Tell us about Becoming Red
BECOMING RED is the debut novel of writing duo Jess Raven and Paula Black.
Lured back to Dublin, the scene of her tragic past, Ashling DeMorgan encounters a city pulsing under the dangerous sexual influence of a new street drug the locals call Rave. Nothing is as it seems. She is about to discover that her nightmares are real, ancient Irish myths are larger than life and roaming the streets of the medieval city, and she has become the prey in their erotic hunt. A step back into her past is about to become a high adrenaline race for survival.
What Irish myths are we talking about here? What kind of forces are at play – vampires?
Although the book is set in Dublin, the birthplace of Bram Stoker, there are no vampires in the Becoming world, though our mythological hunks do have teeth, and they like to bite.
The Becoming world draws on a number of Irish legendary motifs, including that of the Fomorians (a mythical, semi-divine race that were the first inhabitants of Ireland. Gods of chaos and wild nature, they are variously described as grotesque beasts and as beautiful men.) There are also strong elements of the werewolf myth, which features strongly in Irish folklore, and references to the mythical Irish hero Setanta/Cú Chulainn. Add a smattering of Little Red Riding Hood transported to an edgy, urban setting and the addictive, drug-like sexual effects of the Fomorians’ bite on humans and you get some feel for the story.
More detail would lead us into spoiler territory, but our blog has more detail for those curious about the mythology.
This all sounds really different from the usual. What genre is it?
Paranormal erotic romance.
What kind of readers will it appeal to?
Becoming Red will appeal to adult readers who enjoy Paranormal Romance with an edge of Urban Fantasy and Erotica. If you like dominant, alpha heroes and a feisty heroine, then Becoming Red might be for you. If you enjoy the writing genre of authors such as J.R. Ward, Larissa Ione, Karen Marie Moning, then you will probably enjoy this book.
What can we expect from the rest of the series?
The Becoming novels have been planned as a trilogy. Becoming Red opens the door to the underworld of Fomor lurking behind the shadows of Dublin streets. The second book, Becoming Wolf, will fling those doors open wide to let the reader into the darkest corners of the fantasy universe we have created. So much more than just a romance, as the trilogy progresses, the world will expand, weaving plots and shaping the twists and turns that will rock the Fomorian world to its core. The hardest choices are still to be made. Plus, the sex will be bigger and badder.
You talk about sex, but you haven’t said anything about any men. Who is the lead male character?
The lead male character is Connal Savage: outcast, assassin, and living, breathing hunk of ancient mythology. He has lived a thousand years servicing a debt of revenge. Dead inside. Until he encounters his boss’s granddaughter, an infuriating woman who threatens to lead him to hell with all his good intentions, who manages to chip away at the hard encrusted defences of a lifetime spent at war and burrow herself deep into a part of him that hasn’t breathed for centuries. He is about to discover that when it comes down to the wire, when you’re bargaining with the Grim Reaper for the life of the one you love, you will do anything.
Ash and Connal have a very physical relationship. From their first encounter, their passion is wild and unpredictable. Add to that the inherent predatory carnal nature of the Fomorians, who infiltrate the seedy underbelly of Dublin’s nightlife with their sexual brand of addiction, and you have a raw, gritty eroticism woven through the entire story.
How long did it take you guys to write this first book?
We started writing Becoming Red in earnest at in March 2012 and finally went to publication at the start of December 2012. The process was a fluid one, with the world of Becoming Red very much growing up around our writing.
Where there any challenges?
We have a rather unusual writing dynamic, in that we are a duo, and we live in different countries. Having met each other in the online roleplaying community and written together for two years prior to embarking on our first novel, I would say our greatest challenge was in marrying our different writing styles into a single, coherent narrative.
What countries are you in and how do you work together? Does each person take a chapter? How do you deal with creative differences?
I live in Dublin, Ireland, while Jess is in Manchester, England. Google Docs is our lifeline, allowing us to work simultaneously on a document, despite the geographical divide. We outline chapters together and then each of us takes on a different character point of view. Before a word goes to the page, we brainstorm all of our ideas until we have a storyline that works for us both. By adopting different characters, the writing becomes a dynamic conversation, sometimes akin to roleplay. Naturally, we each have our individual style, although this lends a unique voice to the different characters. As to creative differences? I can be very persuasive.
Tell us a bit more about yourself.
One day, when I was about eleven years old, my schoolteacher gave me a dressing down in front of the class for not completing a book report on time. My reaction was to throw myself into a voracious reading binge that really has never stopped. I believe that same stubborn, no-surrender attitude is what got me through medical school and a PhD, and now through the joy and pain of bringing a novel to publication.
I met Jess online, through the huge roleplaying community that had grown up around social networking. We shared a love of the same genre and sparked creatively from the get-go. I’m almost twice Jess’s age, and we each bring different talents to the table, she the fresh and edgy feel to the writing, whereas I love to weave a good plot.
You said something about having a blog earlier. And how can we follow you two on social media?
Facebook page: Raven and Black.
Where can we buy Becoming Red?
Amazon ( US, UK).
Jess and I are currently elbows deep in writing book two, and it promises to be an even bigger rollercoaster ride than the first.
Enjoyed this interview? Then check out our conversation with Wynne Channing.