November 3, 2011

Romantic escapades appeal to readers

Posted in Between Us column, Relationships, Women at 7:54 pm by dinaheng

If you are what you read, my guilty pleasures include romance novels and science fiction, which I suppose makes me an ever-hopeful, believe in the Universe and the unknown kind of person.

I love stories written with intelligence and imagination about heroines I can relate to. A few months ago, my sister Linda gave me a trilogy of books about the ancient Les Croyant des Trois, a magical society that lives unknown among “ordinary” human beings, written by Jessica Inclan.

I enjoyed the “Believe” trilogy so much, I went in search of Inclan’s next fantasy creation, the “Believe” trilogy, and a conversation with the author.

“The fun thing about trilogies is you don’t have to leave the world you created right away,” says Inclan, who teaches composition, creative writing, mythology and women’s literature at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Calif. “Most publishers like to publish one to four romance novels a year, and I write relatively quickly. The first trilogy (‘Believe’) was three books in two years, but some romance writers publish between four to six novels a year.”

Inclan, who started as a poet and short story fiction writer, moved into novels, then tried the romance genre at the suggestion of her agent. She hadn’t read a romance novel since high school, so decided to sample the current fare.

“I really liked the paranormal, where weird stuff happens and people aren’t what they seem,” she says. “I had an image of a dark, brooding man in a bar and that was Sariel (in ‘Reason to Believe’ – Zebra Books, $6.99). It was so fun not to be constrained by reality. I didn’t want the series to be a classic romance.

“I wanted it to be based in something I feel is very real, so for example, Miranda (in ‘When You Believe’ – Zebra Books, $$6.99) is a poet, and her experiences are those that many people relate to. I don’t like the romance that seems impossible. The setting and the magic is the part that’s unreal, but the people are very real.”

While vampires and shapeshifters are big at the moment, I, too, prefer the magic that blends the known with unseen abilities most of us have experienced or read about at some time or another. You know… like when you’re thinking of someone, the phone rings, and it’s him on the line. Or when you’re alone in a room, and the hair on the back of your neck starts to stand up, and… you fill in the blank.

In an age where people are escaping into their iPods, iPads, and television, it’s wonderful to be able to escape into well written literature. As Inclan says, paranormal romance is fun because there’s a kernel of truth in the story, along with a surprise.

“We want to believe there’s a layer of mystery in our lives, that there’s more than just this,” Inclan says. “In books, the mystery is revealed.”

Inclan’s mother was a librarian, so reading became a passion early on in life. Ironically, perhaps, the author was going through a divorce as she was writing her romance novels. Happily, she then met her second husband, who inspired the “Being” trilogy.

“The idea of the ‘Being’ trilogy is that these people are paired in one world that’s destroyed, and they have to find each other again,” Inclan explains. “The whole meeting someone new again fed into the story for me.

“I think there’s probably 200 to 300 people or more on the planet who are suited to us. You have to believe in your relationship and know it’s never going to be that platonic twinning of people. Love is hard work, and a choice.”

Inclan’s books are sweet reminders that love conquers all, paired with a strong belief that good will overcome evil.

I can’t wait to read her next one.

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