I read and enjoy werewolf and vampire romances disguised as thrillers or mysteries with spunky little heroines who are as distressed by a broken fingernail or fashion faux pas as they are by an evil vampire attacking. They’re fun. They are what I refer to as “fluff bunny fare”.
But they are not what I write. And they are not even most of what I read. I prefer the dark, gritty, realism of true crime, dark thrillers, books where the monsters are really monsters, not cuddly, or sexy but deadly and yes, out to eat you My Pretty.
I know there are plenty of real monsters in the real world – and they are outwardly perfectly human. The guy next door who gives teen boys their first job and plays the clown for children’s birthday parties. The mother who is a society climber and charity worker outside, and the facilitator who actively allows her husband to rape their daughter daily and who tells her daughter it is her fault and no one will believe her if she tells.
My heroes and heroines are damaged, troubled, survivors who are frightened by the real monsters they face today, as well as the monsters who did their best to break them in the past. They have their doubts. They know that it would be so much easier to be a monster. To give in to their darkest desires. To fall into the abyss of evil. When my heroine looks in the mirror or hears something familiar come out of her mouth and thinks “I am becoming my mother” it is with a depth of horror someone from a nice, if a bit neurotic, family can hardly imagine.
The triumph of the human spirit and compassion and love in everyday people who have proven strong enough to survive the worst the human monsters have to dish out is the victory that makes me proud. The faith, the sure knowledge that in the real world we can face the monsters and win. Whether they are within, or without. That is what gives me hope for this world. That is my feel good literature.