Friday, February 11, 2011

Exile, Extremes and Exposure

EDITED TO ADD: Congrats to the winners, Missy Ann & Desiree Holt! Please email your physical address to: katiereus (@) yahoo .com (no spaces). Congrats!

Meg Maguire writes contemporary romance for Harlequin Blaze and Samhain, and erotica as Cara Mckenna.

When Katie invited me along for this month's Danger and Secrets blog event, I was a) flattered and b) a bit surprised. When I think of danger in romance, my mind's eye immediately conjures the covers from suspense and thriller subgenre. So not my scene, as a writer. Complex external conflict is my bugbear, and I don't tend to write villains or dramatic, intrigue-fraught storylines. Writers who can pull that off—I bow to your superior plotting skills! But after the initial head-scratching, I realized there is one persuasion of danger I adore and understand—man-versus-nature!

I am a glutton for survival stories. I've seen every episode of Survivorman and Man vs. Wild (team Les Stroud, all the way). I'm a complete Lost nerd. I adore movies like Castaway, The Edge, and Alive. Even as I kid, I loved that stuff—I bet I read Island of the Blue Dolphins twenty times! When I was five, my favorite movie was Dot and the Kangaroo, an Australian cartoon about a little girl lost in the woods. Also among my all-time favorite reads are Life of Pi, Lord of the Flies, and Down and Out in Paris and London, just to name a few. There's a lot of diversity in that narrow little niche!

One reason I love man-versus-wilderness stories so much is that the adversary isn't human. Our nonfiction world is filled with so many bullies, it's nice to read about a struggle that doesn't reinforce the fact that we're all constantly bumping up against jerks in our everyday lives. In a man-versus-nature story, it's all about wits and will, the hero's troubles brought on by something more visceral and elemental (and less infuriating) than another human being's greed or assholery.

I love writing survival and isolation stories as much as I do consuming them. For one thing, stranding the hero and heroine together in the middle of nowhere is the perfect crucible. They've got issues, but they better work them out if they're going to overcome their shared obstacles and make it home alive! Being lost in the wilderness pushes characters out of their comfort zones like nothing else. And the opportunities for torturing your characters (which we authors adore) are limitless—injuries, insects, poisonous plants, lack of shelter, hunger, inclement weather, dangerous animals, and any mountain, river, ocean, or cave you care to throw in their path.

Caught on Camera, my debut Blaze, isn't out until April, so I shan't knock you over the head with a full-on excerpt enticement spiel. But the basic premise is that a hot-shot television survival show host (now wherever did I get that idea from?) and his long-suffering production assistant get stranded in the snowy wilds of Saskatchewan. They're mired in a couple of years' worth of sexual tension, then rolled in the further complication that they're best friends and professional partners. That's high-stakes enough for any two people, then toss them into the wilderness, putting all their skills to the test? That book was a blast to write, largely because I just absolutely adore the trope. I hope readers will enjoy being trapped with those two as well. If not, too bad—it's a long way home!

So there we go—I guess I do write danger. Who knew? And of course I'm always looking for new book, television, and film recommendations for survival stories. If you have any, please share. See you in the comments!

Thanks to Meg for blogging with me today!! Since it's the end of week two of my 30 days of Danger & Secrets party I'm giving away two books to two commenters (print format). Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis and Fear No Evil by Allison Brennan! Since I will have two drawings, when you leave a comment please list your preference of book and your country (US & Canada entrants only)! Contest open until Monday, 2/14/11 @ noon Eastern/Standard when winners will be announced so please check back!

** Open to all readers, 18 years or older, in US or Canada, who are legally allowed to participate in such a contest as allowed by their local laws. All federal, state, local, and municipal laws and regulations apply. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. Winners drawn randomly by me via By participating in the contest, participants agree to be bound by the decisions of the contest sponsor. Winners will be notified in the comments section and the body of this blog entry.**


Missy Ann said...

Squee! I think this is the first detailed synopsis of Caught On Camera I've read, and yay! Love the middle of no-where story line. Heroes taking sneaky peeks at heroines bathing in the stream. ;)

My viewing habits don't run towards Survivorman types, instead I'll recommend my favorite trapped in the wilderness movies.

The Evil Dead (which is required viewing before watching #2 pick) & Dead Snow.

If I'm lucky enough to get my name pulled I'd like Fear No Evil (US).

Anne said...

Conratulations on your first Blaze release! I'm a big fan of survivor, so when I read it, I'm sure I'll be picturing Jeff Probst.
Yeah, Russell vs. Boston Rob!!!!

There's always the true story of the Argentine soccer team involved in the 1970's plane crash in the Andes. I think the novie was titled Alone, based on a book. Hard to make that tragic story a romance though.

If I win, I'd like Simply Irresistible, US

Wynter Daniels said...

Congratulations on the Blaze release! The cover is uber hot. I'm not big on survival story and I'm ashamed to say I'm the only person in the US who hasn't seen Castaway.
The premise of Caught on Camera sounds great. I'll definitely be grabbing that one.

Diane said...

Blaze books are always suspenseful.
Wish you great success
I haven't read either books so would be happy for any one of them.

dsadler53 AT yahoo DOT ca

Stephanie said...

Congrats on the release.

I am also not a big survival story fan, but I love what I am reading about your book.

I'd love the chance to win Simply Irresistible

smccar1 at hotmail dot com

Desiree Holt said...

Two of my most favorite authors. All their books are keepers. My preference? Jill Shalvis because I already own everything Allison has written including hr new ebook.

Katie Reus said...

Congrats to the winners, Missy Ann & Desiree Holt! Please email me your physical address to: katiereus (@) yahoo .com (no spaces). Congrats!