.
It’s what occurs to cause the trauma, and of course, what occurs in the missing gap of memory that makes great material for a romance with suspense elements.
Second challenge: incorporating the themes of amnesia and hot, raw sex (I was hired to write an erotic romance, after all). Luckily, sex and the trauma scenario fit very well together. People going through extreme emotional stress can build up terrific amounts of psychological friction and energy. Primal instincts, such as aggression and sexuality can be sharpened and amplified. For my hero Thomas, this results in a kind of edgy, dark and demanding sexuality that works very well for both the suspense elements of the story and the erotic aspects. My heroine, Sophie, isn’t afraid of him and trusts him implicitly, but the reader gets a hint of his suffering, volatility and darkness, leaving just a spice of forbidden danger and excitement.
I hope readers will give Thomas and Sophie’s emotional, explosive love story a try. If you’re looking for a suspenseful, extremely spicy read, look for Explosive on the shelves December 7, 2010. Don’t forget! :)
- Beth Kery
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