I have to admit to having been, and continuing to be, very nervous about how A Tortured Soul will be received by you, my readers, and the reading public at large. Why? Simple. It’s not like anything I’ve written before. Let me explain.
I’ve always seen myself as a writer of “Erotic Romance”, that is to say that the books I’ve written have all been erotic and about a romance, or a love story if you prefer, between two people.
I’m talking about my novels and novellas here, not my short stories. My shorts tend to just be erotic and that’s it. But the longer works, well, they are all about the way two people feel about each other, the journey this takes them on and the fun (and heartache) they have together along the way.
Take, as an example, the earliest two of books currently on sale. Lost & Found and Reunion, could both be described as ‘typical’ erotic romances. In Lost & Found, a man flies across the Atlantic Ocean to be with the woman he loves and when he gets there he fights for her (and they have lots of hot sex). In Reunion a pair of high school sweethearts come together again after many years apart and fall in love all over again (and have lots of hot sex).
The first two Westmouthshire novels, Kissed by a Rose and Eternally & Evermore, could also easily be categorised as Erotic Romance, even if the plots are a bit different and the characters much stronger and well formed than the earlier two books.
All four follow the ‘typical romance’ format. A man and a woman who fall in love, overcome obstacles in their relationship, and have lots of sex. All the kind of stuff that readers expect and look for. The kind of things they read and like.
Then I wrote A Good Man. And it started out, and for most of the book, was just like all the others. A man. A woman. They fall in love. They have to overcome obstacles. They have lots of hot sex (including some pretty good ‘angry make-up sex’). All well and good. Until I threw in that twist at the end. The twist that turned one book into a trilogy. A twist that some readers loved and some hated. A twist that some readers wrote to me about and said “Wow, wasn’t expecting that, can’t wait to see what happens next” and some wrote to me and said “You’re a bastard! I hate you!”
And a twist that makes A Tortured Soul the least ‘erotic romance’ book I’ve ever written.
As the second book in a trilogy, A Tortured Soul is pretty dark. What is it they say about trilogies? Introduce the characters in the first part, put them in the worse situation you can imagine in the second part and resolve everything happily in the third part. So A Tortured Soul, as you can infer from the title, take our hero, Paul, to a pretty dark place.
Paul is dealing with the consequences of the twist in A Good Man. For pretty much the whole book. He struggles to work out what his purpose in life is. He battles his inner demons. And he has no time for romance. Time for hot sex, yes, but no time for romance.
And that’s what makes this book so difference. There is no clearly defined ‘heroine’ for Paul to fall in love with and fight for. He doesn’t have to ‘win someone’s heart’ or fight to keep hold of that heart. He has to take himself from a place where he’s not ready for any kind of romantic relationship, to a place where one might be a possibility.
And I don’t know how readers will react to that. I don’t know if they will be upset that Paul’s “Happily Ever After” doesn’t occur in this book. And I don’t know who they will react to some of the less-than-savoury things that Paul does in this book, given he was such a Good Man in the first book.
I just guess I’ll have to wait until all you lovely people have read it and tell me what you thought of it. I’ll be waiting with baited breath.