Flaws and All
By Lauren Dane, author of Blade to the Keep (Carina Press)
I love to write books that blur those divisions between genres. In the case of the Rowan Summerwaite books, they walk a line between urban fantasy and paranormal romance.
I absolutely loved building the world for this series. A world a lot like the one we live in now, but just beneath the surface there’s a whole different layer. A supernatural layer with mages and hunters, Vampires and sages. This world is wild and chaotic even as it’s ruled with an iron fist via hunters and treaties.
One of the best things about writing a genre straddling book is that I can take risks with characters that may not fly so much otherwise. Rowan is jagged. She’s hard and defensive and suspicious. She knows how to protect and defend but she’s not so great at being defended and protected.
She’s a risky character because while she’s strong, she pushes people away and sometimes it’s the reader too. But I didn’t believe that softening her would be true to her at all. It had to happen over time.
So my challenge with Rowan was to reveal her bit by bit. She’s Other. Utterly. She’s alone in so many ways. She was raised by Vampires and yet she’s not a Vampire. She was then trained by Hunters and she is one, but she’s not human.
She’s alone in what she is. She’s the human vessel for a powerful goddess and yet, she’s scared. Not of the beings she has to battle, but of the risks she must take to let people in. She uses pride to hold people away, but she’s got to let that go, knowing she could be devastated by the people she lets get close.
I love that tension with Rowan. I love that she’s got a smart mouth and is awesome with her fists and her blade. I love that she takes no bull but would—and does—lay her life on the line over and over because of what she believes.
But she’s afraid of the love she’s beginning to develop for Scion of North America, Clive Stewart. She’s conflicted by the complicated relationship she has with her foster father. She’s totally off balance in Blade to the Keep but though she’s uncomfortable and freaked out at times, she does it. She faces things and rises above because it’s who she is.
As with Goddess with a Blade, there are moments in Blade to the Keep that are revelatory to her and those around her. And they were to me as I wrote as well! The book just had its own mind and I had to figure out when to fight and when to let it go where it wanted. In the end, I am thrilled with the results and the Rowan she is on the last page. I hope you are as well!
What about you all? Any favorite, really flawed characters you really love?
About the Book
Blade to the Keep by Lauren Dane
Canny and ferocious, with the power of an ancient Goddess in her belly, Rowan Summerwaite is the only person who can renegotiate the fragile Treaty between the Vampire Nation and the Hunter Corporation, the last line of defense for humanity. A meeting of this Joint Tribunal, as well as her new status as Liaison, sends Rowan straight to the last place on earth she wants to be, the childhood home she’d escaped so many years before–The First’s Keep.
Raised at the knee of The First–the oldest Vampire and leader of the Vampire Nation–honed into a weapon by the Hunter Corporation, wielding ancient knowledge from the Goddess within, Rowan must navigate bloodthirsty Vampires and Hunters alike. And she’s got to do it while managing a politically awkward but undeniably deepened romance with Scion Clive Stewart. Failure in her role as Liaison could mean all-out war, with humankind in the crosshairs. No pressure.
Walking the path between her two lives has already made Rowan a pariah. The choices she’ll have to make will mean she becomes something even more Other and as a result she may lose those last shreds of home she has left.