When did Scary become Sexy?

I write a lot of paranormal romance and my heroes and heroines are often the stuff of old nightmares—blood-sucking monsters, things that turn furry when the moon is full…

But scary monsters as romantic leads are relative new. Growing up, the vampires in the books I read and the films I watched were the bad guys. They were meant to make you scream not swoon. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was probably the first vampire book I read and he was definitely not a heroic figure. And then there were all those early Dracula films where the vampires were the monsters, and the heroes had to destroy them to save the poor heroine.

interview with a vampireSo when exactly did scary become sexy. For me, the first vampire book, which made me look at vampires in a different light, was Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire. I fell madly in love with Lestat. Since then, the scary monsters are popping up in romance stories everywhere. Not just vampires, but werewolves, dragons, witches… It seems the bad guys have become loveable.

Why do these former monsters make such good heroes? Is it merely a hang up from our love of being scared, the need for that adrenalin rush, or is there more? Here’s a few reasons why I think they work so well in romance:

  • I love a bad boy hero and these monsters make the ultimate bad boys. Their very darkness lends them to being alpha heroes, lets them get away with a lot of things the heroes in contemporary romance can’t get away with anymore—they have all these inhuman hungers, so we just have to make allowances.
  • Danger heightens emotions. So give us an intrinsically dangerous hero and you already have an edge to the story. And if we doubt he can keep all those inhuman hungers under control, the tension increases even more.
  • People love a redemption story – who isn’t going to root for a woman who can bring out the sweet side in her werewolf, persuade him to kiss her not eat her.
  • Immortality—you know your vampire is never going to grow old—he’ll stay stunning forever.

So which monsters do you think make good romantic characters, or do you think they should all stay firmly in the shadows? Let me know for a chance to enter this month’s draw.

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain.
Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

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3 Responses to When did Scary become Sexy?

  1. That’s so spot on. Those are exactly the reasons supernatural stories are so interesting.

    I fell in love with Lestat, too. You might say, it’s been a rather long affair because I read some more of the series just a few months ago. I’ve been following Lestat since before I met my husband!

    I also really enjoyed the early Anita Blake books. Although, the shapeshifting-love always icked me out a little in those. But, a different writer might be able to change my mind.

    Great post!

  2. YES! There is something sexy about a dangerous hero. 🙂 Plus, I love redemption stories as well.

  3. Sutton Fox says:

    Very good points, Nina. Although I can’t confess ever falling in love with Lestat, I do love heroes with fangs.

    I’m also a huge fan of the early Anita Blake books, and perhaps that’s why I prefer fangs to fur. Even though he was gorgeous, Richard was just so emotionally torn most of the time it made me crazy. LKH did a fabulous job crafting him to bring out that emotion in a reader, but sheesh! Bite me already! LOL!

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