Today I'm very excited to welcome author Susannah Noel to the blog to talk about the romance in her new-adult Wordless Chronicles series. Book one, Word and Breath, is available now and book two, Word and Deed, releases next month, so if you're a fan of paranormal stories that feature a strong romance, be sure and check these books out!
One of the things I like best about writing paranormal fiction is the opportunity to explore relationships—particular romantic relationships—on a whole different level. By writing characters with paranormal or supernatural abilities, I get to portray love and intimacy in ways not available to writers of realistic fiction.
Writing about vampires, for instance, allows you to portray love, sex, and temptation in a very visceral way—a way you couldn’t if you didn’t have vampires in your story. Werewolves let you to graphically portray the primitive, animalistic side of people. And other paranormal creatures—angels, demons, succubae, etc.—each heighten certain aspects of human nature, potentially making the portrayal more powerful.
In the Wordless Chronicles, my paranormal creature is called a Soul-Breather. Soul-Breathers have the ability to tap into the feelings, memories, and motivations of other people just by touching them. They can also ease or intensify what someone else is feeling. Mikel, the Soul-Breather hero of Word and Breath, explains it this way: “What I do isn’t artificial or unnatural. It’s just human—revved up a bit.”
I’ve really enjoyed using the Soul-Breather to explore how people interact with each other intimately—not just sexually but also emotionally.
To show how this works, I’m including a short excerpt below from my upcoming book, Word and Deed—the second book of the Wordless Chronicles, which will be released next month. This scene shows Mikel using his abilities as a Soul-Breather to develop his relationship with Riana. It’s the kind of thing that we as humans do with each other—he just does it more tangibly because he’s a Soul-Breather.
Riana felt a tingling internal tug—Mikel opening a connection, breathing her in, stroking her grief away.
“Don’t take it,” she said. “I don’t want you to feel my pain as well as yours.”
“I want to. I need to… I need to be close to you.”
She didn’t know she could feel this way—so incredibly connected to another person, as if they were sharing one life. “Can’t you do it in a different way? Something that would make you feel better too?”
Mikel paused. Then he let out a breath and stroked his knuckles over her cheek. She felt a few experimental tugs from inside her.
“You’ll have to open up more,” he murmured. “Can you let me in even deeper?”
She swallowed, strangely nervous but excited at the same time. “Okay.”
When he touched her cheek again, she tried to lower all defenses. She closed her eyes, relaxed, allowed him inside her in a way he’d never been before.
Instead of taking her turbulent feelings and easing them like before, he instead searched until he found her affection for him—the warm, tremulous feelings that grew stronger every day. He found it, seemed to caress it, and then moved it to the front of her mind.
She sighed in pleasure as the feeling radiated between them, warming them both, relieving her of the worst of her distress.
It was temporary. He couldn’t—and she wouldn’t want him to—take her pain away, since it was so bound up with her memories of the man who had died today.
But it was a respite she desperately needed, and she knew Mikel needed it too.
She felt his body relax beside her as he gently stroked her face, deepening the connection—not with the building excitement of the other night but instead with tender intimacy.
She wasn’t aware when he broke the connection because she’d already fallen asleep.
Thanks so much for sharing that excerpt Susannah! More information on Susannah and her books can be found here:
Buy Word and Breath on Amazon
WORD AND BREATH
Riana has learned how to stay out of trouble. She spends her days studying written texts in the government’s Office of Readers, and she spends her nights taking care of her sick sister. She always—always—follows the rules. Despite her low profile, she has mysteriously become a target. Someone has kidnapped her sister. Someone else is trying to kill her. And someone has sent a Soul-Breather to beguile her out of her secrets.
Her help comes from the mythic leader of an underground rebel movement. A man who used to be her friend. A man who has silently loved her for years. He disappeared from her life without a word, and now he expects her to trust him again.
Then there’s the Soul-Breather, a man who can taste her spirit with only a touch. He makes her feel things she’s never experienced before, but she doesn’t know if the feelings are real. Hired to deceive and betray her, he offers to help her instead.
Without both men, she can’t rescue her sister. And she can’t discover the world-changing knowledge—buried in her memory—that has made her a target in the first place.