An award-winning author of erotic romance, Monica Burns penned her first short romance story at the age of nine when she selected the pseudonym she uses today. From the days when she hid her stories from her sisters to her first completed full-length manuscript, she always believed in her dream despite rejections and setbacks. A workaholic wife and mother, Monica believes it’s possible for the good guy to win if they work hard enough. Her latest release, Assassin's Honor, is the first in an exciting new series (check out Andrea's review here) and releases June 1st! Please welcome Monica back to The Romance Dish!
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had reviewers comment on the fact that Assassin’s Honor is unusual in that its characters aren’t immortal. This observation has thrown me for a loop in some respects because it never occurred to me to make my characters immortal.
When I developed my Order of the Sicari series, I fell back on what I know, history, telekinesis, psychic abilities, past lives, my family heritage, and my love of different types of sci-fi, martial arts (read swords), and action adventure in films, TV and books. All of these different influences played a major role in my creation of the Sicari and their enemy the Praetorians. Interestingly enough all of these influences have mortal beings facing difficult situations that put them at risk in the overall scheme of things. Thus, when I was creating my heroes/heroines and villains, it just never occurred to me that they should be anything other than mortals with abilities that are firmly rooted in our psyches.
Truth be told, I just wanted to write a good story. I’m a story teller first and foremost. I like to make my books romantic, sexy, fun, exciting, and risky. Maybe that’s why reviewers have commented on Assassin’s Honor and the mortality risk of the characters. I’d not thought of it that way. In fact, I wanted the characters to be as realistic as possible with just the primary difference being they had a special ability, much in the way that everyone has a special ability.
Whether someone is a gifted musician, writer, artist, politician, teacher or whatever career you name, each individual has a talent that sets them apart from other people. That’s what I wanted for my Sicari. No one Sicari is the same, their level of ability varies from person to the next. Even the Sicari Lords who are introduced in the Sept release, Assassin’s Heart, have variances in their abilities and life span. I don’t know about other authors, but I often find myself stumbling my way through a book or now a series.
Essentially, I’m a fly by the seat of my pants writer. Like my readers, I discover new things about my characters and their world as I write. It’s not all planned out. I have a vision, but not a firm, cut and dried plan. It makes it scary and yet exciting in the same breath. Of course, the sex isn’t bad either. LOL
When I think about the mortality of my characters, I know something others will learn in the second book, Assassin’s Heart. Everyone is actually immortal. That’s a belief structure of mine that found its way into the books. In fact, there are a number of beliefs that are the underlying foundation of the series. It’s what I love the most about this series. It’s not just the universal theme of romance, empowerment, and love conquers all.
The series has a broader scope to it. It’s about men and women striving to overcome persecution, protecting the innocent and fighting for what’s good. It’s about good and evil, and the battle that accompanies those two polar opposites. And I’m not sure I could have shown that dynamic if I hadn’t made my characters mortal. Maybe people are right. Maybe the fact that the characters are mortals with special abilities raises the stakes more. That’s something I’ll have to think on a little more as I start the next book in the next few days.
So what do you think about mortals in a paranormal series? Does it raise the stakes? What if a secondary character you like gets killed off? One lucky commenter will win a copy of Assassin's Honor!
Drawing Rules: Drawing is open to residents in US and other countries. Void where prohibited. Shipping/handling fees for shipment of book outside the US is responsibility of winner. International winners may pay the required postage via PayPal. To ensure as many readers as possible have a chance to win a copy of the book, Monica awards only one book per reader, per household.
Assassin's Honor by Monica Burns
Archeologist Emma Zale sees the past when she touches ancient relics. It’s how she uncovered evidence of an ancient order of assassins—the Sicari. When a sinfully dark stranger shows up on her Chicago doorstep demanding an ancient artifact she doesn’t have, he drags her into a world where telekinesis and empaths are the norm. Now someone wants her dead, and her only hope of survival is an assassin who’s every bit as dangerous to her body as he is to her heart.
Ares DeLuca comes from an ancient Roman bloodline of telekinetic assassins. A Sicari, he’s honor bound to kill only in the name of justice. But when the woman he loved was murdered, Ares broke the Sicari code and used his sword for revenge. Love cost him dearly once before, and he’s not willing to pay the price again. At least not until hot, sweet, delectable Emma walked into his life. Not only does she hold the key to a valuable Sicari relic, she might just hold the key to his heart.